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Student Bodies Energize your marketing by bringing students onboard.

By April Y. Pennington

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Timothy Ferriss developed a mental performance supplementas a study aid, he hired college students to market the product forhim on their campuses. His San Jose, California, company,Adaptagenix Applied Biosciences, doesn't have a uniqueapproach-many companies are hiring college students to market theirproducts and services on campuses, often considered students'second homes. Dan Howard, professor and chair of the marketingdepartment at Southern Methodist University's Cox School ofBusiness in Dallas, finds that "businesses look to the type ofadvertising which people are unable to avoid," and points tothe captive local audience and relaxed setting a campus providesyoung marketers.

Ferriss, 28, admits he made mistakes in using students. Heinitially had them hand out free samples of his supplement, whichdidn't generate many sales or much word-of-mouth. "Ifstudents can get it free," says Ferriss, "they're notgoing to buy it." But after receiving stellar feedback onimproved physical performance from student athletes, he realizedtargeting a specific group within the student population was key.The product was rebranded and is now used by collegiate sportsteams at major universities. Adapta-genix is on track to reach $1.1million in 2006 sales.

Howard advises getting permission from the administration toappear on campus, and then recruiting student employees. Ferrissrecommends you "focus on recruiting socially connected groups,like fraternities and sororities, to spread the word," but hecautions against having students do the actual selling. Remember:Just about anything can be marketed, and all entrepreneurs,especially local ones, can benefit from student marketing.

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