An Event in Review: Advertising to the College Market

Elise Fredericks, Summer Marketing Team

On April 7, 2017, the team at MediaMate hosted “Advertising to the College Market: An Industry Discussion” at The Harvard Club in New York City. Here, the MM staff had the opportunity to engage with advertising professionals from across the country to share their knowledge about connecting with university students. It was a truly unique experience for all of the parties involved!

To begin the day, every attendee was asked to introduce themselves with a statement explaining what they hoped to learn from the event. Although each answer varied slightly, most guests noted that they wished to better understand how to relate to college students by humanizing their brands to facilitate that engagement. 

The introductions were followed by a roundtable discussion where guests were asked to share stories of their own experiences regarding college marketing. What were some of their successes? Where did they see pitfalls? The group had so much to share, and the discussion was very engaging!

After a brief recess, everyone regrouped and a team of college ambassadors from a variety of schools in the Greater Boston Area gathered to participate in a student-led panel. This provided the advertising professionals with an exclusive opportunity to gather valuable, first-hand information from the targeted market! Many of the questions for the panelists centered around topics that had been brought up throughout the course of the day: the likelihood of brand loyalty within a group that is characteristically not brand loyal, the influence of coupons and discounts as a way to garner student interest, the impact of celebrity influencers over purchase decisions and the best avenues (print, social media, events, etc.) to reach students, and communicate a company's brand message. Additionally, many guests were interested in hearing about what the students perceived to be memorable ad campaigns. Some of the executives even mentioned that they would try to emulate the essence of those campaigns so that they may see that same type of success within their own brands, as well! 

Before parting, the group drew a few conclusions based on what they had discussed throughout the day: 

  • There is no single best way to reach college students since their behavior and brand loyalty levels vary greatly.
  • Current college advertising programs are focused on short-term results. Companies must work to develop sustained relevance with college students, perhaps with a long-term program instead of a marketing campaign.
  • Students hate being harassed with pop up ads, spam and the like. Most students perceive a negative brand image as a result of these ads. So, team, definitely stay away from these!
  • College students like brands that bring value. Coupons, deals, and price are a HUGE deal-breaker when it comes to fostering interest within this market!
  • Giveaways are a great way to initially attract students. College kids will walk virtually all the ends of the earth for a free gift! There is no guarantee that the giveaway will resonate with the students’ tastes, but if they have experienced the product in some capacity, there is a higher likelihood that they might buy it (or at least consider buying it) in the future!
  • In general, students appear to be too busy to care much about brands. Brands must find a way to make themselves relevant by working around the students’ jam-packed schedules!

In summary. the event was extremely rewarding, and insightful - a complete success! If you’d like to see photos from the event, please click here.

Winning Back Lost Customers

Nancy Scandura, Former Partnership Development Associate

Being a Sales Rep for a student newspaper is a great way to learn what it takes to be successful in any sales role. Part of this experience is learning how to work through the different challenges you may encounter as a salesperson. Good news though! If you’re prepared to face these challenges, you can absolutely crush it and be an ad sales champ!

Today's topic focuses on the art of winning back lost customers. This endeavor is challenging, and poses problems for a number of professional businesses, because ultimately, you are responsible for finding a solution for someone who is unhappy with your product, service, or both. However, the staff at MediaMate has devised the following tips you can follow in an effort to win back your customers, repair any damaged professional relationships, and continue developing as a successful business. 

1. Be Prepared

Though I’m not a fan of Scar from the Lion King, we should play a little bit of his song “Be Prepared” in the background for this tip. It’s important to know ahead of time if this customer is upset about a past problem. Be sure to research past client notes or discuss the situation with other staff members to gather as much info as possible. 

2. Apologize

Contrary to One Republic’s hit song, it’s never too late to apologize. If you meet with a customer who is upset about a past situation, it is important for you to sincerely apologize, even if you were not the person responsible for the customer’s bad experience.

3. Ask about Details of What Went Wrong Last Time

You want the 411! Definitely ask about what happened last time so you can express that you fully understand the situation from the customer’s perspective. Not only does this help mend the relationship, it also allows you to provide the best solution possible.

4. Include the Customer in the Solution

It is important to ask “If I could address your concerns, would you consider working with us again?” If no, apologize and keep in touch with them throughout the year. If yes, ask what you could do to make them confident about doing business with you. This shows that you are willing to listen and learn from past mistakes, even if it wasn’t your fault. Once you have their ideas, tell them you are going to talk with your manager to see what you can do.

5. Explain That You Are Different, then Back It Up!

Now that you understand the situation and want to provide a solution, you need to back, back, back it up! It’s important to follow through on all the promises you have made to your customer. For example, if he or she wants you to drop by in person with information about upcoming special issues, you must visit on a regular basis with all the necessary information. This is your opportunity to show this customer how much his or her business means to you by providing incredible service.

Local Advertising Sales Training at UMASS Amherst - Lead Generation

Nancy Scandura, Former Partnership Development Associate

Given that MediaMate is headquartered in Massachusetts, there’s nothing better than driving to a school in our home state for a sales training! On this particular occasion, the MediaMate sales trainers journeyed to UMASS Amherst to train a group of Student Sales Representatives for their student newspaper, The Daily Collegian.

The trainers first met The Daily Collegian sales team in a little coffee shop in Amherst, MA to review the Sales Manual and discuss some tactics for selling advertising. This provided an intimate setting where the MediaMate team could become well acquainted with the student representatives, and proved to be the perfect area to scout out potential businesses that the students might be selling to. 

After a thorough review of the sales manual, it was time to walk around town and pop into some local businesses. At one point, an inquisitive student asked how she should determine which businesses to sell to. Great question; especially because lead generation is so important in sales! To answer her question, a representative from our team stated that most sales professionals are assigned territories. So, we suggested the students divide the area around the campus to better manage their sales. That way, each Rep could focus on businesses in his or her own territory. Next, it was suggested that the students walk around during certain times of the day to identify which businesses need to reach students. For example, door-to-door training around 2pm (aka LUNCH TIME!). The MediaMate team advised the students to be on the look-out for restaurants that are relatively empty during this time. During a sales meeting, the Reps may choose to utilize their observations as a way to illustrate how students are always looking for new places to eat off campus.  A fabulous selling point! Perhaps that particular restaurant has an awesome lunch special that students aren’t aware of. The Student Rep can suggest advertising in The Daily Collegian to promote this special to students.

Moral of the story: it’s important for a salesperson to view what they’re selling from the perspective of the business owner. In this case, if the restaurant is depending on students to buy the lunch special, the owner will want to promote to them!

After walking around for a few hours, it became obvious to the MediaMate trainers that the confidence held within the student staff of The Daily Collegian was building. At the end of the training, the students couldn’t wait to hit the ground running and devise their sales plans for the the upcoming semester, which eventually led them to great success throughout the following years. This story is an awesome example of how lead generation is important and can make a big difference in the long run! Much like the other student organizations MediaMate engages with, we are so proud of The Daily Collegian sales team!

Advertising Sales Training at Virginia Tech

Nancy scandura, former Partnership development associate

After the training at The Ohio State University, it wasn’t long before the sales trainers packed their bags for another campus visit to Virginia Tech! On February 29th, 2016, a small group of MediaMate employees traveled to Blacksburg, VA for a sales training with three Student Sales Representatives for the student newspaper, the Collegiate Times.

Before the training, the sales trainers met with Professor Brian Collins: a seasoned sales professional and Director of the Sales Center at Virginia Tech. Based on his experience, Professor Collins believes students should get some applicable sales practice before applying to jobs, especially if they’re interested in a sales career. Since the sales program at MediaMate provides students with real world experience, Professor Collins was very excited to partner with our company, and help coach the students through their sales endeavors with the Collegiate Times.

After chatting with Professor Collins, the MediaMate staff met with the Collegiate Times sales team and began reviewing the sales manual. The discussion centered around exploring a variety of techniques for door-to-door sales including how to generate and qualify leads, ask discovery questions, respond to objections and create proposals from a media kit. 

After the sales manual training, the students and staff walked to College Avenue and met with local businesses. The students quickly identified why some of these businesses would be well qualified to advertise in the Collegiate Times. Although they were a little nervous at first, the new student reps finished door-to-door training with increasing confidence. They even made a group text message to help each other with sales! With this much enthusiasm for their new roles, the MediaMate trainers left confident that the students would bring a continued stream of new advertisers to the Collegiate Times in the coming years!

Advertising Sales Training at The Ohio State University

nancy scandura, former partnership development associate

Every semester, the sales trainers at MediaMate travel to partner schools and train students to sell advertising to local businesses and on-campus departments. This is one of the most exciting aspects of working for MediaMate, because you get to work directly with employed students who are eager to learn.

On February 25th, 2016, one of our former sales trainers, Nancy, traveled to Columbus, Ohio and trained three Student Sales Representatives for The Lantern, the student newspaper at The Ohio State. When Nancy reported back at the end of the trip to the other members of the MediaMate staff, she emphasized how excited the students were to start training. At the training, the students were first briefed on the media kit that had been designed specifically for The Ohio State newspaper staff. These media kits include everything from pricing options, display deadlines, insert sizes, or online advertising opportunities. The discussion then transitioned into a lesson on how to best develop proposals for potential advertisers. Students were encouraged to brainstorm ideas for new local advertisers, and then were asked to draft the reasons why they may be a good option for college advertising specifically.

After the classroom session, the students were brought to High Street where they started meeting with local businesses. This is a very hands-on component of any sales training that allows students to practice their pitches and generate leads. Nancy observed how the students excelled in this part of training and entered every business with confidence. Almost immediately after Nancy returned home from her trip, she received an email that one student had already sold an advertising package to a local business - an amazing feat given the briefness of the students' exposure to the process! As a result of the training, the students at The Lantern are extremely prepared for tackling whatever advertising challenges may come their way in the coming years!