Grads more valuable than you know

Meet the college and university graduates of the near future. They've got youthful enthusiasm and smarts - and lots of money to burn....

Meet the college and university graduates of the near future. They’ve got youthful enthusiasm and smarts – and lots of money to burn.

The Conference Board of Canada recently released a report entitled "What To Do Before The Well Runs Dry," which suggests that as baby boomers retire in large numbers, many sectors will be desperate for newly minted grads.

Now, isn’t this potentially a marketer’s dream?

Think about it. Graduates will be in a prime position to negotiate top salaries. Estimates put some entry-level paydays at close to $100,000 a year. Not bad when you consider the grim prospects and low wages that greeted many grads of the early ’80s.

Generations Research and Clegg Campus Marketing recently completed a study called Campus Scan, a cross-Canada survey of some 500 students in the 18-24 age range. This has given us some interesting insight into these soon-to-be-big-spenders – their motivations, aspirations, fears and insecurities, not to mention their views on media, advertising, brands and so on.

So who are they?

Well, they’re certainly a unique, multi-faceted bunch. In fact, Campus Scan identified four major groups: Traditionalists, Mainstreamers, Trend Setters and Wall Street Wannabees.

Typically, they describe themselves as investors – and seemingly savvy ones – even though most are living on less than $10,000 a year (and two in five are making a paltry $5,000 or less). Seven out of 10 consider themselves good at saving their money, and just over four-fifths believe themselves to be financially responsible.

Some even have enough left over to invest. Two out of five told us they invested in stocks, bonds and/or funds in the past year.

For the most part, they don’t appear overly impressed with the financial industry. More than half say they wish financial institutions had more respect for people their age. A similar percentage say they’d be loyal to any financial institution that would give them a break right now. That’s a point that financial marketers ought to think about.

But students aren’t all serious – they like adventure too. Just about everyone expressed a desire for excitement and new experiences. Four out of five say they like to be the first to try new things. Obviously, that makes them good prospects for innovative new products and marketing approaches.

On the other hand, they’re also more traditional than might be expected. Almost nine out of 10 identified getting married and having children as one of their goals.

Given all this, how exactly do they define themselves?

Well, they use the word "honest," first and foremost, and value this trait in the advertising they are constantly exposed to. They also describe themselves as happy, generous and hard-working.

Men are more likely than women to describe themselves as leaders – as well as carefree, cool, athletic and party animals.

Women are more apt than men to see themselves as emotional, energetic and stressed-out. (Marketers might want to be especially nice to these women: They are also more likely than males to describe themselves as compulsive shoppers and impulse buyers.)

On the other hand, males are still more likely to be early adopters of technology. Some 16% say they made an Internet purchase in the past year – twice the number of women who did.

Do students like the marketing approaches used to woo them? Not exactly. At the very least, there’s room for improvement by advertisers. Only 16% of students say there’s a lot of television advertising to which they feel a real connection. And only one in five say that they’ve bought some products because they liked the advertising.

And this in spite of their frequent exposure to all the most popular forms of marketing communications. In a typical week, three-fifths will read a newspaper, three-fifths will listen to two or more hours of radio and just over half will watch five-plus hours of TV.

If you like the sound of a profitable relationship with a high-value customer who’ll be there for the long haul, then it’s time to take a good, hard look at the student market. But first, take some time to learn more about them. Show them that you understand their dreams and aspirations – and offer to help get them there.

Glenn Saxby is senior research consultant with Toronto-based Generations Research.

Also in this report:

- Those cool Chupa Chicks: Chupa Chups’ grassroots efforts to lick Canada has edgy scooter girls taking to the streets and talking up the club crowd p.B2

- Labatt employs dry humour: Moderation campaign relies on insights from student target p.B4

- Advertising to kids in Quebec no picnic: Know the rules or suffer the consequences p.B10

- Dentyne Ice locks lips with youth target: Has built ongoing campaign on theme of anticipating that first kiss p.B14

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.