Barnes & Noble College is leading the way in understanding and shaping today’s college student experience. Through our research efforts and Barnes & Noble College Insightssm platform, we build a deeper understanding of the thinking, behaviors and expectations of current and future college students. Building on our foundation of insights, we are thrilled to announce that Jennilyn Marcus has joined Barnes & Noble College as Strategy & Insights Lead. With a solid track record of consumer research experience at Toys R Us, MTV, and MetLife, she will be instrumental in advancing our understanding of and engagement with the college marketplace. When we first met with Jennilyn, we were immediately impressed with her can-do collaborative spirit, her strong consumer insights instincts and her tremendous energy! Here’s what Jennilyn had to say about her new role and her philosophy on consumer insights Can you tell us about your new role as Strategy & Insights Lead? I will be responsible for leading Barnes & Noble College’s consumer insights and continuing to understand our college students, alumni, parents, and faculty from every possible perspective! This will inform the products and services we provide across 780+ college campuses and will provide unmatched customer insights to our university partners and advertising clients to help them optimize their marketing strategies. Why Barnes & Noble College? I’m excited to bring passion and new ideas in researching and engaging with Millennials and Gen Z. Barnes & Noble College has such great opportunities to influence and impact the lives of the students they serve and I want to help drive that. Plus, being able to immerse myself into this audience brings back great college memories for me at Rutgers University where I majored in Psychology and minored in Biological Sciences. What’s the main value Barnes & Noble College Insights offers to its brand partners? Giving partners unmatched access to deep insights into the college population is invaluable. The ability to authentically understand these students – and the generation overall – will not only help brands resonate among them at this stage in their lives, but will lay the groundwork for long-term relationships with them. Brands engaging with these students at this time – and through our insights, can ensure that these engagements are as strong and meaningful as possible. What does your experience tell you that students are looking for in their interaction with brands? Students are looking for brands to be authentic – do I think you’re relatable and honest and not just trying to push products? Just as important, they want accessibility – can I reach you anywhere, anytime, in the way that I prefer? Last is accountability – if I have a problem, can you help me? What’s the best advice you would give to brand managers looking to connect with the Gen Z college student? They need to understand Gen Z and know that this group is vastly different from Millennials – from how they view brands and their shopping habits, as well as their attitudes towards money, school and careers. Gen Zers challenge brands around relevance and differentiation: Do you offer something meaningful to me, and why should I get it from you instead of someone else? It’s not enough to just get the basics right, for brands to thrive, they must continually innovate because Gen Z is faced with so many options. What is there about today’s college experience that makes you say ‘oh, I wish I could be a student again’? It’s the omnipresence of social media and technology, which of course go hand-in-hand. The enhanced discovery of things like events and interests, easier connections with other students, more “real-time” awareness of breaking events, and the ability to share my college experience with others is so exciting. What is something nobody would ever guess about you? I’ve been playing piano since I was in the 1st grade, but my first piano teacher turned me down at first because my feet couldn’t touch the pedals! I’m happy she gave me another chance – It’s one of my favorite things to do and I play almost every day. I even play a little bit of guitar, but my dream instrument to play would be the drums! Jennilyn can help your brand better understand millions of students, parents and alumni. Contact Us to learn more about our full-service research capabilities and how to use them to shape your strategies and increase marketing effectiveness.
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