Much of a college or university's marketing budget likely goes to viewbooks, handouts and other print pieces. But how much are you allotting for the impactful world of non-traditional, or even guerrilla, ideas?
Here are a few entry-level ideas colleges or universities could employ to take their guerrilla marketing to the next level.
One surefire way to engage in guerrilla marketing that many colleges and universities are ignoring is the importance of Snapchat to your core audience. One such example of positioning Snapchat as a golden guerrilla marketing opportunity is using it as an excuse to give your newest students a fast-paced and fun tour of their new home. Case in point the "Snapchat Scavenger Hunt" by our own South Dakota State University (SDSU). The hunt planted snapcode signs throughout the campus at a couple dozen key spots, encouraging students to snap photos of themselves at the landmarks to the SDSU Snapchat account for an entry into winning a FitBit. Not only that, but students received a reply from the SDSU account with fun facts about that particular building. It got students moving around the campus and tallied some long-term Snapchat followers for the university account. (Read the full case study here.)
Want to spark the curiosities of your target audience? In the era in which the answers to all of life's problems are a few button clicks away, today's high schooler likes a challenge. So try to tease in a way that begs for investigation. Consider getting space in places with heavy Gen-Z foot traffic (i.e., music festivals, the vicinity of coffee shops, sporting events, etc.) to erect physical or interactive pieces with little explanation. Want to tout the prowess of your botany program? Position a miniature greenhouse in a public place and get footage of your target audience reacting to it. Need to boost interest in your athletic programs? Try positioning your mascot as a living statue in a public place. The important thing is to create opportunities for consumers to interact with and react to your marketing tease - and record it. It makes for engaging and clickable video content.
Billboards and mailers and traditional marketing are importance placements to make. But what about the unexpected placement? Where you put your advertising can also be an effective guerrilla strategy. Run down a list of places you'd likely find a high school sophomore or junior, and bring the marketing to them. Partner with an area coffee shop and get your message on the cup sleeves. Get some above-the-sink placement in a popular concert venue's bathrooms. Try to think of unconventional placement opportunities and engage with local and target-market businesses to make them a reality.