AMHERST, Mass. - Three dozen undergraduates at the University of Massachusetts are designing a campus-wide marketing campaign for TIME magazine as part of a semester-long internship with the national news weekly.
The students are using research from TIME along with information they have gathered on the campus to develop ways to boost circulation of the magazine and refine their knowledge, and the magazine''s knowledge, of what college-age readers want. UMass is one of five schools chosen to participate in a national scholarship competition sponsored by TIME and run by EdVenture Partners this fall.
The other schools are Northeastern University, Bridgewater State College, the University of New Hampshire, and San Diego State College. Kathleen Debevec, who chairs the marketing department and is teaching the class, says the TIME Magazine Marketing Internship program gives students a taste of real business experience while they learn the basics of marketing.
"I think they get a charge out of it because it''s not just a class; the students have a real client," Debevec says. "I think this has enormous value and is a real resume-building experience for our students." Last week, Debevec and 27 members of the class travelled to TIME headquarters in New York City to present their proposal to the magazine''s executives.
Debevec says the students are divided into six subgroups that are designing specific parts of the marketing plan. These include research, electronic commerce, direct marketing, media and promotions, public relations, and creative strategies. Some of the primary objectives of the project are to increase the number of subscriptions to TIME magazine on campus, to educate students about the value of the magazine, and to increase brand awareness and a positive view of TIME.
The students will also look at how competing magazines are viewed by UMass students and what the magazine''s strengths and weaknesses are with people in this age group. Once the marketing plan is put in place, the students will execute the plan and measure how successful they have been in promoting TIME, Debevec says.