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The 7 secrets of student marketing (stolen from apple, facebook and ford)Document Transcript
The 7 secrets of Student Marketing (stolenfrom Apple, Facebook and Ford)by GRAHAM BROWN on FEBRUARY 23, 2012620 million mobile phones + many hidden benefits580 million students own 620 million mobile phones across the 65 markets studied in the mobileYouthreport. Or simply put, there are more students in the world owning mobile phones than people in the USand Europe put together. In 5 years time, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Ford and Apple will ownthis 600 million+ market and this article highlights the mindset that will help them do it:(c) flickr Students are the most important mobile Beachhead that brands should buildThere are distinct benefits of engaging the student market that are often lost on a narrow ARPU-onlyapproach. What I’d like to do in this article is highlight what those benefits are and how brands like Apple,Facebook and Ford have engaged the student market by moving beyond the revenues-only model.The 7 Secrets of Student MarketingI’ve outlined the 7 secrets. Okay, so these aren’t really “secrets” as they are open knowledge but whenyou’re stuck in the mobile industry they become hidden, obscured by interfering ad agencies and industryresearch that purports myths about this market based on focus group research or market researchcommunities rather than any real outside insight. http://www.mobileYouth.org
Here they are:1. If you want to build an unassailable Beachhead, build in on campus first2. If you want to know what your business users will be doing tomorrow, look at students today3. Students are both the most influential market and key change agents in technology adoption4. Students, not design agencies and innovation managers, are the future of industry innovation5. Students are only cheap when you don’t know what they want6. Students are active participants in co-creation – you just need to open up and give them a chance7. If you want to redefine an industry (music, mobile, media), start with studentsI’ve broken these secrets down. Let’s start with the first 3, business benefits:The 3 key benefits of students to all mobile operators are: 1) What you do with student today impacts your success in the business market tomorrow. Not only are they the same customers but also a key conduit in influence and innovation. Apple and Facebook would not be in an unassailable position today if they had ignored their student Beachhead. 1) Students are highly influential – launching brands like Apple into the mainstream 2) Students are highly innovative – the driving force SMS, Facebook and file sharingDespite the size of the market, we still – as an industry – struggle to understand where students fit in. Wehire girls on rollerblades to hand out SIM cards to the new college draft, sponsor their festivals andprovide the cheapest calls in category – all to no avail. The answer doesn’t lie in the apparent “fickle”nature of students, but in the received wisdom of our own industry.Take, for example, the legacy of our volume model that assigned students to the prepaid category. Byconsidering students through the lens of prepaid, we reconfirm our ideas about students being cheap,fickle and unprofitable. Our wisdom is broken and it’s broken because we still view students in terms oftheir ARPU not to their net contribution to the business bottom line which I’ll explain later in dealing withinfluence and innovation.Prepaid is just one of the 3 myths I’d like to explode to help us better service those 600 million mobileaccounts.The 3 Myths of Mobile Phones and Students: http://www.mobileYouth.org
Myth 1) Students want everything for freeIn our research 2012 we identified the 3 key pain points of youth mobile behavior; it isn’t “free” that’s thereal driver for students but control. Students are generally fearful of losing control of their finances; theyare old enough to sign contracts yet not under the supervision of their more experienced parents.Students often fall foul both bill shock and unscrupulous contracts, that’s why Boost Mobile in the US ismarketing their student tariffs by portraying industry contracts as the “stalker” lurking in wait outsidetheir homes.Rather than the media image of students occupying squats and housing with holes in the roof, studentslive a relative life of luxury. According to the Dept. of Labor, 40% of US student spending is discretionary(higher than the average waged adult), meaning they have a lot of “give” in their spending patterns. 49%also work part-time suggesting they have money of their own to spend rather than constant parentalhandouts. Many have Apple iPhones, Macbooks and iPads – hardly what you expect of a generation livingon the cheap.Offering freebies and discounts only encourages an “easy come, easy go” customer base. What operatorsshould focus on is increasing control and transparency over the tariffs and contracts to encouragestudents to feel comfortable with the offering and build trust.Myth 2) Students are net-takers in innovationIt’s easy to think of legions of anonymous students doing nothing all day but sucking up networkbandwidth downloading countless hours of pirated video. Sure, this happens but this is a small part of thestudent effect on the mobile industry.Cashless innovators – the change agents in the student market – are a key driving force behind scopingout the future applications and services the mobile industry will be using in the next five years. Considerthese 3 facts: 1) Facebook was created by a 19 year old student. You’re all on Facebook. The future of every mobile operator will be determined by the role these services play in their portfolio of offerings. 2) Napster taught a whole generation how to share music when the “old ways” became redundant. Napster opened up the door to the iPod, iTunes and now… the iPhone. The genesis of the iPhone can be traced back to one 19 year old student. No coincidence that it was Apple who had the closest ties with the student market back in the late 90s. 3) SMS was brought to you by students. Not, I add, by the engineers who invented it back in the early 90s because those guys though 160 characters too limiting a format to be of interest to the wider public. How wrong could they be? It took students to explore and exploit the format – initially at cost to the operators because it cannibalized voice revenues – but over a decade the format generated $1 trillion for the industry. http://www.mobileYouth.org
Myth 3) Flashmobs and girls on rollerskates at Freshers weekThere’s possibly nothing more tired and unoriginal than an ad agency launching a brandambassadorcampaign on campus handing out SIM cards for your network. We invest in these campaigns,they yield little result only reaffirming the myth that students are hard work. In reality, the brands that getit right have spent time immersing themselves in student culture and building Beachheads on campus.This means not just rocking up one week a year but being part of their daily lives 365. Here’s 3 examplesof brands actively building student Beachheads right now: 1) Apple’s original Beachhead was with students, particularly design students. Now, that Beachhead has expanded across the mass market. Now, even your mother is thinking of buying a Macbook. Check out these Apple youth programs and Apple’s deals for students to show their commitment to this market. We detail Apple’s K-12 and student strategy in the mobileYouthreport showing how an organic approach to students and education has yielded massive dividends over the long term. It’s no coincidence that Amazon is also investing heavily in students. See a pattern emerging? 2) Facebook is active with its Hackathons on campuses. It’s from a Hackathon we have the ubiquitous “Like” button, invented by a student. Hackathons allow Facebook to harness the innovative capacity of the campus as well as create effective Permission Assets for insight andcustomer service. Google is right there too – see the Droidettes. 3) Ford is re-engineering its turnaround not on the dealer forecourts, with the cool kids in the clubs or with the business drivers but on campus. The Ford Fiesta Movement is a key Permission Assetbuilt around students aimed at growing a long term Beachhead into the US market.To ConsiderI’ll finish by looking at the future implications. If you want to redefine an industry, start with students.Look at how media has been revolutionized by a small group of “low-end users” and what that means forfinding the next disruptive technology. Look at how organizations need to change their metrics to gearthemselves up to fitness in the coming decade (including, for example, EMI in their marketing). Then,look at what are seemingly innocuous statements by Zuckerberg on Facebook’s future roadmap and whatthat will inevitably mean to all of us.In time, Amazon, Apple, Ford, Facebook and Google will own the student market not becauseof brand ambassadors, creative agencies or marketing campaigns but because they had the right mindset.Mobile brands can get in there too but it requires a change from treating students as prepaid, cheap andconcerned only with offers. http://www.mobileYouth.org
If you consider the most significant mobile innovations of the last decade to impact business – SMS, Facebook, mobile video, ringtones – they all originated from the student market. Where will you find your next innovation? Their long term organic approaches would have been impossible if the organizational KPI were based around ARPU. What sort of internal changes are necessary for brands like Facebook, Apple and Ford to go after and engage “low end” customers? When Mark Zuckerberg announced that “in the future, Facebook will be a mobile company” – where do you think he will start?Contact us for report, workshops, webinars and more:Josh DhaliwalDirector, mobileYouthhttp://www.mobileYouth.orghttp://www.mobileYouthReport.comTel: +44 203 286 3635Mob: +44 7904 200 513 http://www.mobileYouth.org