By Dan Levy, Founder, Atlas College Marketing
In the world of event marketing, if your promotional reps are sub-par, your event will never reach its potential. This is especially important during college promotional campaigns, where students live a different lifestyle than your average consumer. Their schedules are based on class times, club commitments, and sports schedules. Their spending habits are also unique and they have become acutely aware of when they are being marketed to. On top of that, each campus has its own unique culture that must be catered to. All of these factors stress the need for highly focused staffing to ensure that a campaign’s promotional staff will be dialed into the pulse of the campus.
Here are some of the best practices for promotional staffing on college campuses:
Stop Spamming Facebook
Part of a winning recruitment strategy is knowing where to play and where not to play. “Traditional” agency recruiting methods tend not to work as well on college campuses. If you want the highest quality reps working your on-campus event, don’t waste your time posting on Facebook groups and Craigslist. Instead, focus on recruiting students through the many options available at each campus (more on this below). I can’t tell you how many agencies contact me last minute asking for help because they can’t find staff in college towns using traditional recruitment methods.
While it isn’t true in every case, it’s almost always better to hire college students rather than non-students for college promos. There are a number of reasons for this, but these three stand out: (1) Students get information about brands from their peers, so campaigns will be most effective when fellow students are the ones engaging them on behalf of your brand. (2) No one knows a campus better than its students and they can offer valuable insight that will help you formulate the optimal campaign strategy. (3) Because of their campus knowledge, students will be able to make adjustments in real-time to optimize the effectiveness of your campaign when needed. There are plenty of additional reasons to hire students for college campaigns, but in general, students enhance the value of a campaign and are a resource more companies should take advantage of.
Focus on Student Organizations
Within the student body recruiting base, I’ve found that the best reps come from student organizations. Members of student orgs are generally motivated, connected on campus, and typically are looking for opportunities to enhance their skillsets and resumes. They are eager to work, learn, and prove themselves.
From a recruiting standpoint, focusing on student orgs is beneficial because each org gives you access to large numbers of the types of students you’re looking for. One student organization alone may have 100+ members that may be interested in working an event or campaign and forming a relationship with the org could lead to a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership.
Accommodate Students’ Schedules
Too often campaigns have rigid schedules for each campus’ activation, which leaves many qualified student reps unable to work. To hire involved student staff, you have to be willing to be flexible with activation dates and times. Otherwise, you’ll end up limiting your availability to a lot of potentially wonderful reps who are busy with classes and extracurriculars. Keep in mind that the students you’re marketing to are also busy with classes and extracurriculars, so you shouldn’t have rigid activation schedules anyway if you want to make the most of your campaign. The best option is to recruit top talent, ask them about their schedules as well as those of their fellow students, and cater the activation timing accordingly (obviously there are always time and budget constraints). While it’s not as simple as many campaign strategies, it will lead to far better results.
The world of college marketing is constantly changing and being able to adapt is a necessity. Recruiting effectively, hiring top student talent, and accommodating student schedules puts your brand in the best possible position to leave a strong, positive impression in students’ minds.
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