When I chose to leave my hometown of Decatur to attend Auburn University, I originally planned to pursue a degree in animal science. After a year of classes, I quickly decided it was not the career path for me. This left me wandering aimlessly through other potential career paths for about six months. Finally, one day, I had an epiphany. I love writing, event planning and creating – so why not study public relations? Fast forward a year and here I am, interning at Red Sage, an award-winning, full-service marketing agency in my hometown.
Upon entering my summer internship, I knew absolutely nothing about marketing. Afterall, I had only taken a few core classes thus far. As my internship comes to an end, though, I can confidently say I’ve gained immense knowledge in marketing, managing a business, and life in general. So, I decided to share the top four lessons I’ve learned as a marketing intern.
Take time to establish a relationship with your clients
One of the first lessons I learned at this company was the importance of building and maintaining a positive relationship with your clients. At Red Sage, clients aren’t someone who needs a website built or logo designed, but are someone with business goals, marketing expectations, and above all, a friend. The value of making your clients feel listened to and cared about is immeasurable and beneficial for everyone, regardless of the industry you work in.
Take time to understand your client’s message and audience
I also learned to stay focused on the message you want to get across and remember your target audience. This can be easy to forget during project design, but it is critical. Whether you are putting together a brochure, website, or sales flyer, you need to have a clear and concise message. Also, consider what medium you are using to convey your message. Some demographics can’t be reached through certain methods of marketing, so why waste time and money advertising a message that isn’t going to be seen by who you are trying to reach?
Take time to evaluate where you’ve been & where you’re going
Working for a small business in my hometown gave me the chance to see the aspects of growing your own business. Under the direction of our fearless leader, Ellen Didier, Red Sage continues to be successful and adaptive in the ever-changing field of marketing. I’ve learned that the secret to this is frequently evaluating your own business at the “30,000-foot view.” What do you do well? What could you improve on? It’s imperative not to lose sight of your own business plan while focused on client projects.
Take time to bond with your team
The most important lesson I learned overall is the importance of bonding with your team and to never underestimate the power of good food to bring people together. A company’s culture is reinforced by what you do together outside of the office. One of our favorite places to eat, Josie’s Mediterranean Café, served as a place for a company communion of sorts. We shared great food, our stories, and caught up on each other’s lives. When your coworkers become people you know personally, the culture shifts from politely impersonal to genuine and connected.
As I sit behind my desk on my last day at Red Sage, reflecting on the valuable lessons I’ve learned from my internship this summer, Michelle and Sarah pack for an upcoming conference. Teresa and Alex discuss a web project, and Rayna reaches for some of the fancy Japanese candy she keeps stashed at her desk. Ashley and Jennifer are working away at writing website content and Ellen is offering creative direction on a new brochure we’re designing. We’ll all head out this afternoon for the weekend, and they will all come back Monday to do what they do best: find innovative solutions for clients and move the company forward to bigger and better things.
Thank you to the Red Sage team for teaching me all that you have on marketing and growing a business. I’m confident that interning with this company was exactly where I needed to be this summer and will benefit me in the future. Wishing you all the very best!
Interested in interning with Red Sage? Check out our website for more info!