Youth marketing
min read

The future of student life, peer-to-peer content, and Gen Z trends: Q&A with Campus Group

Written by
Izzy Hall
Published on
February 22, 2024
Last updated
February 23, 2024

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The world of student marketing can feel oversaturated. From overwhelming social media feeds to a rising cost of living crisis, Gen Z students are desperately searching for brands that can support them and their peers, do some good in the world and really deliver what they want. But how can brands fight through the noise and authentically connect with young students?

Today, we hear from Campus Group, global student and youth specialists, and partners of our upcoming Youth Marketing Strategy event in New York. We catch up with Jen Webster, Account Director at Campus Group, to learn more about the future of student marketing, Gen Z trends, and YMS New York.

Q&A with Jen Webster, Campus Group

How do you keep up with trends at Campus Group? 

One of the most challenging (and interesting) things about helping brands reach university and college students is that we’re dealing with a completely new audience every 3-4 years - that means it’s vital that we keep our ears to the ground. 

Through projects like  No Filter,  a new initiative designed to look beyond the cliches, stereotypes, and assumed knowledge around Gen Z, we ensure that the conversation is always two-way. We have a cohort of 18-24s around the world that we use for real-time insights and opinions which keeps us not only up to date but also conscious of cultural differences when putting together global campaigns.  

Have you learned anything recently that might surprise brands? 

Something we’re really keen to do is to cut through some of the assumptions that are made about Gen Z and examine them a bit closer. 

For example, we all know how passionate Gen Zers are about brands behaving ethically - more so than any other generation - but we need to understand where this comes in their priority list. Brands might be surprised to see price still the king of this category, with almost two-thirds of students still stating that this is the number one consideration when making a purchase. 

O-week activations, Sydney office

What sets Campus Group apart from the crowd? 

If I had to pick one thing, it’s probably our ingenuity. Briefs come in all shapes and sizes, but the challenge always remains the same: How can we deliver results, do something unique, and ensure our message cuts through? 

Once we have the idea, it’s about how we make it happen. Building a hostel on a festival site, putting actual staff members inside vending machines to make them appear automated (yes, actually)... we’re all about creative solutions. 

What does student marketing look like in 2024? 

For us, it’s about building campaigns that use a variety of channels, all pulling in the same direction to achieve our objectives. After a heavy shift towards online over the past few years (for obvious reasons), we think it's imperative for brands to still get out there and make the most of the unique campus community and meeting students face to face. Our campaigns are now a combination of student content creators for reach, on-the-ground ambassadors for peer-to-peer engagement, and events to make that emotional connection.

In terms of the US market, we’ve seen success in leveraging what is a highly engaged student audience by tapping into passions outside of their education. We recently worked with Uber to raise awareness about ride safety and had two very different events; a pop-up at Clemson Tiger’s football tailgate, and a roundtable panel talk at Temple, PA - both effective in their own ways. 

And finally, what brings you to YMS New York?

As we continue our global expansion we’re excited to meet brands who share our passion for youth culture! It’s a great opportunity to gain new perspectives and hear from other experts. 

As well as this, it's a great opportunity to bring together our LA, London, and Sydney teams for a few days!

No Filter original cohort – running globally in 2024

Want to hear more from Campus Group? Get in touch now.

Campus Group will also be appearing at Pion's YMS NYC event, happening this March. You can secure your tickets now. 

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