Marketing Startups to College Students

Topics: Marketing Toolkit, Public Relations, Millennials + Gen Z, Digital Media, Media + Advertising, Campus Media

Posted by: Barbara Gretsch, CEO

College students have been a coveted market for years. College students are now harder to reach than in previous years due to media fragmentation. At this stage in life, students have not formed unbreakable brand loyalties, which is excellent news for brands looking to capture this audience.

Once students graduate, they are starting careers, getting married, and starting the rest of their lives. Get in front of these college students before they take the next steps of their lives; the longevity of the relationship will be significant.

Big brands have more money and brand awareness to make themselves known, but startups are working from behind. Below are some tools to help these small businesses reach out to college students.

1. Make a Video

Videos are a great way to capture the attention of college students. Sites like Netflix and YouTube are cost-effective for students not looking to spend money on cable TV, so brands that can make videos to entertain this market should take advantage of the opportunity.

2. Find Student Ambassadors

Students are always looking for part-time jobs and ways to make extra cash. Hire a few students to hand out samples at events and high traffic areas on campus. Red Bull is a brand that has excelled at spreading the word via hired student brand managers.

3. Visit Classes

As a startup founder, your expertise is of interest to future entrepreneurs. Offer to speak to business classes and special events on campus. You’ll be able to talk about your product while there.

4. Offer a student discount

Discounts get people to test out your product or service, and once they see the value, they come back as loyal customers. Students have enormous buying power, but they love to catch a deal, so they seek out businesses that offer discounts to college students.

5. Advertise in the School Paper and have Out-of-home Signs

Newspapers and outdoor advertising on campus are useful, and when a combined advertising tactic even more so.  72-80% of college students read their college paper and spend the majority of their time on campus. Investing in advertising on campus where students spend a good portion of their day will ensure you’ll reach your target market.

See our complete guide to advertising to university students.




Here at MSSmedia, we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSSmedia a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!

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