“Mobile engagement is the gateway to connection and confidence,” says Francis Cairns, founder and CEO of the smartphone application Campus Quad.

In the fall of 2013, Stanford University released this app, which is designed for college students. This mobile communication platform, which is now available for students at the University of California, Berkeley and Duke University, gives students the opportunity engage with their college communities, receive academic tips, and even save some cash. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Campus Quad, however, is that it not only helps students stay connected with their school; it also promotes on-campus businesses.

Campus Quad encourages users to engage with posts in order to obtain discounts, freebies, and more. For example, a Stanford Campus Quad post in early June offered free frozen yogurt to users who commented with their favorite thing about Stanford. Another post asked students to comment with their favorite workout for a Jamba Juice drink voucher. This app offers more than just free food and discounts, however. Through links and visual advertisements, college students can stay up-to-date on everything from athletics to academic advice to all-campus events. The application’s simple, straightforward layout resembles a bulletin board, and students can follow posts from their peers, on-campus organizations, and favorite eateries.

With heavy research and preparation, the creators of Campus Quad knew just how to market this app. Here are some impressive statistics*, according to an infographic on the company’s blog:

  • 53% of students own a smartphone.
  • 65% read articles on mobile news websites or apps.
  • 92% use their smartphones during idle time at work or school.
  • 93% use smartphones while riding in a car or public transportation.

*Quite likely, the percentages have increased, since these statistics were posted in March of 2013.


How does this app relate to your business?

Campus Quad is geared toward college students, so how are these strategies relevant to your own business, which may target consumers of other ages? Here are my personal conclusions, which are applicable to target audiences of all ages.

1)   People love freebies and discounts. Customers often enjoy nothing more than a simple, straightforward way to save some money. Depending on your business, mobile coupons may be ideal for this.

2)   Consumer engagement is a two-way street. People do like to converse—especially if the topic interests them. Answering a simple question or taking part in a poll is no challenge for consumers, and they enjoy providing their own input. By initiating these conversations, you not only engage consumers; you as a marketer may also gain some valuable knowledge about your audience that can help you hone in on their interests and needs for future sales or promotions.

3)   The creators of the app hope to build stronger engagement supporting better academic achievement, higher student satisfaction and loyal alumni later, according to the company website. Though it may seem obvious, setting goals for your marketing plan is crucial. Don’t be afraid to have a strong vision for your company’s future. Remain open-minded and aim to keep your customers engaged with your business.