Page 4: Marketing to students
Wilkinson involved 60 universities in research, using questionnaires distributed to students initially in Years 2 and 3 of a range of universities and then to 'freshers' (new students) through the University and Colleges Admission Service. This ensured the widest range of students was included to eliminate bias. It also gave a wide range of responses.
From this initial group, students were asked a second set of questions. Participants were rewarded with Amazon vouchers to encourage a good take-up. The research focused on two areas:
- student awareness of the Wilkinson brand
- reasons why students were currently not using the stores regularly
The market research enabled Wilkinson to put together its marketing strategy. The aim was to ensure the student population began shopping at Wilkinson stores early in their student experience. This would help to maintain their customer loyalty to Wilkinson throughout their student years and also to develop them as future customers after university. Repeat business is key to sustained growth.
Wilkinson wanted to create satisfied customers with their needs met by the Wilkinson range of products. A marketing campaign was launched which focused on a range of promotional tactics, specifically designed to appeal to university students:
- Wilkinson attending freshers' fairs and giving free goody bags with sample products directly to students
- direct mail flyers to homes and student halls, prior to students arriving
- advertisements with fun theme, for example, showing frying pans as tennis racquets
- web banners
- offering discounts of 15% with first purchase using the online store
- gift vouchers
- free wallplanners.
The challenge was to get students into Wilkinson stores. The opportunity was to capture a new customer group at an early stage and provide essential items all year round. This would lead to a committed customer group and secure repeat business.