YOUniversity REVIEWS YOU TRUST BY FRIENDS ON CAMPUS
presented by: MARGARET BENOIT, KELLY FISHBACK, ELISE SHERMAN, & RACHAEL TRAVERS
Table of Contents The Problem & Solution Target Market Competition Business Model Digital Development Search Marketing Plan Social Media Plan Other Promotions Budget Meet the Team
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Ithaca College â€˘ Ithaca, New York
The Problem? Going to college can be overwhelming. On average, students are 90 minutes away from home, and are alone to take care of themselves for the first time. Entering a new city as a young person can be difficult and scary. There is a slight chance that a student’s parents or family members are familiar with the town, but this is not always the case. Students, especially freshmen, are left to figure out the town and what it has to offer almost blindly. While there are review websites online that students can look into, they are hard to trust. As informed consumers of the digital age, students are skeptical of the reviews that are posted online. For all they know, companies have used their employees to write favorable reviews. So, what’s a student to do? Things are bound to happen while at college that you may need to veer off campus to do or fix. For example, the check engine light may come on in your car and you need to see a mechanic. Or, maybe you’re due for a haircut. Perhaps, after a long week, you want to treat yourself and go get your nails done. Who are you to trust? Where can you go that you know your peers at school have had good experiences at? Where should you avoid?
The Solution. To resolve these problems, we have developed YOUniversity. It is a website and mobile app where students - and only students can review local stores or retailers in their college town. While everyone can read the reviews on YOUniversity, not everyone can write them. In order to review a business, you must register with your “.edu” email address to YOUniversity. This will ensure to those looking at reviews on the website that their peers at their college or university have written the reviews, and not someone working for that specific business. Students are more likely to listen to their peers than to random strangers on the Internet as they are more trustworthy and most likely have the same needs and wants that the student does. Reviews will be made on a sliding scale according to categories that correspond with the business. Reviewers can post pictures as well that they have taken at the business to give readers a better feel for the experience. There will also be a Twitter plug-in running along the side of every business review showing people’s latest Tweets about the business. While these Tweets won’t all be by students, it will give even better insight into the company. The name we developed for our website is “YOUniversity.” It highlights “you” in “university” to emphasize the fact that the students will be the ones reviewing all of the businesses in their university or college town.
Target Market savvy college students who like to share Primary Audience:Tech their opinions and explore new places.
She is an incoming freshman at Iona College. Being close to NYC is new and exciting for Mary because she is originally from the Midwest. When she gets to college, Mary wants to find local venues to see musicians and meet some of her peers. She turns to YOUniversity for reviews on underage local hotspots with live music.
He is a junior at Boston College. As an upperclassman, he knows the best eats and hangouts in the city. However he doesnâ€™t know of a trusty mechanic and is in dire need of an oil change. Not wanting to get jipped, Joey turns to YOUniversity to locate a trustworthy and affordable mechanic to fix up his beloved red Mustang.
t Di e e M
She is a senior at Georgetown University. Diana has had persistent problems with her landlord all year. Upon moving out, her landlord refused to refund her security deposit without rationale. Diana wants to warn her classmates of her experience so she posts a review to YOUniversity advising fellow students of her troubles.
Local business that depend on college students for business. Since their businesses will be featured and rated on the YOUniversity website, many will want to actively manage their presence on the site. Although business owners and employees cannot contribute to content, they will be permitted to advertise on the website.
YOUNIVERSITY has three competitors: Yelp, Angie’s List, and CO Everywhere. The characteristics and technical components of these review websites/applications are both similar to and different from YOUniversity’s business model, which creates several advantages and challenges for the start-up.
• Well-established and free • Location services, geotagging, and search component allow users to find the best places to eat, shop, drink, relax, and play • Reviews of every sort • ‘Yelp Deals’ • • • •
Well-established Anonymous reviews prohibited Free for businesses Exclusive deals from Angie’s toprated businesses
• Global and free • Screenshots of personal experiences • Follow social activity in a location by drawing with finger on map • Interface integrated with social media
• Skepticism about phony reviews • Steep charge for business advertisements and sponsored search results
• User membership fee • Limited reviews—service focused—roofers, plumbers, house cleaners, dentists, etc.
• New and unfamiliar • Lack of reviews—more experience-based
Business Model YOUniversity will be part of the Wikinomics era, which stresses collaboration and contribution. It will be a digital community that is dependent on users who post reviews and share their experiences, which is a peering business model. YOUniversity will participate in the full-fledge free economy and provide consumers with what they demandâ€”
Building Revenue: Advertising
unlimited access to our digital platform for no charge. As a pure play company, YOUniversity pays virtually nothing to distribute content to users. This pricing model, zero marginal cost, is the backbone of our business model and allows us to provide our service at no charge.
To compensate for YOUniversityâ€™s free service we will utilize the business-advertising model. This will allow us to generate revenue without charging users. Our digital service will attract an active community that advertisers will be eager to reach. These clients will have the ability to target consumers based on personal interests and geographic location, which we will track using a Customer Relationship Management system. Our primary target audience for advertisers will be local businesses and our secondary target audience will be national businesses with a presence in college communities. YOUniversity will offer different ad formats so clients have the opportunity to develop campaigns that are specific to their needs. We will also work closely with our clients to roll out campaign strategies that are on budget. This will be supported using cost-per-impression and cost-per-click measurements.
Types of Ads Mobile App Website web banner ads web banner ads web poster ads rich media ads interstitials ads interstitial ads classified ads classified ads
Digital Development & Functionality The YOUniversity website and mobile application will feature 9 tabs that will display reviews and content for the following categories: Restaurants, Entertainment, Beauty, Shopping, Fitness, Healthcare, Realty, Auto and Home Improvement. Users will be able to write reviews for each category. Reviews will be made on a sliding scale according to the categories that correspond with the business. Reviewers will have the capability to post pictures that they have taken at the business to give readers an insider look at their experience. A Twitter and Facebook plug-in will be embedded into the website and mobile application. Tweets will appear along the side of every business review displaying student’s latest Tweets about their experiences. On the mobile application and website, we will also integrate different social media platforms on to YOUniversity’s platform. When students sign-up for the mobile application, they will have the option of allowing YOUniversity to post their content. If granted approval, we will aggregate their posts, pins, and Tweets about their college’s area and post it to that respective YOUniversity page. For example, if an Ithaca College student wanted to see reviews for The Ale House, they would search The Ale House’s page where they would find reviews, photos and Tweets from users experiences. This will allow students to get a better picture of what the restaurant atmosphere is like.
Business Logistics To launch YOUniversity, we will need to: 1. License all fonts used (Simply*Glamorous and Sanchez) 2. Register our domain name, www.YOUniversity.com, which is currently available. 3. Design an intuitive website 4. Design a mobile optimized site and application for students on-the-go We plan to launch our business in the following college towns: • Boston, MA • Ithaca, NY • NYC • Philadelphia, PA • Washington, DC
Digital Development & Functionality Website Development Plan strategy scope
Our overall goal is to drive website traffic by creating a platform for college students that is easy to use, encourages interaction, and offers meaningful information.
To ensure that the website is easy to use, we will incorporate a number of features, including saving student’s login information and making it easy to connect with other social media platforms. It will also be important to keep the website’s information authentic, so we will require all members to have a .edu email address to create an exclusive community among students.
To make sure information is relevant, the landing page will ask users for their hometown (see landing page picture). From this landing page, users will be directed to their city’s homepage, which will show what is trending (see homepage picture). From there, they will be able to select what industry they are interested in reviewing or learning about. The natural progression between pages will be Homepage < City < Category < Business.
We want to make it easy for users to contribute, so there will be a search bar at the top right corner, where they can search for categories and specific business. On each business’s page, there will be links directing students to similar businesses and to the business’ social platforms (show organization specific page).
The website will be visually appealing with our logo and brand colors present throughout the entire website to create a strong brand presence. Each page will facilitate social interactions by encouraging users to post. This will help create a sense of community.
Digital Development & Functionality 1
Website Development Plan
Digital Development & Functionality Mobile Strategy YOUniversity will function as both a website and mobile application, but will push to have a larger presence on mobile devices (smart phones and tablets). The YOUniversity mobile application will utilize mobile services such as mobile coupons, location services and search. YOUniversity, in partnership with local companies, will offer coupons/deals to students in major college towns where YOUniversity will launch including Boston, Ithaca, NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. The application will target social and curious users who want to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest in their college town. Location services and geotagging will provide YOUniversity users with reviews of shops, restaurants, and service providers based on proximity, but will also offer a search component to explore new areas.
Organic Marketing Tactics
We will index YOUniversity with major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, to ensure our website appears when consumers search for our company or our service.In order to optimize traffic to our website we will create relevant title tags, meta tags, site content, headlines, and link to other popular websites. The title tag is a relevant and concise description of our company that appears at the top of YOUniversity’s browser. It will help to improve search results for Youniversity. YOUniversity Title Tag:
Google Display: YOUniversity www.YOUniversity.com/ Reviews by college students. A website and mobile application for college students to discover trusted local businesses and deals! In order to optimize search ranking we will create headlines with highly searched keywords that are relevant to our consumers.We will improve search results for YOUniversity by using meta tags that are embedded into the HTML source code. These tags will help search engines identify our website when consumers are searching for relevant information. YOUniversity Meta Tag: <meta name=“description” content= “Reviews you trust by friends on campus” >
Search Marketing Plan Paid Marketing Tactics
To improve the ranking of our website and build traffic we will design a Google paid search program using Google AdWords. We will bid on keywords that are highly searched and relevant to Youniversity. These general words will build awareness and drive traffic to the site. To increase popularity, help drive traffic and build credibility we will pay companies with high-traffic websites to link to YOUniversity’s website such as Her Campus, Thought Catalog and Total Frat Move.
Keywords: Review website, review websites, local companies, college town, student review, local reviews, student reviews, college towns, youniversity, college students 11
Social Media Plan Our target market actively uses social media, so we will need to supplement our website and mobile application with an effective use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. YOUniversity plans to utilize these platforms to promote our brand and to create and maintain relationships with users. While our competition uses social media sparsely to educate users about their corporate culture, we will use a ‘student voice’ to always display content that is relevant for students. In addition to maintaining our own platforms, YOUnviersty will also facilitate the transfer of information from our site to our users’ social media pages, so they can share their opinions and rankings from our site. On Pinterest, we will create separate boards for each city we’re currently in, as well as boards for Style Tips, College Hacks, and College Quotes. These boards will help grow our users’ interaction with our brand.
YOUniversity's Twitter page will be used to communicate with our followers, showcase popular businesses, and respond to customer service questions. To start conversations, we will reach out to users that are Tweeting about local businesses, encouraging them to rate them on our website. We will also engage with any user that Tweets to or about #YOUniveristy.
Social Media Plan The YOUniversity Instagram page will be used to show a school’s local culture. Every other Tuesday, we will launch #TakeoverTuesday, where a student will ‘hijack’ the company Instagram to show his or her favorite places around campus. This program will start with our Brand Ambassadors, but once interest grows, will be open to the general public. Additionally, our Instagram page will feature relevant posts for students, like encouraging quotes around midterm times or pictures of our users.
While many college students are moving away from Facebook, the platform is still extremely relevant, especially for students looking for a large amount of information. To encourage user interaction, we will post questions and polls about the college experience. To create a sense of community, we will post featured businesses so students will feel ownership of their town. Although the Facebook page’s main purpose is to create an interactive experience with the audience, we will also use the page to respond to all questions or complaints, as well as to drive users to the website and to download the mobile app.
Social Media Plan Sponsored Social Media Posts We will purchase sponsored posts on Facebook and Twitter to build awareness and reach our target market in their natural environment. These posts will help drive traffic to YOUniversityâ€™s website. Sponsored Page Likes: These advertisements will show consumers who of their friends have liked YOUniversity on Facebook. This will drive users to our page.
Sponsored Clicks to Website: These advertisements will be shown on the side of usersâ€™ Facebook page to drive users to our website. 14
Promoted Tweets: We will pay for two promoted Tweets, one in September and one in January. These Tweets will be shown to users in our target cities and will have promotional information driving users to check out our Twitter page.
Other Promotional Strategies We will hire two brand ambassadors at each of the following schools in our target market: Boston, MA: Boston University & Emerson College Ithaca, NY: Ithaca College & Cornell University NYC: NYU & Columbia Philadelphia, PA: UPENN & Drexel Washington, DC: Georgetown University & American University
The brand ambassadors will be responsible for promoting the brand to their friends and classmates through social media posts and the following giveaways at popular school events: Branded Folders: Each representative will receive 125 folders at the beginning of each semester to give away to classmates.
Bottle Openers: Each representative will receive 250 bottle openers at the beginning of each semester to give away to classmates.
Other Promotional Strategies Tiered Giveaways
To encourage user participation, we will have a tiered giveaway program based on points.
Action Points post a review 1 point refer a friend 10 points add a business 25 points
Tumblers Tumblers will be awarded to the first 5,000 people who write 5 reviews starting on September 15th and and the first 5,000 people who write 5 reviews starting on January 15th. Neoprene Laptop Cases will be awarded to the first 250 people to earn 100 points between September 1st and December 30th and to the first 250 people who earn 100 points between January 1st and April 30th. If no one reaches 100 points at this time, the cases will be awarded to the next highest earners. $25 Gift Cards to Local Businesses will be awarded to the top two point earners per month at each school (excluding the months of June and July). These gift cards will be to the top rated restaurants in the area for that month. 16
Other Promotional Strategies Events & Advertisements
We would like to pair up with student organizations and events, especially those designed for first year students, to introduce them to YOUniversity. Ideally our Brand Ambassadors will attend these events, but we would also like to dedicate money to sponsor events that our Brand Ambassador’s suggest. Some prospective sponsor opportunities include: • Relay for Life • Student Organization Banquets • Fundraisers for Causes
Advertisements in College Newspapers: We will purchase half page, full color advertisements at each college’s newspapers. Each advertisement will run for the first two weeks the students are back on campus in January and for the first three weeks when students return from summer break.
Ads in College Newspapers College
post a review 1 point American University Washington, D.C. refer a friend 10 points Boston University Boston, MA Columbia University New York, add a business 25 pointsNY Cornell University Ithaca, NY Drexel University Philadelphia, PA Emerson College Boston, MA Georgetown University Washington, D.C. Ithaca College Ithaca, NY New York University New York, NY University of Penn. Philadelphia, PA
Newspaper The Eagle The Daily Free Press The Columbia Chronicle Cornell Daily Sun The Triangle The Berkeley Beacon The Hoya The Ithacan Washington Square News The Daily Pennsylvanian
Cost Per Unit
CTR: 3.08% CPC: $0.20
Facebook Sponsored Page Likes: $10/day Facebook Clicks to Website: $10/day Promoted Tweets: $2,500
Facebook: 26 weeks
$285/half page, full color
5 weeks (3 in Sept. and 2 in Jan.)
$25 Gift Cards
2 hours x 40 weeks @ 10 colleges
$0.62/folder+$10 startup cost
Bottle Openers $0.18
Meet the Team Margaret is a first-semester senior Integrated Marketing Communications major with a minor in Economics. On campus she is Co-Survivorship Chair of College’s Against Cancer and spends much of her time fundraising and planning for American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Margaret is interning at Global Content Partners this summer and has exciting plans to finish her final semester at the ICNYC Program where she hopes to intern with a marketing or PR firm. Upon graduation, she would like to start a career in cause marketing or lifestyle brand marketing of the East Coast.
Kelly is a junior Integrated Marketing Communications major with psychology and honors minors at Ithaca College. She is a member of the Ithaca College Bomber’s varsity tennis team, and represents her team on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. When she is not studying or playing tennis, Kelly enjoys catching up on dramas like True Detective or Breaking Bad, and reading the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Kelly will embark on her first internship this summer as an copywriter for Martino Flynn, located in Rochester, NY. After graduating, she plans on working in the advertising field in Boston or New York City.
Meet the Team Elise is a senior in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at Ithaca College. She also has a minor in Legal Studies, but is focusing on perusing a career in advertising or marketing. As a member of the American Advertising Federation and Ithaca Varsity Women’s Soccer Team, Elise is always hard at work. Born and raised in Seattle she considers herself to be the perfect combination of east and west coast. During her off time, Elise can be found skiing, snowboarding or relaxing on the beach.
Rachael is graduating in May 2014 from Ithaca College with a B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications with minors in legal studies, sports students, and communication management and design. In the past four years, she has held a variety of professional positions ranging from an in-house marketing intern for a Fortune 500 technology company to the planner for all events at Ithaca College’s School of Business to an on-site manager of hospitality for a golf company in Jamaica and the West Indies. From her professional experience, Rachael hopes to work the sports sector in either public relations or event management.
Rachael Travers 20
Published on May 23, 2014
A collaborative web business concept and Internet marketing plan for theoretical pure play business 'YOUniversity' from Spring 2014.