Freshersfields.com, the first national online freshers’ fair developed by student company The Beans Group, will provide mass access to the hard-to-reach youth market, according to brands including Warehouse, News International and Ovivo.
More than 10,000 students have pre-registered for the site so far, but The Beans Group aims to attract more than 1m young people by the end of October. One of the ways it will be putting the word out is via its flagship website Studentbeans.com which reaches 800,000 students each month and is ranked as the most popular youth site by Nielsen.
Freshersfields.com launches on 17 August, with 24-hour early bird access for those who have pre-registered. It will include information, offers and deals from 40 brands including Samsung, Urban Outfitters, Greggs, One Piece and Netflix, in addition to those mentioned above.
As part of its activity, fashion retailer Warehouse will include its autumn/winter brand video and campaign shoot with a range of products, as well as upping its student discount to 20% and offering a competition to win a term’s worth of clothes.
As part of the competition students will be asked to provide their details, which the retailer will then use for future marketing activity.
Clarissa Atkins, Warehouse senior marketing manager, said, “We’ll take all of the data where we have opt in and add it to our database and then we’ll target those people with student-related communications, such as our student lock-ins at stores, which involve late night openings in locations such as the Bullring in Birmingham where we’ll have drinks and prizes to give away.”
Warehouse was keen to be involved as previous digital campaigns, such as its ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ Facebook and Twitter activity, and Like-to-win Facebook competitions, have had a really high level of youth market interaction.
“To target universities separately is really difficult because of the sheer manpower of doing something like that in such a short space of time,” added Atkins.
As part of its upcoming education pillar, News International title The Times is looking to put together two subscription packages designed and priced for students, which it plans to sell at Freshersfields.com.
Both packs are purely digital, the first will likely include access to the website and smartphone app, while the second will include the addition of tablet access.
Suzy Sandison, News International head of direct sales, said, “We’ve done some research into smartphone and tablet penetration among students and it is much higher on smartphones. But we wanted to offer the tablet pack too as we’ve found out that some universities will be giving out tablets loaded with books this year.”
The move is part of the publisher’s strategy to build loyalty among young readers.
“We see this as an entry level product,” she said. “If we can get students into the habit of reading the newspapers and using the Times archive, which goes back to 1785, it will build loyalty in the brand. We imagine users will go through a similar engagement process as the rest of our subscribers but we will also have some communications especially tailored to them.”
As part of Times+, which subscribers automatically get access to upon signing up, students will also receive additional offers like free dough balls at Pizza Express and two for one cinema tickets.
“Being at the online freshers’ fair means we can access a lot more people. If we physically had people at each university it wouldn’t be as economical.”
It is this access to students on scale and the lower cost in terms of marketing material and manpower that is also appealing to smaller brands such as mobile network Ovivo.
Sarah Longhurst, Ovivo head of product and marketing, said, “As a small company we don’t have the resources to be physically on site at freshers’ fairs around the country, so this allows us to get reach we wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”
As Ovivo is selling a service, the online nature of Freshersfields.com also means students are more likely to convert as they have the power to research, compare and purchase, whereas if the network had a physical stand the transaction wouldn’t be able to take place there and then.
It is also about extending reach for fashion brand One Piece, which will be using the online fair in conjunction with on-site visits.
Last year the brand did a tour of 34 universities, but Ole Fjelberg, president and partner at the company, said, “It would be impossible for us to visit every university so this is a great opportunity”.