Companies are seeing the value of using student representatives to market products to one of the fast-growing consumer groups, college students.
“Companies must approach consumer groups on their terms. You cannot sell a product without first getting the attention from the consumer,” said public relations student Amir Windom, president and founder of Endustry Power Players at Florida A&M University and director of southeast marketing for Def Jam Records.
Companies like Def Jam Records primarily market their company more than a particular product. They get students’ attention by bringing in various recording artists to perform and provide promotional giveaways.
“While working with Def Jam, I helped bring music executive Kevin Liles and recording artist Young Jeezy to FAMU,” Windom said.
Companies like Def Jam, Microsoft, Dell and Ford are tapping into the student population on Florida A&M University’s campus by paying student reps a stipend and providing bonus incentives.
“We are here to appeal to students and make sure they are informed about Ford’s student programs and products that appeal to them,” said Nicole Jackson, 21, a junior public relations student from Kalamazoo, Mich., who is a Ford Motors campus representative.
Companies reach out to the student population by using appealing techniques and Internet social networking tools such as Facebook and MySpace.
Clifford Stubbs, another Ford Motors campus representative, said a lot of money is spent on giveaways and promotional events.
“Whenever we are marketing to students we always have a lot of gift cards to give to students to get their attention,” said Stubbs, 21, a junior psychology student from Palm Beach.
Other campus reps agreed.
“What better way to get the attention of college students than by offering live music, giveaways and free food?” Windom said.
Some campus representative programs try to attract students by using events such as small- scale pizza parties in dorms or hosting movie nights at off-campus locations.
“When I was representing Dell, we were given a budget and were responsible for hosting student events.” said Rachel Hill, 21, a junior business administration from Orlando.
“As a Microsoft campus representative I primarily market their software and licensing products to various on-campus organizations and distribute promotional material,” said Dominick Ardis, 20, a healthcare management student from Tallahassee.
Ardis said he markets products that have a wide range of appeal to college students,
There are opportunities available for students who are interested in being a campus representative. Online marketing firm Rep Nation offers a database where students can apply online to become a campus rep at www.repnartion.com.
Students interested in the entertainment industry can also join Endustry Power Players, a student-run organization that creates outlets for students in the entertainment.