How to market to students and youths in Cameroon/Africa

Students and Youths Marketing

Cameroon has a very youth full population; over 65 % of Cameroon population is below 35 years. And majority of the youths fall under the student category, 18-24 years old, making it difficult to market products and services in Cameroon without targeting the youths or student population.

According latest statistics from the CIA World Factbook , 2014 estimates, and Cameroon age structure is divided as follows;

Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.9% (male 5,001,984/female 4,927,122)
15-24 years: 19.6% (male 2,286,244/female 2,257,231)
25-54 years: 30.4% (male 3,529,203/female 3,491,125)
55-64 years: 3.9% (male 445,181/female 468,388)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 337,490/female 386,740) (2014 est.)

Marketing and promoting to students and youths in Cameroon is particularly challenging because they usually fall under the low income bracket, depends on their parents and very price sensitive and skeptical as far as their purchasing decisions are concern.

However students in Cameroon have needs that must be met and any company who is able of studying the student consumer behavior will reap great benefits. These students later get into the work force and start making more income, they will probably be loyal to the brands they were expose to while studying.

Various type of companies in Cameroon and abroad depend on the student population to meet up their financial target. Job search agencies, local and international educational institutions, telecommunication companies, e-commerce shops, clothing and cosmetic companies all benefits greatly on the student population in Cameroon/Africa.

Traditional form of advertisement such as TV, Radio and billboard campaigns might be effective to target students but other channels are more efficient since many students today spent most of their time studying, socializing and on social media rather than listening to mainstream radio or watching TV.

Below are some of the techniques to target Cameroon youths and student population.

Festivals and games: once every year University games are organized in Cameroon. These bring several hundred of university students and youths from all over Cameroon together. This is a valuable opportunity to market your products and services to students. Taking part in the organization of this event, setting an award prize for the best soccer/football player for example, offer a scholarship to study in a local university or other cash prices or promotional items  such as pens, books etc, will create instant brand awareness and provoke word of mouth which can easily spread throughout university campuses. What is more interesting is the fact that these events are covered by local media and bloggers and professional and amateur videos uploaded on YouTube and shared on social media. This practically the oldest trick in the book to gain exposure at a low cost.

Student clubs and associations: advertising your product or services directly to student associations by sponsoring some of their events and parties or simply help with their running cost, is a very effective and efficient way to associate your brands with students in Cameroon. A small monthly budget of $150-$600 can make a difference with a lasting effect.

Flyers and Catalog distribution on campus and student hostels: it is important to target Cameroonian students where they spend most of their time. Poster placement, well designed catalogs and leaflets distributed on campus and around student hostels put you in direct contact with your audience. This is simple and cost effective to pass your marketing message.

Student Newspaper and Radio stations: sponsor the student paper publication or radio program. Place and ad on a student newspaper paper or radio station and you can be sure to reach a particular group of students at a low cost as compare to other form of advertisement used to target Cameroonian students or youths.

Online marketing: many students and youths spent part of their time on social media and surfing online. Understanding student online behavior, identifying and advertising on the sites they spent more time on such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google and other local news websites and job portals visited by students will help you stand out. Create innovative ways to engage students on social media, give out coupons other promotional items online. Encourage them to visit your website and share your page.

Through school authorities: School authorities have students’ information and know better on how to contact them. Companies who can offer a valuable service to students such as a scholarship, can contact relevant authorities and package their message and marketing material together with their gift and present it during a particular ceremony such as the end of year graduation ceremony were groups of graduating students in all departments and their families come together. Depending on your product offering a leaflet can be distributed to all invitees, emails can be sent to all graduating students and you can also add your services as part of the admission package, for future students such as a free telephone sim card, call credit, restaurant coupon etc.

Use students to market to students: most students need part time jobs to supplement their income. Students understand themselves better. Use students to promote your products and services to their friends and family on and off campus.

This is not an exhaustive list on how to market and promote your products and services to students and youths in Cameroon but it will sure get you started.

Note

Advertising in to students in Cameroon is relatively cheap as compared to other countries. Companies willing to take advantage of this will eventually realize an increase in sales of their products and services in Cameroon.

Denis Wung is the Marketing manager of A54 Marketing Group.A54 offers a one-stop shop solution to small and medium size companies who want to market their products and services in Cameroon. Email: denis@a54marketinggroup.com. Website: www.a54marketinggroup.com

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