graphic via zoitz.com
With labor day approaching, I thought I would write a post for current students. Every year, I meet with many talented interns who are thinking about entering the field of marketing. Here's one question that came up this year:
If there are no companies where I can intern over the school year, how can I get enough experience to be hired in a marketing capacity after college?
Marketing is a fairly broad idea. If you think about the classic umbrella definition of the 4 Ps (Product, Place, Promotion, Price), a majority of activities for every organization would fall under that umbrella. You can debate the completeness or validity of the 4Ps, but if you subscribe to this classic definition, marketing is everywhere.
For practical experience, working at the Student Union—especially if you “own” or serve as a temporary “owner” of a student business—would be very helpful. You could also join a club (archery, student government, Habitat for Humanity, Greek organization, juggling, whatever).
Every business or organization needs to have a product or service that people want, and put into action some plan to build a base of customers, members or stakeholders. Even organizations which might not have a traditional product/service, such as a political organization, needs marketers. After all, the Obama campaign was considered among the best marketing campaigns in 2008.
Bottom line: to run a successful organization, you need good marketing, whether or not you call it “Marketing.” If you can make an organization (more) successful, you’re going to be able to make a case that you have had success in marketing. You will have understood your customers’ needs, you will have communicated your offering, and you will have acted to satisfy those customer needs.