The Next Adventure: Me, 5 Million College Students – and You by Lori Cohn

With the beautiful fall foliage and crisp bite to the air, it couldn’t be a better time to say … I’m heading back to campus!

Or should I say … more than 700 college campuses? In my new position with Barnes & Noble College, I get to dive deep into the world of college students across the nation. What a fun and energizing place to be!

Connecting powerful brands with the right consumer audience has long been a passion of mine. There could not be a better place to pursue that passion than BNC. As the official retail partner on those 700+ campuses, we have more than access – we have daily interactions with more than 5 million college students. We build meaningful, long-lasting relationships with students (including those coveted Freshmen and Graduating Seniors!), alumni, athletic fans and parents that extend way beyond four years on campus.

We have an incredibly unique position: right in the heart of where real life happens on campus. And, we get to bring our brand partners right along with us.

There are so many opportunities, from tapping into our extensive research platform to uncover trends and behaviors in the Millennial/college student market to getting the latest products into students’ hands and creating buzzworthy events that bring brands to life on campus.

It’s simple. We’re everywhere: in store, at campus events, online, on the field and, most of all, in the conversation.

To continue reading, click here.

Politics on Campus

College students have been credited with moving the needle on important social issues that we’ve faced as a country, and we’re here to keep you informed.

For the past few weeks,  Barnes & Noble College Insights has been doing some polling to find out what college students think about the issues, and how interested they are in this upcoming election.

So, what do college students think about politics?

Unfortunately, not a whole lot:

  • 21% of students are interested in politics in general (very + extremely) versus 49% interested in the 2016 Presidential race
  • 36% of students watched at least some of the Democratic Debate versus 25% watching the 3rd Republican Debate.
  • 49% of students say they “definitely will” vote in the 2016 election


college marketing politics

Black Friday – To Shop or Not to Shop?

The minute Halloween is over, it’s unmistakable: the holiday season is in full swing. In stores and online, the focus is on the festivities to come over the next several months – and the shopping we need to do. We conducted a short national survey regarding plans for the big shopping days after Thanksgiving.

What’s the skinny on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

About one-third of students said that they were likely to head out and brave the crowds on Black Friday. Another 40% said that they were planning to stay home, and exactly 25% said that they were undecided. While women were slightly more likely than men to participate in Black Friday shopping, the difference wasn’t significant.

Surprisingly, students said that they were less inclined to participate in Cyber Monday. Only 25% indicated that they were likely to shop on that day, while 36% are not likely to take advantage of the online deals.

However, a much larger percentage of students are undecided about their plans for Cyber Monday compared to Black Friday – almost 40%. One thing is for sure, there still may be plenty of opportunity for retailers to sway these students.

We’ll be watching to see how Black Friday and Cyber Monday play out this year – among this young generation of college student shoppers and beyond. More to come on holiday shopping insights!

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Party?!

Hunter Boots and Sakroots were just 2 brands that took advantage of sponsoring our New Student VIP Nights.

And really, who doesn’t love a good party?!   Our New Student VIP Nights are an amazing opportunity for students to engage with & learn about their on-campus support system and have a fabulous time.

“Our booksellers said they’d never experienced anything like it in this building,” Claps reports. “The students loved the photo booth and lined up for free coffee. The music was excellent — people were literally dancing in the store. It was a really positive vibe.”

What’s the Best Way to Introduce New Students to Campus? Throw a Party. – Next

Meet Your New College Marketing Expert!

Yes, we are experts in the college marketing arena, but outside of the office we are also a former NCAA gymnast, a mother of twin boys, a fine wine connoisseur, a crafting enthusiast, a former college entrepreneur, and an amateur chef-in-the-making.

This month we welcomed the newest team member to get  “in the trenches” with us – Welcome Lori Cohn, Head of Brand Partnership Sales!  

What is your role at Barnes & Noble College Marketing?  I’m the new Head of Brand Partnership Sales.  I’m really excited to be working with brands, connecting them to the millennial college market.

How do you feel BNCM is different from other advertising firms in the millennial marketing industry? What sets us apart?  BNCM has a completely unique offering versus other Millennial Marketing/Advertising firms in the industry.  As the official retail partner on over 700 college campuses, BNCM has the direct access, interaction and relationships that brands need in order to connect with over 5 Million college students.

Additionally, BNCM reaches these students through all their social channels and has direct access to them for up to the minute Market Research that our brand partners can tap into at any time. This is what truly sets BNCM apart in the industry.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge and/or opportunity for brands that want to reach and engage with the millennial audience?  Increasing awareness and trial while establishing brand loyalty with this audience is the biggest opportunity for brands. 

While in college, the brand aperture is wide open and it is a time when students are willing to experiment with new brands and ultimately become brand loyal.  It is a cost effective way to gain new/loyal customers, since it will be very expensive to try and convert them, once they graduate and enter the working world with pre-established brand preferences. 

What is your alma mater?  Syracuse University

What was your major and how did you get to BNCM?  I majored in Consumer Studies and my desire to leverage my relationship-building expertise, communication skills, and proven track record of over-delivering successful sales results got me to BNCM as Head of Brand Partnership Sales.  I read a lot about the company online and was introduced to the Management team through two industry friends.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?  I always wanted to be a busy Ad Executive at a very creative agency.  I interned at an Ad Agency in Syracuse, NY and in NYC (during the summer after Junior year), while in college.

What is your favorite college memory?  Sorority rush was my favorite college memory.  I met some of my best friends during this process and to this day we are all still close.

What is your favorite past time/hobby?  My favorite past time is helping others.  Together with 6 NJ friends and their children, we founded the NJKidsCare Chapter of Blessings in a Backpack.  We adopted the Greater Brunswick Charter School in New Brunswick, NJ and raised enough money to feed more than 170 students in need for 38 weekends throughout the school year for three years. 

I love when my two daughters and I raise money (lemonade stands are our favorite), collect clothing donations and extra food for the school food pantry.  We even put together and deliver complete Thanksgiving meals for two school families, who will have no food for the holiday.  It will always be an important part of our lives and giving back to this special school is by far one of my favorite past-times.  It actually warms my heart.

As a whole, the Barnes & Noble College Marketing team brings a wide range of industry knowledge and job experience to the table. Our ultimate objective is to give our partners direct access to college students, so they can begin to build a successful, long term relationship with their Millennial customers.

Yes, we are the college marketing experts, but we are so much more!


An Inside Look at BNC Research

Research expert Steve McSurvey (OOPS, McSpiritt!)  talks about the opportunities that might exist in analyzing Big Data, the importance of maintaining genuine customer conversations, and developing meaningful student surveys — five minutes at a time.  

Steve joined Barnes & Noble College last year and is an integral part of the College Marketing team.  From his  incredible analytics skills, dry wit, and fantastic dance moves, Steve makes research fun.

[…] Read the full Post “5 Minutes with Steve McSpiritt” on Next

Halloween on Campus: Costumes, Candy and All Things Creepy

As we get closer to Halloween, children aren’t the only ones contributing to the growing excitement in the air – more and more adults are getting into the spirit of the spooky season. Barnes & Noble College conducted a short survey of college students nationwide for a snapshot of how they plan to celebrate in 2015.

What we found: students are quite a festive bunch. While the most popular activity is a bit of a no-brainer – more than three-fourths will be eating candy – more than half of students also plan to wear a costume and attend a party. And, nearly as many will decorate their rooms and/or common spaces for the holiday.

Here’s how the most popular activities broke down:

* Eat candy 77%

* Attend a party 62%

* Wear a costume 62%

* Decorate a room/dorm 49%

* Go pumpkin-picking 38%

* Trick-or-treat 23%

Clearly, those displays at the grocery store are enticing more than children. In terms of the most popular treats, chocolate still leads the pack – 85% of students told us it’s one of their favorite Halloween treats. Gummy candy (51%), sour candy (44%) and hard candy (31%) rounded out the top four.

However, we did see a few differences between the genders. While chocolate reigns as the most popular overall, women ranked it higher than men. And the men ranked gummy and sour candy higher than women.

To continue reading about Halloween on Campus, click here.