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OnDitmagazine ― Features

young and impressionable, chances are they’ll lean more towards that brand when the superannuation pays out. Furthermore, Addington notes that engendering brand loyalty in students pays off, as people with degrees tend to have higher incomes. Andrew Maloney is the Managing Director of Student Services Australia. SSA has an arm called Student Marketing, which is Australia’s largest campus-focused marketing agency. He agrees that the traditional marketing avenues just don’t work anymore, not necessarily because students are cynical, but because they aren’t heavy consumers of TV or print media. Despite Leanne Bruno’s claim that Adelaide University attracts more than enough sponsors, Maloney doesn’t really buy the idea that companies are beating down the door in order to market directly to students during O’Week. “Theoretically, it should be easy [to convince corporates to market to students]. Roughly a quarter of the 18-25 demographic are on campus. The problem is that it’s extremely fragmented. So we spend a lot of our time trying to convince corporates to come to campus. They look at it and say ‘my God, this is complicated’. For example, O’Week isn’t during the same week around the country. Every university has different policies, different pricing. It’s an incredibly complicated thing to do a national O’Week campaign. It’s the same with student media – if you want to run a full page ad in a student newspaper, they’re all different sizes and you’ll have to do the ad in ten different ways, with ten different prices, on ten different dates and ten different people to contact.” Can’t you play the brand loyalty card? “That’s crap,” says Maloney, “corporate Australia now is based on quarterly results. This idea that students are future purchasers… If I went to a company and started talking like that, they’d look at me like I was an idiot. They want a result in the next 12 weeks.” Apart from a few exceptions such as The Australian, which is heavily subsidised on campus, companies don’t seem to take the long view. According to Maloney, the extra effort of coordinating a marketing campaign across 30 campuses means companies are more likely to phone Nova and spend $300,000 on an ad campaign that can be rolled out in hours, instead of waiting a week for Student Marketing to tailor a

cross-campus package. Life’s tough for marketers. Well, so what? Big companies finding it hard to push goods on the student demographic isn’t exactly the stuff that makes your heart bleed. In fact, couldn’t we do without them? Of course, that logic belies the reason that a student organisation would take on marketers in the first place. The problem that students and student organisations face is having enough money. Adelaide University Union lets companies market on campus because without their money, most events just wouldn’t be possible. University administration actually requires the Union to run events at O’Week as part of its funding arrangement (cynics might hazard that this is because activities are the only way to get students to attend the more boring orientation events). Leanne Bruno says that without extra funding, the week just won’t go ahead. Moreover, while O’Week has the highest concentration of events and marketing, campus culture persists through the year. Funded through the AUU via the Clubs Association, clubs on campus must find a way to subsidise events if they are to put a student-friendly price tag on whatever drinking session they’ve thinly disguised as a masquerade ball or games night. Alex Arney is sponsorship manager for the Adelaide University Engineering Society and AUSki, the snow skiing club. He says that sponsorship is about helping the members: “The sponsors themselves help subsidise events. For example, [the AUSki] Snow Ball would have cost us six grand, but sponsorship took a couple of grand off. Most events you have to run at a loss, sponsorship just goes toward making sure that you’re not charging the members as much as possible.”

Additionally, the AUES has a much more professional focus in terms of sponsorship, with companies coming on board for careers nights. These arrangements are a way of exposing members to less obvious career pathways. Perhaps the starkest reminder of the benefits that marketing confers is the concept of ‘student discount’. If student organisations disengage from corporate marketing, corporates will disengage from students, and take their cut-price

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On Dit Magazine: Volume 78, Issue 1  

On Dit Magazine is a fortnightly Australian student magazine with an emphasis on exceptional writing, photography, and illustration.

On Dit Magazine: Volume 78, Issue 1  

On Dit Magazine is a fortnightly Australian student magazine with an emphasis on exceptional writing, photography, and illustration.