Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals, February 15, 2012
Mobile marketing is a college recruiting tool that is growing in importance because smartphones offer relevant information in real-time to their users, says Sue Keever-Watts, founder and president of the Keever Group.
“These users are young, connected, and spontaneous, and are open to sharing their location, their preferences, and their opinions,” Keever-Watts notes. “From an employer perspective, mobile marketing provides companies with the opportunity to reach students when they are ‘closest to buying.’ In other words, employers can reach students when they are in the process of looking for an internship or full-time position.”
She cites a recent Retail Touch Points infographic, which included the following statistics to illustrate the power of mobile:
- One-third of Facebook’s 600 million users have and use Facebook Mobile.
- Twitter has 165 million users; half use Twitter Mobile.
- Two hundred million YouTube views occur on mobile devices every day.
- Thirty percent of smartphone owners access social networks via a mobile browser.
- Americans spend an average of 2.7 hours per day socializing on their mobile devices.
Keever-Watts points out that consumer marketers are riding several mobile-marketing trends, such as a dramatic increase in text messaging and a jump in the rate at which people use their mobile phones to access social media sites. Experts also foresee a rise in the use of social gaming and a growing prevalence of location-based marketing.
“Employers are using QR codes, texting, and social media to reach students,” Keever-Watts says. “However, most lag behind consumer advertisers when it comes to fully leveraging this technology.”
Keever-Watts recommends that employers look at the trends for 2012—text messaging, social media, location-based marketing, and even gaming—to determine if any of these are appropriate platforms for their marketing efforts.
“Employers need to start by understanding their customer—the student,” Keever-Watts says. “What do students need or want, in general: time, money, fun?”
Then, she adds, employers should answer the following questions before social media or mobile marketing is even considered:
- What trends are we seeing on the college campus or among this generation?
- How can we leverage those trends?
- What do students want from employers?
- Where do they typically go to get information?
- How can companies be more accessible, relevant, and real-time?
- How can we make the job-search process more fun/easier/less time-consuming?
- What can we do to “reward” students and generate conversation about the company?
Finally, how does this process get turned into a successful—truly impactful—marketing campaign? Employers need to add in some creativity.
“For example, if an employer is in a large city like Los Angeles,” she says, “it could partner with a food truck company to have the truck show up on campus at a specified date and time. The company’s recruiters and alumni could serve students. The first 100 students to show up get a healthy meal for free. The employer would promote the food truck event on Facebook, by texting students, and on Twitter. The employer met a student need and created a buzz. And, it has properly leveraged social and mobile marketing channels.”
But, Keever-Watts cautions against the biggest mistake companies make when it comes to mobile marketing—using it for advertising purposes.
“If an employer sends advertising messages via text or use Facebook Mobile only to promote itself, then it has not only missed an opportunity—it has made itself irrelevant,” she says.
The key to a successful mobile marketing campaign for college recruiting is for an employer to first understand its target audience and then to determine how best to connect with this audience.
“Then, and only then,” Keever-Watts says, “will [the employer] be in a position to decide what media or marketing platform best complements its efforts. If the employer starts with the platform first, its strategy will fail.”