Marketers warned not to target students on ‘assumptions’

Marketers have been warned not to treat students as a ‘homogenous group’ and to instead consider them as several distinct audiences by UK admissions service UCAS.

Students enjoying themselves at a university union bar – but just one in five visit a pub once or more a week.

The organisation, which earlier this year launched UCAS Media to provide services to brands and agencies looking to reach students, advises marketers to act on “statistics” rather than “assumptions” when looking to target that audience.

Its latest “Applicant Lifestyle Survey” attempts to banish such presumptions about students. It found that 17 per cent of students never visit a pub and 23 per cent never go clubbing, while only one in five (22 per cent) actually visit a pub once a week.

When asked about fitness, 70 per cent of prospective students said they exercised at least twice a week, with half exercising “several times” a week – in contrast to the lazy student stereotype.
Elsewhere, about a third (33 per cent) of the 22,000 university applicants surveyed said they go to the cinema “every few months”, while the majority say they no longer hire DVDs. Around half attend gigs “several times” a year.

Keith Parkman, head of sales at UCAS Media, says while students have “significant spending power”, they prioritise different things.

He adds: “It’s worth taking time to explore which student audience you’re speaking to, how old they are, what and where they are going to study and where they look for information. Location is also likely to be a factor in their behaviour as consumers.”

Click here to read the inaugural Youth 100 list, complied by asking students to rate their top brands.

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