It was Halloween freshman year of college. Most of my dormmates were stripping down to bits of string and cloth—items that, put together, would only pass for a “costume” at a nudist colony (or college)—and going to a party off-campus.
I, on the other hand, was adjusting my bonnet—the final touch of my Martha Washington ensemble—and doing a few calisthenics in preparation for two grueling hours of neighborhood trick-or-treating.
If you find it unsettling that I was trick-or-treating at 19, you’re not alone. After going to just one home and being practically pelted with a Kit Kat by the owner, it was time to hang up my bonnet. Goodbye, childhood.
Back in my dorm room, nursing a single fun-size candy bar, I remembered a costume contest across campus. And then I remembered the homemade sheep costume my mom had sent as a back-up.
What followed was one of my more memorable college moments. I won the contest later that night, but the real highlight was watching the reaction of passersby as I walked to the auditorium, many of whom began shouting, “Lamb Chop! That’s AWESOME!” (I was actually Little Bo’ Peep’s lost sheep, but tomato, to-ma-to). I was outside in a ridiculous costume and people loved it.
You see, professionals are looking for a nice, normal community to call home. College students are looking for an experience. And that is what makes marketing to the latter unique.
In the May issue of units, Kim Cory, Director of Sales and Marketing for University Village, and Dan Oltersdorf, Vice President of Residence Life at Campus Advantage, share three tips to becoming the B.M.O.C.—the Big Marketer On Campus.
If my community’s employees had a similar resource, they would have known that it’s illegal to trick-or-treat over the age of 13 in my college town. But I had to learn that one on my own.
For more on marketing to college students, check out the Marketing Insider in the May issue of units, which mails May 8.