At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our team at YMC (along with most knowledge industry businesses) shut the doors to our offices across the country hoping to be back with our colleagues in a few weeks. When the reality of the pandemic’s impact set in, we made the hard decision to shift to a remote work environment for the rest of 2020.

After seeing our team members thrive, we knew we had a big decision on our hands to determine the future of how YMC works. After issuing a comprehensive engagement to all team members and reviewing the results, it became clear that with some hard work, new benefits, progressive systems changes, and a lot of trust, our team members overwhelmingly wanted to shift to a remote-work agency.

With that, we thought it would be nice to take this space to talk about what this means for our employees, our work, and the culture we’re building and nurturing.

The #YMCrew

While we always cherished the flexibility that came with working at YMC, with the permanent shift away from being in an office every day, our team members have a lot more freedom to choose a lifestyle that best fits their needs. For a lot of our existing team members at the time, that meant they could stay put or move to wherever they were most comfortable. For our growing team, that means we’re able to hire from an incredibly diverse and dispersed pool of talented people. While we’re still east coast dominant, check out where our team is hailing from these days!

The flexibility of being a remote-work agency allows team members to make personal decisions without the fear of how it will affect their professional careers. Whether that means moving back with family, trying out a new city, or making other lifestyle changes that wouldn’t have normally been possible, we now all have the ability to travel and explore new opportunities. 

We strongly believe in location freedom–that our work can be done from wherever our team feels best–whether it’s at home, in a cafe, with friends and family, or overseas. Our team members that prefer an office have the ability to use Deskpass and can hotdesk when they want. Our Digital Marketing Manager, Hannah Hickman, will be spending a month in Tel Aviv, where she’ll be working remotely with a cohort of other young professionals. 

Our Work

Our clients range from Fortune 100 consumer retail brands to non-profits & associations, to tech start-ups. And each day we work with them to develop integrated marketing campaigns, build ambassador programs, launch mobile tours & pop-ups, execute event activations around the country, and a whole host of creative solutions to our clients’ problems. 

We were already structured to work efficiently and effectively no matter where in the country or world our team members were working from, and with our new systems in place, we’re a fine-tuned machine. Whether we’re hopping on Google Hangouts, Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, BlueJeans, FaceTime, or attempting to sign on to Microsoft Teams, our collaborative environment lives on. We can travel as needed (with all safety protocols in place) and work from the comfort of a place of our choosing, consistently delivering the high-quality work YMC is known for.

The 40-hour workweek is of a bygone era, and while we never needed to see someone in their seat to believe they were working, the shift to a remote-work agency has made our end goal of joining the results-only revolution a reality.

We trust our team members and we believe in an outcomes-based methodology. While there are busier weeks than others, we constantly encourage and enforce an approach that allows everyone to work at a pace that makes sense to them, and when they’re done with their work, that’s it. The end goal is to help everyone redefine what work-life balance means to them and to have a framework and support system to achieve it and live it on a regular basis.


While we don’t disagree with the flood of think pieces that “something is lost while working remotely”, we also think businesses and people will adapt like they always do, and employees dictating terms can rarely be a bad thing. From our perspective, remote work poses a unique challenge to the company culture that we had cultivated before the pandemic. Knowing that, our team put a ton of focus and emphasis on continuing to build strong bonds with each other–whether it was through virtual Fun Fund events, team lunches to welcome new employees, or just general connection over our pets, of-the-moment music and shows, or other virtual activities. Over the past year, we’ve gotten together virtually for a few happy hour game nights, a succulent planting workshop, terrarium building, tie-dyeing, guided meditation, and more! YMC’s Fun Fund allows our team to host fun activities that give us a chance to unwind, get to know each other, and build strong friendships.


Beyond restructuring how we work, we doubled down on how we don’t work. This means making sure our team has adequate time to recharge. With over 20 holidays and unlimited PTO, our team has the time to relax and disconnect as needed, without having to worry about whether they can use sick days for mental health, or counting the hours accrued so they can take a much-needed vacation. We also observe Mental Health Fridays, where we’re OOO early each and every Friday.

With our time off, we also try to make a positive impact on the world around us. We give our employees Earth Day off each year and encourage everyone to take the time to volunteer for an environmental-focused activity, like a beach clean-up, a trash pickup, or tree planting.

We work every day to ensure that our culture reflects everyone who works at YMC. We are constantly evaluating how we can do better, not just for our team but also for the world.

Why Your Brand Should Be at Spring Break

Every year, hundreds of thousands of college students flock to a handful of Spring Break destinations throughout the United States and Mexico. The students who travel to Spring Break are influencers back on campus and online, and this presents an incredible opportunity for brands to reach Gen-Zs via Spring Break marketing.

For decades, forward-thinking brands have identified Spring Break marketing as a unique and irreplaceable opportunity to drive awareness, acquisition, and conversion. Imagine having unfettered access to the most influential students at campuses across the country, and finding them all in one place at the same time. By establishing a presence at Spring Break, marketers are able to not only reach this key demographic, but also root their brands into the positive memories students create on their vacations.

Spring Break has grown up over the years. From its roots in the party atmosphere of the 90s, it’s transitioned into a sophisticated, multi-dimensional daytime and nighttime experience for these sought-after consumers. As a result, Spring Break marketing has also evolved. Successful brands have adapted by wrapping their brands around the Spring Break experience in an authentic manner, rather than trying to force Spring Break to conform to their brand.

Throughout March, companies like AXE and Victoria Secret Pink infiltrate Spring Break, sponsoring events and placing ads on everything from elevators to pillowcases. AXE built a custom cube structure that allowed consumers to freshen up during a hot day on the beach. This activation was smartly timed with the launch of their new line of face products. Victoria Secret Pink threw massive pink-colored pool parties at warm weather destination across the country, driving brand awareness and generating content.


There’s a wide breadth of opportunities and channels available at Spring Break—your imagination (and budget) is the limit. How can you best reach spring breakers? Here are some options:

  • Daytime beach, pool, hotel/resort lobby, and ski events
  • In-room branding and product placement (shower curtains, pillow cases, etc.)
  • Interior and exterior hotel branding (signage, elevator wraps, pool vinyls, projections, branded hotel room items, lounge chairs, etc.)
  • Interactive stage contests
  • Sampling street teams roaming the beach, hotels/resorts, and nightlife areas
  • Celebrity- or influencer-fueled events like concerts on the beach or in nightclubs
  • Nighttime events, concerts, and parties

When deciding how to spend your marketing budget, consider that Spring Break offers the following:

  • Domestic and international destinations with 40,000–250,000 influential college students in attendance
  • National reach for your brand that allows you to build an experience in one location, instead of trying to have a presence across the country
  • Consumer mindsets that are relaxed, fun-loving, and eager to engage with new experiences—perfect for brands looking to drive authentic interactions
  • Beautiful backdrops of beaches, ski mountains, and resorts, providing a blank canvas for creative and unique brand activations
  • A scalable and efficient marketing engine that caters to brands across all consumer categories

One of the main questions brand marketers ask about Spring Break is, “What kind of KPIs can we affect and how successful will they be?” Fortunately, campaigns can be built to achieve a variety of different goals:

  • Awareness – expose hundreds of thousands of college students to your brand, products, services, and messages
  • Engagement – generate incredible interactions with hosted experiences, contests, sweepstakes, and social media content moments
  • Acquisition – grow your customer database, create a new consumer through sampling or trial, and drive downloads or usage of a mobile app, product, or service
  • Conversion – capture the attention of new consumers and convert them into repeat and loyal customers
  • Viral Spread – create an army of super fans and advocates who will spread your messages back on campus following their Spring Break vacation
  • Research – get real-time insights on product development, UX/UI, market feasibility, generational trends, and much more

At the end of the day, Spring Break marketing is one of the most incredible opportunities to reach valuable Gen-Z consumers at scale. Your success will be based largely on how you translate your brand into the Spring Break experience, and how prepared you are to execute a flawless campaign.

Want more? Check out these blogs:

How can YMC help?

Whether you have the perfect campaign already conceptualized or you’re considering Spring Break marketing but have more questions, finding the right partner is key. Here at YMC, we’ve been helping brands connect with consumers at Spring Break for two decades and would be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you.

6 Tips for Hiring a College Marketing Agency

It’s not uncommon for companies to take a DIY approach to college marketing—they rely on their younger employees, interns, and “gut” to put together a strategy and piecemeal the execution; that type of approach rarely leaves them in a position of strength. Finding an agency partner that is a college marketing expert should be step one.

The right college marketing agency partner has the necessary experience to avoid common pitfalls of campus marketing and the expertise to successfully reach valuable Millennial and Gen-Z consumers. Luckily for you, we’ve broken down the most important steps to hiring the right partner:

1. Do Your Due Diligence

Plenty of agencies throw buzzwords on their websites: youth, college, campus, Millennial, and Gen-Z. Unless they have a proven track record of working on youth-focused campaigns in the medium that you’re pursuing (creative, digital, peer-to-peer, social, mobile, experiential), they’re probably not right for you. Research the campaigns they’ve executed, ask to speak to past clients, try to talk with students who have worked with them in the past, and understand what percentage of their business is focused on youth.

2. Hire an Expert Directly

Generalist agencies abound, but you need an expert. A lot of the big-box shops will sell everything under the sun, but when they land a campaign, they immediately outsource the execution. College marketing agencies are the secret tool in the toolbox for AoRs across the country. By working with the expert agency directly, you’ll save money, get better service, and cut down on communication delays, resulting in a better campaign.

3. Analyze Student Networks

Check out the Craigslist job or gigs section around any college town, or the campus job boards, and you’ll see countless postings for campus rep positions. The types of students that you want working for your brand—the true influencers—won’t be found there. They know which agencies offer the best experiences, work with the most interesting brands, and have students’ best interests at heart. Like everything in business, relationships and reputation are everything. Challenge potential agency partners to tell you how they’ve developed their student and campus network, how they keep it active, and what quality control they put on the types of students allowed to join.

college marketing agency employees talking

4. Inquire About Campus Relationships

An active college marketing agency will have relationships with stakeholders and decision-makers on campuses across the country. When executing any kind of event (experiential, mobile, pop-up), you want them talking to the right people. College campuses are like cities—talking to the right person will get you access for $1,000/day, while talking to the wrong person could get you outright denied or result in fees of upwards of $20,000/day. College administrators are conservative by nature, so your relationship, reputation, and experience will precede you in the decision-making process.

5. Understand Recruitment

For campus rep programs, it’s imperative to understand how potential partner agencies recruit students. Many agencies engage “full-time” reps or influencers who hop to different brands almost every day of the week. The most successful agencies anchor their strategies in authenticity, which means their campus reps are recruited for a specific brand partner and campaign, only work for that brand during the campaign, and embody the very detailed criteria and DNA outlined by you and your agency partner.

6. Seek Substance Over Style

Unless you’re working with a bottomless budget for awareness-generating stunts, ROI will be part of the conversation. It’s important to find a results-oriented partner that works collaboratively with you and your team to integrate tracking, analytics, and reporting into their strategy from day one. Be wary if they start recommending campaign concepts and tactics that are incredibly cool but don’t have a solid tie-back to your KPIs. A good agency will combine creativity with results, relying on data, best practices, and past experiences to drive success.

Finally, choose a genuine partner. When you hire a college marketing agency, you’re also hiring people—beyond being incredible at their jobs, you want those people to be likable, kind, supportive, fun, and invested. Your agency should adapt to your workflows, internal processes, and dynamic needs. They should be friendly and easy to work with, which will translate directly into how they manage your campaign.



If you’re looking to engage students on campus, we’re here to help. At YMC, we’ve been connecting brands with 15- to 29-year-old consumers for two decades—we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us today!