These Ads Don’t Sell Themselves

By Dan Canny, Advertising Manager

For those of us who sold college newspaper ads in the pre-smart phone era, the process was a simple one. Businesses wanted to reach students and we were the only game in town. I’m sure we all remember ourselves as amazing closers but let’s be honest – the ads pretty much sold themselves.

These days our students battle powers like Google and Instagram for a portion of a client’s student-aimed marketing budget. No, sales aren’t quite what they once were but in a strange way, they’re better.

Students now must truly learn to listen to clients, to ask strategic questions and to articulate how our platforms deliver a level of engagement that even Google can’t match. Our student leaders have also worked very hard to identify and grow our non-student
audiences. No longer does a student ad rep surrender to a marketer’s objection of, “We don’t target students.”

Our reps are now armed with strategies for reaching faculty and staff, alumni, sports fans and a variety of other coveted audiences that we once ignored. In fact, nearly 40% of this year’s ad revenue will be sold on platforms with primary audiences other than students.
From a business perspective, this diversification of platforms has helped us survive in an incredibly competitive industry. From an educational perspective, we’ve done much more than survive. We are producing a generation of sales reps who can ACTUALLY SELL! Because I’m here to tell you – ads these days, don’t sell themselves.


Summer at ISDMG

By Tristan Wade, Model Farm Student Project Manager

As a student-run organization, summer can feel like the time to take a break. School’s out, the weather is beautiful, and everyone is on vacation, right? At Model Farm, the summer is the perfect time for us to hit our stride. All our staff is in the office working full time each week, which is easily double the hours everyone can put in come the beginning of the semester. This is important because most of our design staff is new at the start of the summer, so the full work weeks allow us the teach them the skills they need to be successful at Model Farm.

Transitioning from the spring semester to the summer is made easier when there are a few people bridging that gap. I was one of two project managers at Model Farm since October 2018 and became the solo project manager as we transitioned to the summer. This was helpful in getting any projects we were in the middle of transitioned to new designers, because I had my hands in many of the projects already. However, it presented some challenges for me personally, as well as for the team, when it came to the projects that needed to continue after the school year which I wasn’t managing prior to summer. The key to making it as smooth as possible was clear communication with our client and working in tandem with the old project manager prior to the summer to make sure every moving part was in the right place.

Since the beginning of the summer, I have seen myself grow in my role more rapidly than I did in any similar span of time during the school year. Getting the opportunity to work as a project manager for 40 hours a week has allowed me to improve at client communication, feel more comfortable in pressure situations as we approach deadlines and be stronger at managing all the moving parts day-to-day. It has made me far more comfortable in the role than I was at the beginning of May and its due to the fact that I am able to fully commit to my role as project manager during the summer.

Case Study: Special Publications

By Peter Lemken, Graphic Designer

For the past two years the Iowa State Daily has produced the Iowa State University Department of Public Safety’s annual report. The annual report is the department’s summary of outreach and call records which details the department’s major milestones in the past 12 months.

The Department of Public Safety first came to us in 2018 and asked us to take the 2017 report and make it into something more digestible and readable – to make a version that could be used to introduce DPS to new students, allow the department to reflect on its previous year, and as an actual report to entities like the Iowa Board of Regents.

In our first year the project was headed by then editor-in-chief, Emily Barske, who had developed our strong relationship with the Department of Public Safety.

Upon the release and distribution of that first publication, the department received positive feedback from campus and community members. Michael Newton, Chief of Police for Iowa State University Police Department, was excited about the new partnership.

The ISU Department of Public Safety is unique from a lot of other police departments, as you might expect being based on a college campus. The department puts a great deal of emphasis on outreach and engagement and they are extremely focused on connecting with the ISU community in new ways and dispelling the stigma college students normally have towards police.

Over the past few years, the department ramped up its outreach efforts dramatically, introducing events like ‘Donut Disrespect’ where officers hand out donuts in various places around campus and Ames. The department is also very focused on developing a positive relationship with the community and creating opportunities for people to meet officers in casual situations.

Thus began a win-win relationship that continues today – our students get a chance to work on a professional publication, and learn to work with a client and their needs; while DPS gets a product that is for students, by students, which is vital to them and their mission.

Digitizing our onboarding

By Holly Henze, Accountant

Ames Campustown does not rest when the students are done with classes in May and neither does the Media Group! While there are less students in the creative design and news space, the professional staff are actively seeking to make improvements and create opportunities for our students during this time.

I may not be a journalist or a designer, but I am not excluded from this effort. I have found that balancing accounting and HR duties can be a very fun yet challenging task. A frequent question I found myself asking as I approached this summer… how can I be better prepared to handle the new influx of students this fall? I want to ensure I am covering the multitude of human resource tasks of payroll, policies, and compliance while keeping current with my other duties.

My answer to this question came when I remembered that I am working with Gen Z! Our students have grown up in a digital world and they expect to have technology incorporated in everything they do. Onboarding is not the exception and herein lies the solution to my problem. I needed to transition the astounding amount of time I spent manually entering in employee demographic information, setting up payroll, and tracking each employee’s progress over to the digital realm.

I am excited to report that I have been working with our payroll service company to develop a new onboarding portal. The new portal will streamline the onboarding process, track an employee’s progress, perform E-verify for I9 compliance, and be a central location for polices, handbooks, and important updates that both professional and student employees can access throughout the year. Student employees will now be able to complete the onboarding when it works best with their hectic schedules.

I am ecstatically looking forward to no longer having the awkward moments of silence as a student stares at the W4 form and is embarrassed to tell me they have no idea how to complete it without the help of their parents!