Dormify hopes to tap into the $53.5 billion worth of back-to-college spending.


A company called Dormify recently found my daughter on Twitter. Her quest to set up her dorm room and create a comfortable and fashionable little nest had led her to them. As a result of tweeting about her purchases, Dormify got in touch with her and as a result, my daughter is going to be one of their Style Ambassadors. Yes, companies are using young influencers to help spread the word about their brands. So I reached out to learn more about the company.

Dormify is an online-only brand that sells stylish dorm and apartment furnishings and their goal is to provide college students with an arsenal of chic, sophisticated options to style their spaces while at school, where individuality is so important.

They conduct informal focus groups all the time, with friends, customers, and even their own parents and coworkers. Everyone has a different view, but they’ve found their buyers really want their child to have a comfortable space they enjoy, especially for the first time they are spending away from home.

And parents are spending money for that comfort…according to Dormify anywhere from $200-$400 to upwards of $1,000. In fact according to NRF’s 2012 back-to-college survey, parents will be spending $907.22 on back-to-college items — up nearly $100 from last year. And total back-to-college spending is expected to reach $53.5 billion. How crazy is that? I know we contributed our share to that number.

Who is Dormify’s target?
“Dormify currently focuses its marketing efforts on both college/high school kids as well as their parents. In regards to the first group, we focus mostly on high school seniors and college freshman, predominantly females, with an age range of 17–20. As for the second group, the parents of high school/college students, they typically range from 35–55 years of age and are also predominantly female. We’ve noticed that these parents have an elevated involvement in their child’s life and style.

We’ve noticed that the student is the decision maker, but the parent is usually going to be the purchasers. Parents are also more likely to spend on brands they know and trust. With this in mind, our voice and style is more targeted to the students, but our messaging definitely keeps the parent and their needs in mind. We have a heavy focus on outreach to both groups.”

How is Dormify using social media as part of the marketing plan?
“Dormify uses social media to establish a closer relationship with our audience as well as to engage with them on the platforms they are already using by: offering relevant and entertaining content; tips on style and fashion for the dorm room and surrounding college life; promotional offers; sneak peaks at new merchandise; and recommendations and purchasing options for such dorm accessories as bedding, posters, wall decals, decorative pillows, among other items.
With social, it’s all about the personality of the brand and it’s relevancy in the lives of its audience. That is evident across all our channels, from our website and email marketing to the product packaging to the Twitter and Pinterest accounts and Tumblr page. It’s all one voice and very engaging.

Dormify can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Social is not only meant to establish a closer relationship with our current audience but to capture new members of our audience. All summer we focused on establishing a real relationship and having real conversations with rising college freshman shopping for their dorm room.”

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