Marketing Internships – How to Make it a Success

Small Business

marketing internships

Marketing internships are the next step for many marketing graduates. You’ve worked hard slogging away at University for three years learning all you can about marketing.  Now you’re ready to get started. A degree is the base requirement you need to work in marketing and an internship is fast becoming standard practice too. 

Most employers will view your degree as teaching you how to think about marketing. It has given you exposure to the key concepts involved.  But what you will likely not have is the practical experience of how marketing works with a business.  And that’s what you’ll get out of any marketing internships you can secure. You are strong on theory but lacking experience when it comes to implementation.

Marketing Internships – 4 Keys to Success

Your employer won’t expect you to know everything about how marketing applies within their business. But you can improve your chances of getting your marketing internships by following these tips:

  1. Adopt an Ongoing Learning Mindset

Now that you’ve finished your degree, the real world learning starts in earnest. How can you get a jump on your fellow graduates?  You can:

  • Read up on latest marketing tips – some good sites to put together in a Feedly blog roll are KISSmetrics, Hubspot, Mashable and Seth Godin. There are many to pick from and you don’t have to read every article but it is good to see what is topical.
  • Research different tools – look for review sites that provide more detailed information about the different tools.  You can do this for areas like social media management, email marketing, content generation, headline analysis etc.
  • Read a diverse range of marketing books – you’ve probably already read quite a few books as part of your degree so focus now on the areas of marketing that interest you most.
  • Don’t focus on trying to have all the answers. Instead, think about asking good questions. Questions that show you have thought about the issues involved.

    The right business will welcome your questions because they want you to learn by being an active participant. The wrong business will make you feel uncomfortable when you ask questions. There are lessons to be learnt from both types of business but notice in interviews which companies welcome your questions and which don’t.

  1. Research Small Business Marketing

Accept that you probably won’t start a marketing internship working for one of the big companies you’ve read case studies on. According to a Treasury report in 2012, 95.9% of all businesses in Australia are classified as ‘small’. Research the issues faced by small businesses.

In general, they are more focused on results from their marketing spend and are less likely to put considerable resources into building their brand, something larger corporates invest heavily in and consider essential.  My book is all about marketing for small business and can give you a practical approach to what small business owners look for.

  1. Be Proactive in Seeking out Marketing Experience

Be proactive and show your marketing nous wherever you can.  This could be at local markets, selling things on eBay or helping out a friend’s business with their Facebook page. Get hands on experience so you’ll learn and have something extra to talk about in an interview for a marketing internship.

Even if it doesn’t work out like you hoped, you can still use it because you can talk about what you’ve learned. Employers won’t expect you to know everything.  Most will appreciate your honesty and awareness that you don’t know everything there is to know about marketing.

  1. Social Media Isn’t Everything

Accept that marketing isn’t all about social media. Yes, it has a high profile.  And it’s important but many businesses don’t depend on it for the majority of their leads. The emphasis that social media plays in a company’s marketing strategy depends on who their target market is and how they typically behave.

For example, a company that markets to other businesses is probably not going to be a big social media user.  They won’t be expecting to find their customers on Facebook or Instagram.  LinkedIn is probably going to be more important to them as its more business focused.

The important thing to remember is there is always something new to learn in the world of marketing. A marketing internship or job in marketing will bring you face to face with many challenges.  As long as you’re open to learning from these, you’ll gain a wealth of practical knowledge that will enable you to advance your career.