How To Advertise Your Products and Services To College Students For Free (Almost)

Dear Visitor,

Today, I am going to talk about a singular experience and present to you a rare opportunity to advertise your products, to one of the greatest and most controllable markets, accessible almost for free, through an overlooked media. (It has nothing to do with Pay-Per-Click, or newspaper )

I am talking about college students as the market, and the college campus as a center of marketing research and experiments.

Is A College Campus A Flea Market In Disguise?

I come from Mirebalais, a small city in Haiti. And when I was a boy I used to go the market (make it flea market or open market) to buy chicken, which I intended to raise without my mother knowing. (that’s a different story).

But if you’ll bear with me, you’ll see the relationship between a college campus and an actual flea market. And if you can see the relationship you’ll see the vast opportunity for market testing and covert marketing research that a college campus offers.

How Much Controld Do You Have Over Your Audience On A College Campus?

In a flea market, people are gathered to buy and sell their products. On a college campus, students are gathered to buy education, and sell themselves to each other. Those students carry with them their everyday dreams, their everyday wants, their everyday desires. And these emotional buttons can put in motion by your advertisement because those students carry with them the same emotions that people carry with them in the marketplace.

Control? Wednesdays and Saturdays were the market days in my little city. And when you go to the market, you could not avoid the sellers: the people crying :” Fresh milk, right from the cow. Buy now and mix with your coffee..” You could not avoid the other merchants yelling: “Sweet potatoes. Delicious sweet potatoes. Big ones too. Unearthed today, boil them and delight your family. Give your children good food. Sweet potatoes.”

Once you step into the market place, you were ‘prisoner’ of the offers.

The same thing goes for college students. Once they enter the buildings, they are prisoner of your advertising. They’re under your ‘control’, we could venture to say…for as long as your flyer can attract their attention, they won’t fail to miss it. As long as your offer taps into one of their emotional needs for recognition, love, amusement, success, they won’t fail to respond to it.

And here’s how the college campus becomes a place of marketing research and market testing for any company that sells products that college students want.

Direct Response Advertising Using Flyers

The college campus becomes A MEDIA where the students are held captive (they have to go through the buildings). And that gives you control on the delivery of your message. That also enables you, if you are disciplined, to test different messages. This wouldn’t apply to hit-and-run companies…that do one special promotion and drop the ball.

And because you’re certain of having these eyeballs for the next three months…you can test different messages and see which flyers get more responses. Which flyers are picked up quickly and which are ignored religiously. You can research the reaction to your offer, covertly. I am not talking about focus group, but direct response advertising through flyers.

(of course, we should remember that the population is diverse. Age, ethnicity are two major points of diversity. Most college students are old teenagers and in their mid-twenties, but more and more older people (30’s and up) are returning to college, for many reasons (career change, get education….)

Now if you sell something that college students want, all you have to do is present your offer to them….on campus.

How do you do this?

Four Key Elements In College Campus Advertising

Message (Content and Design)

Support(what type of paper, what color of paper, what size of paper)

Delivery (when and where on the college campus)

Measurement (Response Device and direct observation)

How do you compete against the clutter of flyers that abound on posting boards?

Stay tuned….this question I will answer in my next post….I’ll back up my answer with a specific campaign/market testing I conducted at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Ma.

Swans G Paul

Reasons Why Some Colleges Do Not Permit College Freshman to Have Cars on Campus

Most universities do not permit students to have cars on campus until their sophomore year. The main reason for this is space. For instance, if at Penn State (population 50,000+) every student had a car on campus, there would be no room to move. There are some good reasons, other than space, as to why cars are not allowed on campus.

With underage drinking on the rise, it is scary to have anyone under the influence on the roads, especially in an overcrowded college town. College students are now in an environment where the only person that can tell them “no” is themselves. Feeling the need to fit in, “no” is never uttered out of a newbie’s mouth, and it makes it difficult in making the right decisions. The experimentation or what I like to call “learning their limits,” is a scary cause and effect.

Most students consume well over their tolerance. The only way to “sober up” is by waiting it out and dealing with the sometimes painful hangover the following day. Some aren’t so lucky. There have been numerous occurrences of alcohol poisoning, death or accidents caused by this type of binge drinking. We have all been through it before. We drink a bit too much, we get the spins, and then we fall down, rolling around in our own vomit saying that we will never drink again. However, what usually happens after we recover? We drink some more, but we learned our limit. “I will never drink that much again!”

This is what happens to plenty of freshmen. There are no responsibilities other than school, maybe a part time job and practice if you are a student athlete. This is one of the underlining factors on why freshmen cannot bring cars onto campus. Could you imagine if one of them got behind a wheel? It’s a thousand times safer to have them use their own feet to get around rather than a 3,000 pound hunk of steel. Universities realize this and make it a strict policy.

After scaring the wits out of parents, let me bring it down a notch. Not all freshmen go crazy and binge drink, but the influence is there and most students are smart enough to call it quits and only a small few will overstep their boundaries. Universities also believe that if the freshman have no cars, then they can’t leave, forcing them to interact with other students and to walk around campus and get a feel for the college setting, where buildings are, etc. Most universities are surrounded by stores in walking distance that meet every students needs, from food to entertainment. It’s common for universities to provide a bus or shuttle service for free or low cost all over the college town.

The only reason freshman students may need a car on campus is for special needs purposes. If you fall within this category, then go to your campus police/parking office and let them know your situation. Some will oblige without you having to do anything, but most will make you provide proof and a payment, which is an added stress a freshman student could do without.

How to Eat Gluten-Free at College

Learning how to eat gluten-free while maintaining an upbeat and social college life is not always easy. Most university campuses are not set up to cater to anything remotely close to a regular healthy diet, let alone a special diet.

Why are Campuses Tough for Gluten Free Eating?

College campuses usually have umpteen fast food establishments and dining halls that cater to generic diets with a lack of any dorm facilities for students to cook their own food. That situation makes it challenging to eat gluten-free while using the standard food plans available to students.

Some campuses have begun to install communal cooking areas in dormitories and now offer healthier menu choices in dining halls. Because you already eat gluten-free, you have an idea of which foods are not compatible with the diet.

How to Eat Gluten-Free in the Campus Dining Hall

It is possible to keep gluten free in a campus dining hall, but it is necessary to keep an eye out for potential gluten-based fillers. To eat gluten-free, avoid breaded foods or foods that contain gluten sources. Salisbury steak, for instance, is sometimes a dining hall staple. The gravy used in Salisbury steak almost invariably contains flour. This is the same for most types of gravy.

Gluten sources are occasionally even used in salads and fruit-based desserts as flavor enhancers and fillers. Many jus sauces are usually safe since they are supposed to only contain the juices from different meats. Foods such as tuna salad and chicken salad are usually free of gluten. Some recipes call for bread crumbs or saltines to stretch the protein.

Above all, ask questions. If the student staff can’t answer your questions about the ingredients in the food, ask to speak with a supervisor or the chef. While it may not seem like it, most schools employ a full-time chef to oversee the menu that is served in a dining hall.

Dormitory Cooking

Some food items keep just fine whether you have access to a fridge or not, but a mini-fridge is a good investment. Microwave ovens are also usually allowed in dorm rooms, but ask if electric hot plates and toaster ovens are allowed too. Each of these provides more cooking options to easily avoid gluten.

Maintain a Gluten Free Diet Off-Campus

It is often shocking to learn just how many foods contain gluten in a college dining hall or in other restaurant fare. Many dormitories deny the use of certain cooking tools like hot plates, toasters and toaster ovens. Because of this, the best living situation is generally off-campus housing.

It is easy to figure out how to eat gluten-free when living away from the college dorms. You will buy your own food, so you will know what is going into each dish. Gather all of the recipes used at home for your meals and do online searches for quick and easy gluten free recipes. It is somewhat surprising to learn how many easy meals there are!