My name is Dan, I’m 21 and I have just graduated from Nottingham Trent University where I studied Business Management and Marketing. After graduating in late July, my next challenge in life is to pursue a marketing career. With only small amounts of work experience specifically in marketing and not fully knowing which area to specialise in I was finding myself lost in piles of job descriptions and Chrome tabs. Hence to help me work out the daunting question ‘what do I want to do with the rest of my life’, I decided I needed more work experience to find my direction.
Fast-forward to the 19th August – I had been offered work experience at Cognition and was on the train to Birmingham ready to start my first day. After a friendly welcome from the team I was presented a detailed two-week plan of the different departments and projects I was going to be working on. This was quite a surprise to me due to hearing many stories from friends who had previously had work experience throughout various industries. I was anticipating that only my tea and coffee skills would be developed. How wrong I was!
In at the deep end?
My first few days were spent in the account and client service side of the agency, working on the initial strategy development based off the fact finds for major global projects. I found this interesting because of the innovative process of trying to think of new ways to reach the target audience. After these initial few days and during my entire time at the agency, one thing I am grateful for is the feedback I was given on the work I completed. It was a great feeling to see it used and not just brushed aside.
After my time in accounts I then moved into the creative/web development team working on the pitch. This involved competitor research, analysing a prospective client’s current website and then contributing to ideas on how a new design of their website should look. I thought web development was just for people who like IT. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, due in large part to the systematic but creative approach to tasks.
My third and final rotation was in the social media/content team, who had me researching for suitable content and writing posts for various social media accounts. This project also involved me learning a new software called Canva, which is a platform that helps you to create visual content to go along with the posts. Out of all the different projects I worked on, I found this the most challenging, due to trying to write the content in more of a conversational tone, rather than just ‘selling’. But after great feedback I improved this aspect of my work.
Real world scenarios and valuable feedback
One preconceived notion I had before starting at the agency was that the atmosphere would be intense and frantic, with close supervision from management. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. The atmosphere was calm and relaxed, giving you time to think critically about your work. Another key insight I picked up from the two weeks was how the different departments in a marketing agency interact with each other to give value to clients. This will be valuable in the future as I will be able to appreciate the considerations and needs of all kinds of different departments.
These two weeks have given me confidence in my abilities and shown that I can perform in a marketing agency environment and not just scenario projects at university. It has also helped me clarify the specialist area of marketing I want to pursue, which is more of a client-facing role that plans out strategies and campaigns.