MacKenzie Scott, Account Associate
The streets of State College are filled with students hurrying back and forth from apartments to classes, alumni visiting their old favorite spots, and visiting parents and prospective freshmen checking out the latest Penn State gear. Setting the backdrop of the constant activity of State College are dozens of locally owned businesses that line the packed sidewalks and offer to its customers their favorite meals, a new outfit, or the perfect gift to bring home as a surprise for the weekend.
For a business in State College, getting involved with the campus is something that’s nothing short of imperative. By getting involved with Penn State’s student body, downtown businesses are able to tap into a huge and accessible audience to make vital and lasting connections. Though simply being located in downtown State College can certainly already give a business an advantage, there are more ways that a business can reach out to show students that it wants to be part of their college experience and something they can fondly look back on.
Penn State prides itself on the sense of community it creates within the student body, within individual majors, and even narrowed down to within the hundreds of student organizations. With all these organizations, businesses should be able to find clubs, fraternities, and sororities that are they are able to share at least some sort of common ground with or establish some form of communication with. For example, with cultural clubs, restaurants that share this culture’s cuisine are able to reach out to the organization; for the international students that may be part of it, this could be something even more important to them since it brings a bit of home to State College that they may not have been able to find otherwise.
From this point, it’s possible to lead into other marketing strategies. Businesses that are frequented by specific student organizations can establish a partnership with that club and offer a small discount to those members. They could also potentially provide a place to fundraise for the club in association with THON. (Alternatively, the business could get involved with Penn State by fundraising for THON without going through a club.) For clothing shops, it’s possible to take advantage of the formal season of various organizations and advertise discounted prices for that reason specifically.
Businesses should take advantage of their location in downtown State College to the fullest extent they possibly can. By connecting with the campus community in a way that positively impacts the feelings of students spending their time in State College, a business will be able to form positive connections with that person and the degrees of separation that comes with them.