Marketing Internship I will Never Forget.
Hi there! My name is Lauren Brady, and I’m a student at the University of Georgia. Last summer, I had the opportunity to be a digital marketing intern at EWISE Marketing & Communications. Before we jump into my internship story, I want to point out that the word “intern” is used loosely at EWISE.
The President of EWISE Marketing & Communications, Joanne Sanders, is not a fan of the word “intern” because she believes that the word diminishes the value young EWISE team members (like me) bring to the table. This is how I knew this internship was going to be different—an experience that taught me more in one summer than all my three years of college.
Getting Started at EWISE Marketing & Communications
My journey at EWISE began with a series of phone interviews. Throughout the interview process, I was able to ask a lot of questions and voice that a company’s values, along with its culture, are important to me. I felt like the EWISE team heard me on this, and I was ecstatic when Joanne offered me the internship.
I had never been to the EWISE office before, so when the first day of my internship came around, I really hoped I was in the right place. When I walked into the building, I immediately ran into Joanne in the atrium. Of course, at the time, I pretended to not recognize her to hide the fact that I stalked her LinkedIn during the weeks prior. I’m fairly certain she won’t know I did that until reading this.
Immediately upon officially introducing myself, (phone interviews make the first day a little more of a guessing game) I was put at ease. I started setting up my very own cubicle, something I didn’t expect to be so excited about. Then it was time for our morning meeting.
Lesson #1: Strong Communication is Paramount in Marketing Today
At EWISE, we go over the needs/progress of every client on Mondays and then we have stand up daily meetings to make sure we stay on track. The daily meetings cover what everyone wants to accomplish that day, who they’ll need to talk to, and where they can help others. As I listened to everyone's tasks for the day, I could tell this was a group with great communication, a passion for doing things right, and an empathetic approach to all areas within the team and with clients. I found this daily meeting to be both conducive to a productive workplace, and a great way for people to ask for help. It can be hard to directly message someone when you don’t know if they already have a lot on their plate, but when there’s transparency about what everyone is doing, it provides an opportunity to speak up and offer yourself as someone with extra bandwidth.
My first stand up meeting was 15 minutes after I first walked in the door, and it was a great way to automatically see what the daily flow at EWISE was expected to look like. There were a lot more moving parts than I was originally expecting. At EWISE, there is a laundry list of clients who run businesses involved in all different types of industries. They range from small businesses to larger organizations that rely on EWISE to help propel the success of their company.
After this meeting, I got the chance to sit down with Joanne, one-on-one, and I was expecting to hear more about my responsibilities, expectations, and general talk of the dos and don'ts. Instead, Joanne asked me what I was hoping to gain from my experience at EWISE. This was something I had not even asked myself, yet. If I could go back and have had a list prepared, it probably would have included exactly what I got out of my summer.
Lesson #2: Growth Leads to Change (Change is a Good Thing!!!)
As I picked up speed at EWISE and grew more interest in other areas, I hesitated to ask questions that did not pertain to my direct area of work. I was under the impression that because I was given specific assignments, I needed to stick to those assignments and not stray away. This could not be further from the truth. By asking questions and learning more about other areas of what EWISE does, I set myself up for an even more extensive learning opportunity.
I was mostly worried of feeling like I dropped the ball in my initial areas of assignment, but there are so many ways to balance multiple tasks at once. In fact, it often makes the day more fun and educational. I was learning more, I was growing. As I grew, things naturally began to change. I corresponded with different people on EWISE’s team. I began reaching out to specific clients and working with them one-on-one. I wasn’t expecting this change to happen, but it’s a sign of growth, which is a great thing!
Lesson #3: Marketing Sequence and Prioritization is Key to the Success
My experience with the professional world was fairly limited before EWISE, and it isn’t the way movies make it out to be. As someone who held a restaurant job for five years, I am pretty used to following orders. When a customer wants something, you give it to them, regardless of what it is. What I learned is that activity sequence is very important to success, and it is our job to help the client prioritize marketing accordingly to create exponential success.
From a marketing agency perspective, there are always multiple requests and needs, but prioritizing based on business impact (something the team always says) helps create better results as well as operational time management across the organization. This really underscored the importance of leadership and all the time management conversations my instructors have shared in class. I got to see all of this in action—at the individual and organizational level.
Twelve Weeks of Work, a Lifetime of Knowledge
My First Digital Marketing Assignments
Bret Baker, who works in Digital Marketing & Business Development, was my main point of contact throughout the summer. I helped him with social media ideation, production, writing, and scheduling.
I was eager to learn more about the social media side of digital marketing, and I learned a lot from Bret. I even tried my hand with a new tool, Adobe Premier Pro, something I had no experience with before my time at EWISE. This was an awesome opportunity because a lot of times, you only get to test these kinds of platforms when you are studying something to do with media or digital art in college. Adobe Premier Pro was something I had always wanted to test out but did not have access to it or anyone who could guide me through the learning curve involved with acquiring a new skill.
My First Real Client Meeting
During the first week of my internship, I had the opportunity to join a team meeting with a client. This was such a cool experience for me because I didn’t know that I would be meeting with clients so soon into my internship. Bret even made sure to stop by my cubicle before the meeting to make sure I was attending. Once again, I felt like an integral member of the EWISE team even in my first week.
The client meeting lasted about an hour, and I walked out of the meeting feeling energized. Already, I was looking forward to the next client meeting. As I became more comfortable sitting in these meetings, I saw how valuable the relationships EWISE built were. Clients needed true help and guidance far more than I was expecting. It opened my eyes to how difficult owning a business or running an organization can be, and further drove home the idea that asking for help isn’t a bad thing. Throughout my internship, the EWISE team encouraged me to add my input during client meetings, and I was always introduced to clients as an employee (not an intern). This showed me just how valued I was at EWISE.
Learning By Doing
My entire life up until this summer, I learned through very clear instruction. In school, you are told exactly what you need to do in order to succeed. There is not a ton of room for creativity or a lot of personal growth. We are taught that if you follow directions and keep your head down, you should be just fine. I went into my time at EWISE with a similar mindset, ready to focus on instruction, not exploration. I was not prepared for all the freedom I was given to try new things and gain true experiential learning, which has better prepared me for post-grad life. The reality is, you will not always have a teacher or professor ready to give you step-by-step instructions. Clients don’t provide a rubric for what they want, because half the time they aren’t too sure about what exactly they want. The other half of the time, what they want isn’t what they need to be as successful as possible. I quickly learned that working together to tackle a problem was the creativity that clients were looking for. This was super insightful and fun coming out of only being in academic settings.
What I’m Up to Now
Remember when I said that I really found my niche at EWISE? As the weeks progressed, I found myself developing an interest in metrics tracking. I even wrote a blog about metrics tracking. This taught me that a job description is not everything, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Before the summer started, I never expected to help track metrics or write blogs!
I was already interested in social media analytics and insights, and the EWISE team supported me as I dove a little deeper into these metrics, learning how to understand them and apply them. I am really grateful that the EWISE team encouraged me to express interest in different projects and allowed me to explore those interests to my heart’s desire.
EWISE Marketing & Communications is unique compared to some other companies in this manner. As my interest in tracking metrics grew stronger, my tasks in this area developed into something more tangible. This is yet another thing I am so grateful for and wasn’t expecting to gain out of my internship.