India is home to one of the world's youngest populations. About 2/3 of India's population of 136 crores is currently below 35 years of age. A significant part of which is among the college-going age group of 18-24 years. Holding immense purchasing powers that is all set to grow multifold as they enter into employment in the coming years, they are well-informed and greatly influence the buying decisions of the family. Born and brought up in the Internet age, they do thorough research before making purchase decisions and are open to trying out new products. Peer-to-peer marketing in such a scenario is one of the best ways for marketers to build lasting relationships with this consumer segment.
Campus Ambassador Programs allow marketers to reach out to them before the competition and leave a lasting impression to make them their lifelong customers and encourage them to speak positively about the brands. These programs involve selecting students who are assigned the tasks of organising events, contests, social media campaigns, and implementing other marketing initiatives focused on speaking directly to the needs and wants of college students.
Benefits for Marketers
Campus Ambassador Programs enable marketers to invest in a population that will constitute a big chunk of their future customers. They allow marketers to build brand awareness and loyalty. In addition, these programs generate great word of mouth publicity, which helps brand enlarge their customer base.
Conceptualising and implementing Campus Ambassador Programs
A well-planned and executed Campus Ambassadors program has a higher chance of achieving its objectives and delivering impressive ROI to marketers. Here're the steps that marketers need to be followed to ensure that.
1. Find out the right people for the program
Spotting highly engaged users and giving them an official way to get involved with your brand could be a great way to start. You should choose the right set of colleges to find students matching these criteria for the program.
2. Decode the expectations the ambassadors
There could be various motivations for students to join your program as ambassadors. Understanding what motivates them is crucial to make the program a success. These motives could be building a resume, receiving free products, or even potentially joining your company.
3. Chalk out the plan
Set clearly defined objectives, milestones and rewards for the Campus Ambassador Program before starting the implementation process. You should also personalise the program in tune with the personal goals of your campus ambassadors.
4. Build trust and transparency
The long-term success of campus ambassador programs depends on building trust and sustaining transparency in your interactions with campus ambassadors.
5. Open channel for feedback and praise
Consider campus ambassadors as your partners and open dialogue with them to build a rapport. Be open to feedback and suggestion and praise them for their commendable work.
6. Track your success
Measure the success of your campus ambassador program to find out whether it is delivering on its objectives and bringing you the expected ROI.
Go hybrid during the Covid-19 pandemic
With most Indian campuses closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, organising campus ambassador programs has difficult for marketers. This situation calls for adopting a hybrid approach to campus marketing. This involves using a mix of online engagements and on-ground activities. Here’s how you can do this.
Social Media: Provide your campus ambassadors with brand videos and social media posts and encourage them to share on social media to enhance visibility among their classmates.
Email communication: Make available well-designed emailers to send to their college friends to draw participation in contests and online events organised as part of the program.
Online Events: Bring a small group of people together at a venue and do an online event. In addition to an emcee and the campus ambassador, invite people who could keep the audience engaged like a stand-up comedian, doodling artist, fitness trainer, yoga instructor, musician. Make these online events fun-filled and share their recording on social media to ensure increased participation in future events.
Here's how we organised a highly engaging program for Shell by going hybrid
The Covid-19 pandemic has severely restricted the normal functioning of college campuses nationwide. This situation has made it difficult for marketers to organise campus ambassador programs. However, by adopting a hybrid approach to campus marketing, marketers can continue to engage college-going students and spread awareness about their brands among them.