Student influence – who has the last say?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019 - 11:48
Student influence
As much as you might struggle to extract this confession, young people are influenced by the adults around them – parents, family, teachers, tutors, and advisers. The vast majority of students turn to their parents for financial advice, and almost two thirds of them discuss their university options too. Your primary target is always going to be the customer, but influencing the influencers is a fundamental part of accessing the millennial market.

Financial dependency

By the time that they arrive at halls, most students won’t have managed their own income or expenditure, meaning they lean heavily on their parents for both advice and supplementary funds. While 83% of students admitted to receiving financial management advice from their parents, half of them also had mobile phones bought for them, and a third dodged the bill of their freshers’ week grocery shopping. Another quarter told us their parents cover their travel expenses when visiting home, and a fifth manage to pick up a PC or laptop without dipping into their own account. 

Parents who take an interest in seeing where their money goes are likely to do research of their own, so there is always merit in marketing to the bill payers, as well as the recipients.

Choice of university

Research from Coventry University has shown there is little greater influence on choice of university than a parent’s helping hand. The problem may lie in the lack of information available from schools and colleges, so said 75% of students. But, there’s also motivation from the other side, with more than a third of parents wanting to have a say in the choice. 

The ears of modern universities may prick faster in response to these findings, considering that many of them will only have come into existence in 1992. With parents admitting their advice is heavily influenced by their own higher education path, what does this mean for their assessment of providers that didn’t even exist when they were studying?

Influencing the influencer

There are important differences in reaching and communicating with parents and advisers, as opposed to students. Their device usage, emotional triggers, and buying habits will be dissimilar. Marketing strategies from American retailers who target parents of college students offer some inspiration, including online wish lists managed by the child and fulfilled by the parent, repeat subscriptions, automatic deliveries for products that parents don’t want their child to be without, and ad hoc care packages of essentials. 

Whether you’re a university trying to inform parents of your USP, a brand hoping to break into this lucrative market, or an employer on the lookout for talented graduate talent, UCAS operates three direct routes for you to reach these important influencers:

Open day/taster day emails: twice yearly, highly targeted communications to inform parents and advisers about open days and taster days for their children.

Adviser newsletters: twice monthly, trusted emails with high engagement with content, to help parents and advisers support their children throughout application and study.

Direct mail: twice yearly posted adviser packs, which can include your branded marketing material targeting students, parents, and advisers in one mailout.

We’re in the perfect position to support brands that want to speak to, and support the verified student audience, with products and services to make their next step a confident one.

To find out more, please call 01242 544 881, or email [email protected].

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