Reaching Students Through Social to Sell Out the Stadium

July 11, 2018 Jackie Lozaw

As the new-comer and intern for the Mogo Team, I’m still memorizing all the acronyms used effortlessly in the office. There is one thing, however, that did not require much study: the evident benefit of digital media marketing for the college kid demographic. According to the Pew Research Center, 86% of undergrads use social media. As a member of this target audience, it’s a hardly surprising statistic.

At Gonzaga, our student-run Kennel Board organizes the ticket distributions and spirit events for athletic teams. The Board’s work led Gonzaga’s McCarthey Athletic Center to be ranked #8 in the national list of Most Daunting College Basketball Arenas for Visiting Teams (Bleacher Report). While school spirit is a major part of #zagnation, digital media plays a huge part in maintaining the packed student section. To get a deeper understanding of the effective tactics the Kennel Board employs, I spoke with Events Coordinator Ann Monroe, who shared her “3 U’s of Digital.”

UTILIZE social media

We know students are on social (*hint* see stat above), so naturally, that’s where the Kennel Board starts with their promotion strategy. “We mostly appeal to students, so Twitter and Snapchat are where we need to be,” says Monroe, specifying two social platforms. Baylor University reported the average student spends 8 to 10 hours on their phone each day, the majority of which is spent online. This makes it the perfect place to spread awareness for upcoming games and events, allowing for “urgency and updates” that consistently reach their fan base.

UPDATES on demand

Social media helps reach thousands within minutes to move last minute ticket sales. Additionally,  there’s an opportunity for quick feedback through re-tweets and responses by students. This engagement confirms news is being received rather than relying on a poster to do the job. There are few marketing platforms that guarantee last minute news to reach such a large audience, but Monroe recognizes that in understanding the intended student audience, social media keeps it “super simple.”

URGENCY & quick response

Monroe further explains one of social media’s greatest benefits is its ability to respond to urgency. During the 2017 March Madness Season, the men’s basketball team made it to the National Championship. Within hours of the Elite Eight victory, Kennel Board coordinated and communicated ticket sales to the entire student body through email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While the opposing team had trouble filling their student section for the Final Four and Championship games, Gonzaga’s section was filled to capacity, forcing Zags to buy tickets outside of the student section.

While Monroe attributes a fair amount of their success to the prominent school spirit and unity of the Zags, she also notes the value of digital media for marketing events and tickets. Not only does it allow for quick updates, urgent responses, and quantitative feedback, this is where college kids spend a ton of their waking hours. It meets students where they are, instead of making them find you–and that’s invaluable to marketers.

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