College stores once had near exclusive reach to incoming first-year students. Today that is not so much the case, with social media and the reach of mobile devices. Fast Company had an interesting article this week about the importance of building a relationship with these new students, and some suggestions on how to (and how not to) do it. As technology changes the medium of our core product as well as the transaction mechanism over the next decade the focus now is on market share.
The Class of 2015, the article notes, are:
hyper-connected, tech savvy thinkers with a budget and their own personal brand to uphold. [...] Their outlook on life has been dramatically altered by world events and social media. Technology has enabled their own personal brand-building, beginning from the time they were old enough to click a mouse. And when they say something, it’s not a handful of the select few who hear them, it’s hundreds upon hundreds of “friends” with open ears and fingers just itching to text or tweet.Coupled with this observation, the article provides five pieces of advice for understanding the needs of the new first-year students who will make up the Class of 2015.
- HELP THEM EXPRESS THEIR PERSONAL BRAND -- and they will embrace yours.
- INTEGRATE ORGANICALLY INTO THEIR WORLD -- and go to where the customer is (i.e., online)
- GET IN GOOD WITH THEIR FRIENDS -- and understand social networking
- BECOME AN ON-DEMAND BRAND -- aggregate the services they need and make it easy
- GET TO KNOW THEM AND DON’T ASSUME -- values change, and trust is more important than ever
Each of the above suggestions in the article is coupled with an example of a "company that is getting it right." The message here to stores is that if you are not yet thinking about social media, it is just another way in which you are losing out on market share and the relationship which was traditionally the retailer's strength.
Now more than ever it is time to skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.