Customer acquisition and CRO

Spend, Thrive & Strive For Success With Pion

Published on
February 28, 2024
Last updated
May 9, 2024

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Did you know there are currently 235 million students enrolled in higher education around the world? Yep – that’s a big number – and it’s only going to grow. By 2040, the total number of students is expected to reach 594 million.

In the US, 36% of the US population had graduated from a higher degree institution, whilst in the UK, there’s an estimated 3 million students. Not sure why this is relevant? Well, spoiler alert: this cohort has a huge purchasing power. £663 billion in the EU alone, to be precise, and $360 billion globally. 

If you’re a brand who wants to capture the spend of students, you must be offering incentives

Why? Well, firstly, not only do they already have a huge purchasing power, but students are the high earners and business decision-makers of the future. As of last year, working-age graduates were earning an average of £38,500 – a massive £11,500 more than working-age non-graduates.  If you want a head start with the next generation of successful young professionals, you’ll need to nurture the college target market, and get current students on board.

Not convinced? Let’s settle some objections...

What’s the best way to overcome objections? To discuss them!

Here goes...

“Students aren’t a focus”

Ok, we hear you. However, we’d caveat this by making an obvious but understated point: you (sadly) don’t stay the same age forever – and the brands students shop with in their formative years will determine their loyalty for years to come.

Students are making purchases in certain categories for the first time, and setting up new accounts with service providers. Win over a student with an exclusive marketing promotion and you could have them as a customer for decades to come. 

In fact, 85% of students say that the experience they have with a brand during their time at university is likely to influence where they shop or what they buy in the future.

The proof is in the pudding

Over at Pion, this is an objection we hear over and over again: and if you’re not convinced by the above, we can give you a great real-life case study.

FatFace X Pion

Over half of our student community shared with us that global clothing brand FatFace wasn’t targeted at Gen Z. FatFace knew they had a gap in the market here, and wanted to improve their brand awareness and revenue with this cohort, so they came to Pion, and launched a festive campaign.

Pion worked with various creators to position FatFace as a festive one-stop shop. Creators showcased their favorite festive picks via TikTok, with everything from cosy knits to festive PJs and Christmas gifts. The results saw a massive 120% increase in revenue.

Learn more about our creators here.

“We have an existing loyalty programme that we want to focus on – why do we need you?”

You might be a brand that already has an existing discount via a loyalty programme. First of all: that’s brilliant news – you see the value of rewarding loyalty with offers. Assess how well this is going for your brand, and then ask the next question: would it make it better, or worse, if you could enhance this offering even more?

That’s where stackable discounts come in. According to our research, 77% of Gen Z want discounts to be stackable (aka, working in conjunction with other offers).

William Harris, Chief Revenue Officer at Pion shares the following:

“When consumers perceive added value through stackable discounts, they become less inclined to explore alternative options or shop around for better deals. This loyalty effect translates into a higher likelihood of repeat purchases. The reduction in customer churn and increased repeat business not only ensures a steady stream of revenue but also strengthens the brand's market position over time”.

Again, we could tell you this until the cows come home, or we could show you tangible proof.

KFC Student Members Programme x Pion 

KFC were able to grow their loyalty and become extra wallet-friendly to the humble student.

They did this through the launch of their Student Members Programme. This programme was developed with Pion, allowing students to link their student status to their KFC accounts, and unlock a world of exclusive offers and discounts (£3 popcorn chicken anyone?).

Loyalty is one thing – but how does it translate into the numbers? 

Well, pretty well, if you ask us. KFC saw over 250,000 student sign-ups and a whopping $2.75 million in annual student spending.

 “We already work with a competitor of yours – why would we work with you too?”

Whilst exclusivity is always the dream, it’s not always possible. We recognise this: don’t worry, we’re realists. However, have you considered the impact on the reach of your brand if you choose to work with Pion as well as an existing competitor? 

We already work with numerous brands who advertise on other discount platforms – it allows them to expand their reach and harness the power of multiple vendors.

Last year, Dominos invested in Pion’s creator package to support the launch of their new pizza. To spread the word, four Pion creators made tailor-made TikToks to engage other students.

The results were fantastic: we increased clicks by 38%, and Dominos had a 34% increase in views. The campaign saw 1.1 million users reached on TikTok alone, and 1.8 million impressions across all videos.

Don’t just take our word for it...

Alex Smith, Affiliate Manager at Dominos shared:

The team came up with brilliant concepts, ideal creators and made the whole process seamless. We’re excited to work with Pion again”.

On exclusivity…

36% of our audience uses us exclusively. 

Our global network of media touchpoints, along with our unique conversion optimisation tool drives repeat purchases, building a connection that turns Gen Z into lifelong customers.

When you work with us, your brand gains access to our community of highly engaged 16-24-year-old users. You can segment your users to target your ideal consumers, and make use of our Gen Z- centric marketing inventory to speak to them wherever (and however) they browse. 

“This will alienate non-student users”

We know for a fact the intent from students is there: 45% of students search for a discount every time they make a purchase. However, you might be concerned about alienating non-student users. 

Since launching in 2005 (yes, that really is 19 years ago…), we have never seen any negative impact on other non-student customers. In fact, we regularly receive lots of positive feedback about how the student program encourages word of mouth as parents, friends, and siblings tell the students in their network about your brand’s offer. 

Plus, you’d be mistaken if you think that students are the only people we offer discounts to. As of 2023, we provide an online verification service that extends beyond student verification. This solution includes nine additional targeted consumer groups, including military, healthcare, teachers, graduates, and parents to name a just a few.

If you’re looking to learn more about how we work with other closed consumer groups, you can find out everything you need to know here.

We are Pion: we make brands relevant

At Pion, we help brands harness the growth-driving power of consumer groups with full-funnel insights, advertising and verification. Our ecosystem of solutions helps expand your brand’s customer base and supercharge sales. 

Since 2005, we’ve uniquely built our expertise to help brands better understand, engage and grow loyalty with students, Gen Z, and other strategic consumer groups. We combine insights, advertising and verification across a range of strategic consumer groups to accelerate your growth on campus, in-store and online.

Understand, engage and grow with a single partner. You’re in good company. 

3,500+ brands trust Pion

Ready to see how Pion can supercharge your sales targets?