It’s estimated that nine million students across the United States are involved in a fraternity or sorority organization at their college, representing a sizeable portion of the overall American student body. These groups are bonded by their shared experience as college students (many of whom are living away from home for the first time) and will make connections that will last through their entire college careers and into their working lives. Marketing to college students in these specific groups requires an understanding of how these students differ from the non-Greek student body. These differences must be taken into consideration before a plan is drawn up and a marketing campaign can be launched.

About Sororities

Sororities are all-female Greek organizations. The majority of them are managed under the National Panhellenic Conference. When choosing a college, the Greek presence on campus is often a big factor in many students’ decisions. Greek organizations, including sororities, are popular in college because of the bonds they forge between members. Many students also enjoy participating in community service and philanthropy events, attending parties and social events, and studying with members of their group – all of which offer excellent opportunities for brands to present their marketing.

Sorority chapters can be found on over 670 different campuses across the US. A single college institution could be home to as many as 15 different sororities, each of which is managed exclusively by students. These organizations are run as businesses, some of which handle budgets from $500,000 to $2,000,000. Due to the sheer number of competing sororities, these groups must continually market themselves to new students, in order to remain active.

Each pledged member of the sorority has to pay their dues, both in traditional rituals and in actual cash. Financial dues for a single semester can be more than a $1000 for some chapters, however, this doesn’t include ancillary costs such as seasonal t-shirts, tickets to social events and membership merchandise. Due to the scale of events that these chapters can run, the majority of dues is contributed towards national organizational insurance. The financial risks that each sorority takes on have to be offset by membership dues, but they’re always looking for alternative sources of income, which makes them ideal partners for marketing.

Whilst sorority culture has come under fire in recent years due to increased worries over dangerous hazing rituals, chapters remain an integral part of the college experience for millions across the country. Due to the naturally hierarchical nature of sorority life, members are heavily influenced by their peers. Students assuming leadership roles are given the responsibility of managing the chapter, which naturally leads to an opportunity for brands to deliver marketing campaigns through each sorority.

Sorority brand ambassador programs

Sororities are comprised of women who are often driven to succeed in both their studies and within their chapter. Passionate and enthusiastic, these young people make for excellent brand ambassadors who can reach out to their fellow sisters and share your brand’s product or promotion. In order for this to work, however, it’s important that you conduct the necessary research to ensure that what you’re offering will be of interest to this particular group. Not all sororities are created equal. Each sorority has its own unique values, social culture, and code of conduct. Understanding what makes each sorority tick is key to successfully delivering your marketing proposition.

Sorority Events Marketing

Each college semester is packed with events that keep sorority sisters busy throughout the year, these events offer plenty of opportunities for savvy brands to promote their products if they can properly time and present their campaign. Marketing at these major social events is not a new concept, so the challenge for businesses is to find a way to differentiate themselves from the competition. Brands should focus on what makes their offer or product particularly resonant for these sorority sisters and how they can best make their service stand out from the crowd.

Many of these events are organized months ahead of schedule, which gives brands plenty of time to properly research their audiences and create campaigns that not only speak to sorority chapters but deliver a concise marketing message that answers their needs in a time-sensitive fashion. For example, sorority recruitment, also known as ‘rush’ occurs at different times of ear depending on the college. Knowing when a college’s rush takes place gives brands an opportunity to plan ahead and deliver marketing that takes advantage of this heightened social interaction.

Sorority Marketing Promotions

Members of sororities are often the most socially active students on campus. These students generate great word of mouth advertising for a cause, a fraternity or sorority philanthropy event or an upcoming house party. For brands geared toward college students, a sorority corporate sponsorship may be a great opportunity to promote your brand.

Promotions of any sort prove more successful when there is a memorable and worthwhile experience that is tied in and associated with the sample or trial experience. In this endeavor, a young and open-minded core audience is in a low-key, relaxed college environment with their guard down while open-minded to have a good time. It is a social setting that involves their close friends and members of both sexes. Marketing materials and sampling are freely shared and talked about, often being used as ice-breaker conversation starters that initiate dialogue between men and women who are at an on or off-campus party.

To find out how we can help you with planning a sorority marketing campaign, get in touch using the contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can call us on (212) 386-7617.

Bryan Carbone has over 20 years experience in college media, advertising and Out-of-Home media. Having established one of the country’s most innovative college marketing agencies in the U.S., working with more than 4,000 universities, Bryan has developed college targeted campaigns for Fortune 500 companies such as Clinique, P&G, Bare Minerals, Luxottica, as well as The USMC and Peace Corps and many more.

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