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This Hidden College Market Could Be a Gold Mine
Mother with graduate

When you think about marketing to moms, you might think about parents of young children or infants, but you could be ignoring an entire category of moms: parents of college students. While you might think that college students are off on their own, free from mom and dad, a study by BSM Media reported in MediaPost found moms are highly involved in their students’ spending.

Some 3.1 million U.S. high school seniors graduated in June, and some 1.86 million of them (more than 60 percent) will start college this year. That means kids—and their moms—are already starting to hunt for the furniture, clothes and supplies the new students will need to succeed. Here are some figures to give you an idea of the opportunity:

In addition to money they spend on graduation gifts and parties, moms report they will spend about $900 for essentials for dorm, apartment or student housing life, not to mention some $500 to $600 in moving costs.

If you’re marketing to moms of college students, focus on easing their stress. Some 83 percent of moms admit they’re stressed out about their kids’ transition to college. Moms start stressing when the acceptance letter arrives (40 percent) and keep stressing all summer long (30 percent). Half of moms plan to make from three to six shopping trips to buy necessities for their students.

The spending won’t end when the student moves in to college, either. Nearly eight in 10 moms say their kids will be close enough for them to drive and visit. About 30 percent say they plan to visit campus two or three times, and 22 percent plan to visit more than six times, during the school year. They’re willing to spend, too, with more than 20 percent of moms admitting it will cost them $400 or more each time they visit just for transportation to campus.

While moms are very hands-on when it comes to helping their kids acclimate to college, one thing they don’t want to do is schlep the boxes. More than half of moms say they wish they could outsource that to someone else. MediaPost cites one company called Campus Bellhops as an example of appealing to college moms by handling the grunt work of moving students’ stuff.

How can you cater to college moms?

  • Start now. Moms are already on the lookout for what their students need, and they know desirable products sell out fast. With many college semesters starting in August, they don’t want their kids to be left without the basics.
  • Use social media. Find groups for colleges on Facebook or target moms with kids at college on the site. (You can find “(insert college name) Moms” Facebook pages for most schools.) Moms will share with other moms, so offer discounts, deals and promotions that are easy to share.
  • Appeal to moms’ pain points. Make it easy and stress-free for them to get what they need for their kids. This will ease their worries at sending their new grads off to school.

Image by Flickr user James Thompson (Creative Commons)

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at rieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.
Rieva Lesonsky

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