Ed-Q-Cation: Mobile Marketing Trends Hit Campuses Nationwide

Written by Michael Whittington

Since none of the big acts come to my home state of Rhode Island, a few months ago I braved the New England highways and visited the University of Connecticut for a concert. With my poor time management skills, I arrived incredibly earlier than I had planned so I took the chance to wander around the campus and see what it was all about. I sought out a campus map and when I found one, I also found love. What do you think? Is that a good intro for my romance novel? No, it’s terrible. I’ll stop trying new formats and just give you people what you came for: barely cohesive reporting on mobile marketing trends.

So that first paragraph wasn’t a complete waste. I did visit UCONN and I did stumble upon a campus map, but I didn’t find love, I found something similar but more angular. It was a QR code and it could be scanned to point users to a mobile-friendly website where they could search the campus by building code, field of study, category (such as dining hall) and even get driving directions (the campus was several miles wide). When the mobile marketing solution was launched across campus last year, internet services manager Robert Chudzik was interviewed and explained his decision to use a mobile ready site as opposed to a downloadable app. I highly suggest reading more. Why am I not going to analyze it like usual? I’m too excited! Since the concert I’ve been doing my mobile market research, studying mobile marketing trends and I’m pleased to share that countless other colleges and universities are taking advantage of mobile marketing advertising.

The Good

The Chronicle reports that during the Fall 2011 semester, the same one during which UCONN introduced their mobile marketing solution, Wittenberg University, Miami University (the Ohio one), Michigan Technological University, Rogers State University, Lebanon Valley College and Lafayette College have all utilized mobile marketing solutions around campus in one way or another. The application is becoming so popular, OnlineColleges.net published a mobile marketing blog titled 18 Cool Ways Colleges are Using QR Codes. Check it out! The University of Bristol in London even went so far as to use a billboard for their mobile marketing advertising. It isn’t just campus faculty and staff taking advantage of online QR code generator software, students are doing the same (besides the one with the graduation cap I wrote that mobile marketing blog about that one time). For example, at the University of Charleston in South Carolina a student was amongst a group who put together a self-guided environmental art exhibit using QR codes.

The Not-as-Good

Here’s one I thought was clever but impractical. At Washington and Lee University, the IT staff utilized QR code generator software and printed custom shirts prior to new student orientation. Each shirt had nine QR codes on the front and several more on the back and each code led to some important resource for students such as the contact number for IT services or information about local businesses such as movie theaters and parks. The staff wore the shirts around campus so students could scan the codes. I appreciate the noble intention – but don’t you agree sticking around to scan a dozen codes off of someone’s shirt a bit creepy? It would be much less awkward to simply ask “What is the number for IT services, I’d like to save it in my phone” or “What’s there to do for fun in town?” Plus, isn’t one major purpose of orientation the chance to interact with faculty members? Like I said, I feel the online QR code generator software was put to good use, I just think that mobile market research would have shown this wasn’t necessarily the way to go in this instance.

What’s Next?

Mobile text marketing. Trying to balance studying, a social life and sanity through college can be tough and it’s easy to lose track of time. Wouldn’t it be great if your school could remind you, wherever you are, about that important thing you’d forgotten all about? Momares seems to believe that mobile text marketing will be the next of the mobile marketing trends that colleges and universities utilize. Of course, this would get annoying. There would always be something going on around campus whether it’s a social mixer, a dance or a sporting event. Therefore I would suggest colleges keep the texting to a minimum – perhaps only for “Remember – today is the last day to drop classes,” or “Remember – today is the last day to Pass/Fail a course so your abysmal grade doesn’t affect your average,” or “Don’t forget to vote online for next year’s student government officials.”

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