Understanding Student Marketing

Understanding Student Marketing

How should brands connect with students on campus, in culture and beyond?

Welcome to Seed! We’re a multi award winning student marketing agency that specialise in creative, student-focused campaigns that WORK for some of the biggest brands in the world. Our agency is fuelled by a network of 10,000 creative and aspirational students who help us to shape and deliver campaigns that are culturally relevant to the ever influential student audience.

From year long strategies to tactical campaigns at key moments in the year, we create authentic campaigns and experiences that this audience will really connect with.

With 50% of the influential and hard to reach Gen Z audience enrolled at university, student marketing can be an effective and efficient way of creating brand connections at a crucial point in the consumer lifetime.

Seed have deep expertise in both student and brand universes and create teams, programmes, campaigns and ideas which generate genuine engagement and results for brands seeking to make an impact within this influential audience.

Millennials, Gen Zedders, The Youth – call them what you will, this target audience can throw up confusion and bewilderment as brands struggles to contemplate how to engage them. This is where student marketing helps to navigate this complex question.

With over 2.75 million students in the UK making up roughly 50% of all 18-22 year olds, this upwardly mobile, influential audience gives you a group that is easier to digest, concentrated to engage and therefore poses a huge opportunity for brands to effectively engage.

Keep reading to find out exactly why students are the perfect gateway to engaging youth.

Well Connected

Students love to be constantly connected and posting on their social channels with 74% of millennials and Generation Zedders in the UK interacting with each other digitally more than they do in the real world(1).

By living in dense social communities both online and on the ground, it means brands and products can get traction quicker than they would if targeting wider society.

Our client Tinder used this to great effect as they initially launched their app on American college campuses and through student marketing experienced their avalanche moment when it caught on like wildfire amongst the fraternities and sororities.

Got Sway

Being a part of the ‘student bubble’ means students easily influence and become influenced by their peers, as well as wider society, particularly when it comes to tech and innovation.

Student Marketing offers a way to target young adults in their most formative time is proven to be crucial, whilst their personas, loyalties and habits are being built and shaped.

With 83% of millennials trusting recommendations by friends and family(2), influential peer-to-peer student marketing provides a catalyst for students proving that validation from their peers is important to them.

Thrill Seekers

Students are constantly seeking fun and excitement, and attribute social and monetary value to unique and authentic experiences.

They also want to be seen as ‘in the know’ about the latest events and experiences amongst their peers.

Not only are they building social currency but reinforcing FOMO amongst their peers and offering real authentic reach for the content

This is shown in how 72% of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things(3).

Head over to most student's Instagram feed and you’ll find images of their holidays, festivals and restaurant meals, as opposed to cars, clothes and flashy items.

Working It

When you think student you may think lazy, unmotivated baked bean eating loafers – you couldn’t be more wrong! Students are now more hard-working than ever.

With the most challenging environment that any student has had to face from rising debt, global uncertainty and job opportunities at a premium, our audience know they need to go out and grab life by the horns.

From these ashes has risen Student 2.0, whose highly ambitious natures mean they are studying harder, completing more internships, and using the best tech to optimise every moment.

Healthy bodies equal healthy minds too which has resulted in Students pushing it harder with health and fitness.

Students are now spending on average £120 a month in this area(4)!

You Only Live Once

As a result of increasing uni fees and debt, rising price of living and an out-of-reach market for first time buyers, students have taken on a ‘You Only Live Once’ attitude towards spending.

For a brand, the value is real with International students alone generating a total of £25.8 billion in gross output through on and off campus spending(5).

Travel has also taken a very pivotal role with this ‘in the moment’ approach to spending with our recent research What Matters To Us showing that 9/10 students plan to take a trip abroad this year.


Some things never change and students still continue to love to operate in tightly knit and intertwined social groups, proving their strong desire to belong.

Socialising was recently highlighted as the 3rd highest expenditure(6) following rent and food, and it’s the connections made and social statuses established through these groups, it offers distinct channels into engaging influential campus communities.

When student marketing focusses on reaching out to like mind communities and societies, it offers the perfect opportunity to speak ‘one to many’ rather than ‘one to a few’ each which similar aspirations, beliefs and desires.