What Student Discounts?!?!

Posted on Nov 21, 2012 · 4 min read

Teacher Baxter and Little KellyToday we’re excited to bring you a post by guest blogger, Michael Nickless. Michael has been kind enough to share his unique perspective on student discounts, as a non-traditional college student at Lane Community College. Michael is not alone, a growing percentage of college students don’t fit the mold of the “typical” 18-22-year-old most people envision when they hear the words “college student”. For more statistics and facts about non-traditional college students, check out our infographic, College Students of 2012.

The major goal of offering targeted discounts is to establish new customer relationships and hopefully build brand loyalty.  Your business may spend a lot of money on this strategy, and you want it to be as effective as possible.  Student discounts are a well-established tool that can be a very effective way to reach a targeted audience.  After all, students are a group whose earning capacity is only going to increase with time, and they will remember companies who were “there for them” when they needed the help most.   The only problem is that most marketers don’t truly understand the student market. One marketing question almost totally missed today when discussing students is “Who is your target audience? Who are students today?”

As a population, the US has hit a re-training phase.  The economy is down, domestically and globally.  Our manufacturing and technology fields have a serious need for well-trained people to support any real long-term economic growth.  Employers in skilled trade areas are recruiting nationwide and still having difficulty finding competent employees.  At the same time, there has been very high unemployment and serious economic hardship for many of our middle-class workers.

It should be no surprise that the fastest growing demographic for college enrollments are people over the age of twenty-five, nor that trade school enrollment is way up as well.  Anyone without a current job that has half a brain is in school right now!!!  As someone that is over the age of twenty-five and considering a trade-oriented education, I can tell you that no one offering a student discount is reaching me with their marketing efforts.  Let me say that again…Not one business has managed to communicate clearly to me that I am eligible for their discount program.  NOT ONE.

I would be exceedingly grateful for student discounts too!   Times are hard, as the blues singers say.  They are expected to get better though.  Like most adult students, I’m here for a career change and am almost ready to look for work that pays more than I ever made before.  In the next two years, I will be forming new shopping habits and be discovering new brands.  This is EXACTLY why marketers offer student discounts in the first place!!  The only catch is that I am not a dorm-room-living, party-and-dance-club-going, tech-rich 19-year-old.  I’m currently a low-income dad with more laundry than time and a need for more office supplies than logic or reason could explain.  (Yeah, the kids are in school too.)

The big point is that I am far from alone; we are the fastest growing student demographic and the marketers are missing us completely.  I can understand that because there isn’t much logic in targeting un/underemployed adults.  It’s counter-intuitive at best.  Just remember those of us that aren’t stupid or lazy are the majority, and we are headed to school for training right now to get better jobs in the future.   The financial crisis and outsourcing trends have created a new reality, and a smart business can take advantage of a unique niche market which is growing rapidly.

If you’re interested in reaching ALL students with your student discount, consider putting a verification solution like SheerID’s in place. Once your discount is protected and only qualified, currently enrolled students can redeem your offer, you can market that student discount far and wide, making it easier to reach 100% of the college student market.

Angela Modzelewski by Angela Modzelewski