I’m about to go back to my home state for Christmas. Besides seeing my preschool/kindergarten-age nephews, I also get to visit with my old college roommate! That got me thinking about how good kids have it these days: Internet hookups or Wi-Fi in every dorm room, Facebook to find out more about that hottie in your Sociology 101 class, and cell phones to coordinate your weekend plans–and your weekends start on Wednesdays! In my day, I had to use the Macintosh Classics at the newspaper in order to write reports for my classes, and had to do research by calling everyone under the sun instead of a simple Google search. Though my weekends started on Wednesdays too 😉

But what’s good for co-eds is also good for marketers. eROI says that 37 percent of high school and university students prefer texting over all other communication methods, while 26 percent say they like email best. Thus I smell a huge opportunity, if businesses in college towns aren’t already ahead of me….

Because SMS is the best way to send extremely time-sensitive information, it’s the perfect way to draw the hungry hordes after the bars close down. Back in the day, the Burrito Buggy and Late Night Pizza truck nabbed huge business because of their prime location at the six-way crosswalk in Uptown Athens, Ohio. The gyro place and the locally-based subway shop weren’t nearly as crowded, because they were a whole block away from the action.

However, if SMS had been common in those days, these eateries could have put themselves just as much in the forefront of students’ minds as did those buggies. If they were smart, they could have gathered the cell numbers of those who wanted to get sales specials. Then they could have sent an SMS marketing blast offering discounted sandwiches or meals–and do so right at 2 a.m., when bars shut for the night. Nab ’em while they’re hungry and leaving their last watering hole of the evening!

What if your business isn’t right by a party school? Or what if you don’t want drunkards coming into your shop? Then try email marketing. Students who prefer studying or a quiet night at home will probably have their computers on. Thus a business could send messages earlier in the evening, with perhaps a discount off delivered orders. Instead of hitting them right when the munchies hit, you’re catching the attention of those who seem to prefer careful planning in their lives. (I mean, only the most careful planner knows what everyone else does in hindsight: It pays to study at least a little bit during those halcyon college years.)

Now I’m hungry too! I sure could use an SMS or email message promoting a cheap delivered lunch…

Eydie Cubarrubia, Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm

“I’d rather you text me”