Greek life is a tradition as historic and orthodox as college itself. What used to be classified as a symbol of one’s wealth and/or elevated social status is now generally practiced as a life lesson in tradition, friendship, and the collegiate experience. To most small businesses aimed at the college market, the Greeks represent the holy grail of target demographics. They are united, wealthy, and almost always arrive in bunches. Study Breaks’ Daniel Stone calls on three of the nation’s top Greek marketers to break down marketing techniques, sales pitches, and overall business strategy in a Study Breaks roundtable webinar.
Andrew Citores- JusCollege
JusCollege is a self-proclaimed “one-stop shop” when it comes to students interested in the more lively aspects of the collegiate experience. They specialize primarily in the student travel and entertainment market and have actively penetrated the Greek demographic in over twenty universities. “JusCollege is the easiest way to plan, book and organize your next social experience.”
Chad Hart - Inertia Tours
Inertia Tours is a student travel company designed to aid students in their Spring Break excursions to destinations such as South Padre, Cancun and Panama City. Chad’s main philosophy, as founder and president of Inertia, is to provide students with an affordable option and way to visit some of the most widely sought out Spring Break destinations on the planet.
Bryant Aplass- Explosion Sportswear
Explosion Sportswear is a promotional design and apparel company dealing in the Greek market and currently live in all fifty states. Retail Merchandiser Magazine recently dubbed them as one of the premier Greek apparel providers nationwide.
Marketing During the Summer Months
Let’s face it, Greeks love to create t-shirts. Bryant and his team aren’t faced with many of the sales shortages a lot of niche businesses are used to. Even so, Bryant stays connected with his customers by holding demos at the national Greek conventions. They even go as far as to sponsor certain chapters themselves. “Thats a big part of our promotional recruitment and meeting different people.”
As a niche Spring Break company, most of Inertia’s sales drop off over the summer months. Chad responds by using the time to strengthen his operations and increase his Google reach. “Most of my activity is centered around web-based stuff right now.. For us it’s more operations and getting things tightened up.”
“One thing that we really focus on is building long lasting relationships with our Greeks, because we work with them multiple times a year. We’ll work with their fraternity formals, all of their local events, banquet dinners, Spring Break, music festivals; we’re really in constant contact with them. So my team really builds a personal relationship.. we invite them to come out with us for Memorial Day, Las Vegas, different trips we have planned over the Summer.”
One difference in JusCollege and Inertia Tours is that Jus College is planning trips year-round. As a result, their more loyal customers will take a serious look at the events calendar months ahead of schedule.
Applying New Media
Dan: Bryant, I’ve got your YouTube video uploaded right now from your Facebook page. Is this an effective way when your talking to your Greek fraternities and sororities? Are they telling you ” hey- I saw your video, were really loving this”?
Bryant goes on to explain the aesthetic advantages to filming the t-shirt design process (especially when one does it with the Tempe12 girls- in a top-notch facility). He prefers the use of new media as more of a promotional device than sales associate.
“Travel is a lot like real estate, pictures and videos sell it. We use it a lot for the credibility factor.” Chad applies new media as more of a sales tool than promotional device. Whenever he runs into a customer that is on the fence between two destinations, or unsure if the trip is worth the cost, he refers them to his YouTube page filled with hundreds of videos from the years before. “When [the videos] are real professional, it turns some people off. They think oh this has been doctored, that’s not what the condos look like, we like keeping it real.”
Andrew’s team uses new media much like Chad does. Their overall goal is to hype the viewer enough that they’ll want to join. “We’ve done everything from shooting an entire video with an iPhone, just to get that real experience.. We’ve had an actual camera crew come in and shoot professionally. So we’ve gone both angles, and both get real good traction. I think YouTube is a great way to get in front of college students, and it definitely builds that credibility factor.”
Employing College Reps
Chad: For us it just comes back to you can find a million travel companies online, but its not the same as having your buddy say- hey this is what were going to do this year. Its more like having a plan in place and having the foot-soldiers on campus backing that up.. that chain of mouth advertising is obviously the best that we get, but I think that works.
College Rep Qualifiers
Andrew: We don’t actively go out and recruit representatives to sell trips, we mostly target large groups that are already planning on traveling.. Instead of taking a sales role, we are more focused on how do we service those groups. We find out what they like to do as far as their activities throughout the year, and we help them plan and organize those. We get a lot of students that are reaching out to us, they want to be involved and they know that we can help their fraternity or group of friends or whatever it may be. And instead of pushing them to sell a certain destination, we really just open up and ask them what do you guys want to do.
Running an Expansive Product Line
Bryant: We have over a hundred different vendors, were always finding new vendors going to all different kind of conventions to see whats new and get it out there. Our website has so many different products on it, and its awesome because a lot of our Greek customers come to us because our products cannot be found on different sites. And its because we do so much R&D and research in keeping things new in fashion.. Being the head of that trend is really what keeps us on top.