BEDMINSTER, NJ — As part of its online marketing strategy Verizon Wireless today announced strategic marketing partnerships with Student Advantage, VarsityBooks.com and GoTo, to increase its brand exposure among young consumers and generate traffic to its new FREE  TLK Web site.
Some 80 percent of college students label cell phones as "in" on campus, according to Student Monitor. By increasing its marketing presence on the Web and teaming with proven online marketing partners, Verizon Wireless is capitalizing on the annual fall spending season. Back-to-school spending averages $5,423 per family and more than half of the consumers use the Web to find the products and services they will buy, according to a Myvesta & Capital One Financial report.
"After seeing sales through our online store triple since the overhaul of the site earlier this year, we recognize the benefits of an aggressive online strategy that is relevant to our target market- we knew we couldn't keep our fingers crossed waiting for Web site traffic. By partnering with the industry's leading late teen and young adult Web sites, we've developed mutually beneficial relationships to provide services catered to that market," said John Stratton, Verizon Wireless vice president and chief marketing officer. "These partnerships are the latest in a series of marketing efforts targeted to the late teen and young adult market. The alliances create a unique opportunity for Verizon Wireless to reach new customers in this exploding market segment."
As part of these relationships, Verizon Wireless will conduct brand-building and promotional campaigns through email blasts with Student Advantage and VarsityBooks.com members who have signed up to receive special offers. Exclusive HTML email offers targeted to the members of these sites will direct high potential customers to Verizon Wireless' Online Store by clicking through the email.
The offers will be tested and the results will be measured to ultimately get the highest click-through rate. Verizon Wireless will also gain visibility with this powerful consumer group through banner ads, search placements and co-sponsored online promotions. By advertising with GoTo, the leader in Pay For Performance search, Verizon Wireless will enjoy high visibility among relevant searches conducted across GoTo's affiliate network of tens of thousands of Web sites.
- The Student Advantage Membership Program provides college students with exclusive discounts and benefits at 15,000 merchant locations nationwide.
- VarsityBooks.com is the most visited and well-known Web site in the college market*. Historically, VarsityBooks.com has been ranked as the most visited college Web site with over one million unique visitors in peak back-to-school months.
- GoTo provides advertisers with a powerful direct response vehicle for reaching nearly 75% of the U.S. Internet audience.
FREE  TLK, in conjunction with Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, offers contests, cool gifts from Sony, involvement, updates on up-and-coming trends and more. The agreements with Student Advantage, VarsityBooks.com and GoTo are part of Verizon Wireless' continuing effort to reach late teens and young adults. These partnerships were selected because they are popular Web sites with younger consumers and are leaders in their categories. The venture marks another step in the company's focus on marketing to this target demographic, building upon the recent launch of [FREEUP]-- the first wireless prepaid service package that combines prepaid voice calls and text messaging.
* Media Metrix, January 2000.
About Student Advantage
Founded in 1992, Student Advantage, Inc. (Nasdaq: STAD) is the media, marketing and commerce connection for millions of college students and the businesses and universities that serve them. Student Advantage reaches students online through its award-winning Web sites, CollegeClub.com and studentadvantage.com, and offline through the Student Advantage Membership, SA Cash, and the OCM direct marketing products. The company serves its corporate partners by providing sophisticated integrated marketing solutions as well as events and promotion services through SA Marketing Group. Additionally, Student Advantage supplies information services, Internet content and data management services to colleges and universities.
VarsityBooks.com is a wholly owned subsidiary of Varsity Group Inc. (OTCBB: VSTY). Varsity Group Inc is a premier college marketing company. Founded in 1997, the company pioneered selling discounted new college textbooks over the Internet. Building on its college marketing expertise, Varsity Group now offers other businesses a unique marketing solution for reaching college students where they live - on the Internet and on campus.
GoTo is the leader in Pay-For-Performance search on the Internet. The company created the market for Pay-For-Performance search by redefining how businesses market online. In the second quarter of 2001, GoTo facilitated more than 323 million paid introductions between consumers and its 45,000 advertisers, who bid for placement in relevant keyword search listings and pay GoTo only when a consumer clicks on a description. The company distributes these high-quality results to tens of thousands of sites across the Internet, including America Online, Microsoft and Alta Vista, making it the largest Pay-For-Performance search and advertising network. GoTo is based in Pasadena, with offices in New York and London. For more information, visit www.goto.com.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 28 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.