It’s an amazing thing when a University education meets real-world experience. This summer I had the incredible opportunity of interning at PMD, and as a McMaster University Communications and Multimedia student, it was the perfect place for me to emerge myself into an industry I’m passionate about and soak up all the knowledge I could get my hands on. I expected to learn a ton, but reflecting on my time at PMD I realize how much my skills and knowledge really grew.
I have learned a ton from my University education, but there are certain things I wouldn’t have been able to learn without interning at PMD. This experience has opened my eyes to so many things, but there are 3 major learning lessons that I know I will apply every day in my future career.
It’s all about the people.
Connections and community, that’s what it’s all about. I’ve found this in both building meaningful connections with clients and with consumers. Marketers are simply bridge builders, connecting people who are interested in something to those who are providing it. The more connections that are built the bigger the community grows, and a growing community of people sharing their passions is the goal. In order for this growth to happen, a connection between client and consumer has to be built.
A huge factor in helping a connection between client and consumer grow is having an existing connection between the marketing team and the business. I can’t imagine how much valuable knowledge would be lost if we didn’t have intentional conversations with clients about the industry they’re passionate about. If building a community based on shared interest is the goal, it only makes sense that the marketing comes straight from the source of passion. The businesses are the ones that are the experts about what they’re selling, the marketers are the ones connecting the community. There’s a lot of brilliant ideas and skill that fuels effective digital marketing, but what I’ve seen at the root of it all is building meaningful connections.
There’s more to it than a great design.
As a fine artist and someone who’s always had a love for graphic design, I thought I would be learning about how to build great looking websites and social media presence. A great looking digital presence is what its all about, right? Wrong. Design is a key part of it, and I’ve loved seeing how ideas have evolved into beautiful masterpieces, but there’s so much more to it.
When it comes to social media, a connection is built on being resourceful. Sure having a great-looking page and offering services is all-important, but no connection can be built on a one-sided relationship. It’s all about what the business can do for its customers, not the other way around.
In the world of websites, I’ve found that there are three things that get overlooked too often: quality content, SEO, and call to action. Simply put, quality content is the foundation of any quality website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key. The structure of any website should be built around internal and external factors that boost search engine ranking. You could have an awesome looking dance studio website, but if when people type in “dance studio Peterborough” you appear on page 5 of Google, you miss out on a huge amount of people that are looking for businesses like you.
My experience at PMD has really opened my eyes to how often this happens. Finally, call to action. If the purpose of your website isn’t clear, you could be driving people to your website without gaining business because there’s no clear path to take action. If growing is the reason a business’s website exists, it makes so much sense to me that driving people to it and making the follow-through as clear as possible should be a top priority.
Even when it comes to graphic design, there’s so much more to it than the visual product. The words, the messaging, the call to action is all-important. I exercised my creative mind and visual eye over the course of my internship, but thinking logically and critically proved to be just as important.
The Learning Never Stops.
Working in marketing means staying up-to-date. Everything is always changing – the world, people, and technology are evolving quickly and marketing is all about staying in touch with the changes to be effective now. Even over the course of the 4 months that I have been at PMD strategies and digital tools have constantly been changing. Although I step into my next chapter with a significantly larger knowledge of the current state of digital marketing, I know it doesn’t end here. A huge part of my future career will be consistently staying open, flexible, and adapting to constant changes. Not only staying open to the changes but making a point of seeking them out. As a student, I’m always eager to learn, but I realize now that my openness to learn will only get stronger living in a fast-paced world.
I’m so grateful for what has been an incredible learning opportunity these past 4 months. I feel so lucky to have been able to learn from what I truly believe to be the best in digital marketing, a team of brilliant/innovative/creative minds and just all-around great people. I’m so excited to take all the knowledge and skills I have grown and apply them and build on them (especially being extra knowledgeable in my fourth-year seminars).