Monday, July 30, 2012

The Life of a Summer Intern at: RTC

Today is the first Monday in two months that I’ve been able to sleep past 6 am, and I’m a little sad about it.  My internship with RTC, a marketing agency in Washington, DC, just ended and I am already having some serious FOMO (fear of missing out). A relationship marketing agency with a wide range of clients and an awesome group of people, I learned so much and made so many connections in the short time I was there. I had heard of RTC my freshman year when our adviser, Professor Harms, put me in contact with their HR person, however I decided not to pursue an internship that summer. Then, RTC came back onto my radar when they presented at an AMA meeting last semester (See, those meetings are better for more than free food) and I was blown away by how great it sounded. I then got back in touch with their HR person and when I went in to interview with my soon-to-be boss, I felt so much more comfortable, because by hearing her speak, I knew so much more about the company and we had plenty to talk about.  I was part of the Insights and Innovation team, which evaluates and plans marketing strategies for clients. I worked on a wide range of projects, from client-specific consumer research, to compiling a creative competitive analysis, to creating infographics about applying new technologies to marketing to serve as education tools. From all this, I learned so much. Here are just a few things:

Write, write, write!
As a marketer, you need to be able to write. In marketing, and especially in an agency, you need to learn how to communicate your point of view in the most succinct way possible and sell your idea before you lose people’s attention. This is something I plan to work on this year by writing as much as possible, whether that be in a daily journal or blog, or offering to do the writing sections in group projects. In a lot of business schools’ curriculum, there isn’t much focus placed on writing, but if you get good at it now, it will save you a lot of hassle and red pen when you get a real job.

Speak up
If you have a special skill that could add additional value to your work, speak up and let your boss know! I was placed on a project to do research about mobile strategy with another intern. We were initially supposed to just create an outline, and then send it up to the creative team to make it into an infographic, but I asked if I could give it a shot instead, and I was able to use my graphic design skills to pull the create a much more visually pleasing way to present the information. Had I not let my boss know, I would have gotten the opportunity to use multiple skills and have a better deliverable in the end.

Get out of your cubicle
One of the things that made my internship the most fun was the people that I worked with. Although you want to be a dedicated worker, you also want to make sure to connect with the people around you. Make small talk with the people in the kitchen and take the time to get to know them. I was so excited to be around such experienced marketers and wanted to know how they got to where they are now. Most people are very interested in giving you career advice or just sharing their own stories with you if you take the time to ask questions. I learned a lot from the people above me and feel like I made some great connections that will benefit me in the future.

I could go on for way longer about all the great experiences I had at RTC and I really am sad to be leaving because I feel like there is so much more for me to learn. Plus, I'll really miss the Pad Thai from the place across the street...
Hopefully I'll return to RTC in the future to take advantage of those opportunities!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Selling Space For Cash: Has the NBA gone too far with sponsorships?

           If you haven’t heard yet, the NBA has tentatively agreed to have sponsor patches on their uniforms beginning in the 2013-14 season. The patches on the uniforms will be similar to those on WNBAand European socceruniforms. With this agreement, the NBA will become the first of the four major sports leagues (for those wanting a challenge here’s a quiz on all four major sports) in the US. According to their projections, this new agreement will lead to around $100 million more in revenue for the league. While this sort of revenue may seem trivial in comparison the money paid to the players, this sort of revenue directly benefits the league.

            As you may have read already on this blog, advertising in sports is being revolutionized and becoming more and more prominent across all sports. While sponsors on NBA jerseys may not come as a surprise to most, it does bring up the question of how much is too much when it comes to advertising in sports. Stadiums and broadcasts are already flooded with large advertisements for all sorts of products that are not even relevant to sports in most cases. With uniforms starting to be sponsored, it seems like it will only be a matter of time until jerseys start to resemble NASCAR suitsand cars.

            What do you think will happen? Will the other major US sports also adopt this idea? Where should the line be drawn with sponsorships? Is THISthe future of NBA jerseys? Let us know!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Four Tips to Becoming a Successful Intern

Good news everyone, It’s almost Friday! If you are working this summer, I’m sure your respect for Friday has increased tenfold. I myself recently started a new internship with Stanley Black & Decker in the Channel Marketing division. Towson, MD is home to the Construction and DIY World Headquarters, so I work in the consumer products group for Black and Decker and Porter-Cable power tools. Since I’m still fairly new, I’ve been learning a lot of different things all at once. It’s almost like a crash course in the company. To share what I've learned, I decided to compile a list of the top 4 things I’ve recently become super familiar with. You probably aren't power tool savvy so I promise I won't lecture you on drills or jigsaws. Instead I will focus on the things most interns can relate too. If you aren’t an intern yet, I’ve included some advice for the future.

1.     Excel

If Excel were a person, I think we would be best friends right now. Or maybe Frenemies, I’m not sure.  No matter what company you are interning for it is probably a safe bet to assume you are spending some part of your day working with Excel. I myself have spent the last two days staring at it nonstop. I’m not complaining though. I’ve created the most beautiful spreadsheet I’ve ever seen. I’m considering wallpapering my cubicle with it. In all seriousness though, my expertise pre-internship applied mostly to PowerPoint and Word. So just some advice for anyone who hasn’t interned yet, familiarize your self with Excel. 

2.     Office Lingo

This one is something that will be unique to your own company. Regardless, you will have various terms to learn that will have your head spinning for the first few days. Before I began my internship I received a binder with 9 pages of acronyms used at SB&D. Wanna know my favorite? WYDWYADYGWYAG. Otherwise known as “When You Do What You Always Did, You Get What You Always Got”. Whewww, what a mouthful! I’ll be honest though, I haven’t really used that one yet. However, OPP, PPT, DIY, GSV, and a few others have been pretty commonplace (bonus points to anyone that knows what those stand for). My advice: don’t worry about remembering them all, just make sure you know the important ones. Also, don't hesitate to ask if you don’t know the meaning. Most people at the company will completely understand.

3.     Coffee
Always know where the kitchen or cafeteria is. Some companies like SB&D provide coffee, tea, and even hot chocolate for all those mornings or afternoons when you need a little pick-me-up. I always used to make fun of the commercials for 5 Hour Energy that would dramatize the 3 o’clock Crash, but laugh no more! It’s a real thing! Your eyes get heavy, you start mixing up numbers, and pretty soon your beautiful excel sheet is a mess. No worries! Go get a nice steaming cup of caffeine and you’re good to go. However, you really should go to bed early. We only have to play pretend adults for the summer, so suck it up.

4.     My Project

If you don’t know much about your project, you probably aren’t going to be a very successful intern. After all, your internship is basically a really long interview. The company is trying to deicide whether or not you are worth the investment. Don’t let them down! Impress them! Go the extra mile and do your own research. In the past two weeks I’ve learned so much about drills, routers, jigsaws, oscillating tools, and sanders through my assignments, but whenever I have free time I’m always reading customer reviews and familiarizing myself with our products. It pays to know your stuff (literally and figuratively), so learn all you can and your managers are sure to be impressed.

Now get back to work!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Calgon, Take Me Away!: Life of a Calgon Intern

   First of all, a series of very fortunate events led me to this internship. Being a freshman last year, it is generally a difficult task to find an internship your first summer after college, nonetheless a paid internship. However, my trip to New York with SUSA in the Fall, led to my discovery of terpAMA, which led to meeting a terpAMA board member who interned for Ilex Consumer Products Group last school year. When she told me Ilex was looking for a summer intern, I immediately pursued this opportunity. Long story short, network, network, NETWORK. Many employers are not apt to read a freshman’s resume unless you know someone!

            That being said, I couldn’t be happier with this internship. I work at Ilex Consumer Products Group, which is located in the warehouse at Orioles Stadium in Baltimore. Ilex Consumer Products Group is a private equity firm, which means that we invest in companies/brands in our case Calgon, St. Josephs, and Digel. I am a Marketing and Innovation intern for the Calgon brand. This brand is an older brand that currently targets the 35+ age group and is known for their slogan “Calgon, take me away.” This summer especially, the marketing team has been extremely busy innovating the brand to target younger age groups. Stay tuned next year for the new product launches---I can’t give out any secrets!
            I have learned more than I had ever imagined I would in a matter of 2 months so far. I have been involved in every step of product development starting with the concept, the research/competitor comparisons to support the concept, the Request for Quotes to retrieve pricing info from our suppliers, the Creative Service Requests to know the price of creating product designs, fragrance selection, and of course marketing strategy for our product lines. A recent project that our marketing team worked on was creating planograms to present to a potential buyer. We had to include competitor products and our existing/new products in a rendering of a 4ft shelf plan and 8ft shelf plan. I found this project extremely interesting because it was not a matter of what looks good, but really a matter of what past numbers and future forecasts show to ultimately determine what items we would discontinue, keep, or launch for 2013.

            Lastly, I manage Calgon’s social media. I have been trying to post every day on this page to keep our fans involved. I really have been leveraging our slogan by posting luxurious pictures of vacation getaways along with the words “Calgon, take me away!” This strategy has really boosted fan involvement. Another strategy is to offer frequent giveaways. These giveaways always result in an increase in page likes and page virality.

            As you can see, I could talk about this internship for hours on end because of how invaluable this experience has been thus far!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Life of a Summer Intern at: Unilever

Two years ago I got a call that I never expected. It was a Friday morning, and in addition to frustrations of pulling an all-nighter, I was anxious about the verdict from my last interview two days before. Halfway through brushing my teeth, my phone rang and flashed a number that I knew could only have been from one possible person: the Unilever HR rep. Nervous, and with a toothbrush still in my hand, I answered - and 50 short seconds later, I was pleasantly surprised by an internship offer.

So much has happened during my summers with Unilever since then, and I’ve had an amazing experience! Last year, I was working close to the Walmart headquarters in Arkansas – a pleasantly surprising state by the way – in Customer Development. I was asked to build a digitized tool to help us track “incremental retail,” essentially any sales above and beyond what we expected to make. The problem? I’d had ZERO programming experience before. So initially, I was worried, but Unilever enrolled me in a Microsoft Access class (way more beneficial than BMGT301) that really took my project forward, and that’s one of the best things about working for this company: they believe in making investments in their employees. In retrospect, it was just what I needed out of an internship – the opportunity to get completely out of my comfort zone and use both critical thinking and technical skills to create something meaningful. My only issue? I wish I’d been 21 and had a car – it’s hard to do anything in Rogers, Arkansas otherwise…

When I got an offer to come back, I hesitated; CD had been interesting, but I honestly just wanted to be in marketing. Nervous as I was about their reaction, I asked Unilever to transfer me – and they did. That was a huge learning experience: in my opinion, so long as you have a good reason for asking something of your company, absolutely do it, because you may regret it if you don’t. Now, I’m working in Brand Development (in marketing) for a really exciting product: Suave Kids! Essentially, I have to develop a long-term strategy to help us gain market share. Since my other internship and class experiences have always focused on short-term deliverables, this is still out of my comfort zone, but it’s exciting nonetheless. I’ve gotten a chance to work on everything from licensing to product innovation to sustainability, and along the road, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Ogilvy, conduct my own focus group, and plan an event for all of the interns. At a company as large as Unilever, you’ll obviously have to be patient with all of the intricate processes involved in decision-making, but if you create work for yourself even when it isn’t mandatory, people will notice it and appreciate it.

             As this is my last “internable” (word?) summer, I’m definitely hoping for a full-time offer with Unilever, ideally in marketing. Hope it works out! Feel free to email me at if you have any questions about it – I’d be happy to answer! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Social Media Takes the Gold.

It's been a long wait, 4 years exactly, but the Olympics are finally here. Well, almost.
I personally do not feel like they have done enough to hype the event - I rarely heard anything about the Olympic Stadium, and I feel like more commercials should be out in support of any Olympian representing team America. But watching the Swimming Qualifiers take place signified that the games are that much closer.

Since the Summer 2008 Olympics, much has changed in the social media world. Twitter and Facebook have grown tremendously, Facebook has gone public and YouTube continues to dominate well, life.

The summer Olympics are going to have a major effect on social media this summer, and we're all going to be a little part of that.

In 2008, Facebook had about 100 million users worldwide, and had just surpassed MySpace as the number one social media entity. Most of us were at the end of our high school years, and some at the beginning of our College years, so AIM might have been the go-to thing. But now with over 900 million users to date, Facebook continues to grow in popularity, despite the success of Twitter. Facebook will be major for our generation because it is a way to keep updated with who exactly captured the gold medal or whether Ryan Lochte beat Michael Phelps in the 200 meter freestyle. For many people, Facebook is the News.

In 2008, Twitter had a wee 6 million users. Now? Just multiply that by like 80ish... they now have over 500 million users who send about 400 million tweets a day. It's not hard to imagine the stuff that will be said during the games. One person will probably tweet one thing 10 times, but in different ways. Twitter is that source we go to to vent, regardless of how pointless what we have to say is, it's our freedom source. But not only for our sanity, there are so many sources of News be it ABC, ESPN, sports analysts - we will always have our share of information regarding the games.

Has always been big. Let's face it, it's one of a kind. No matter how much any website tries to duplicate or mimic YouTube, YouTube will always finish in number one. The stats have steadily gone up with YouTube, and obviously every event will be posted on here. Official Videos, or video's taken by someone's cell phone recording the television, we will be able to find pretty much every event on YouTube. There honestly isn't much to say about YouTube. It's YouTube.

For those of us who are busy this summer working, chillin', sleeping, eating, whatever, and do not have the chance to watch the games when they air, Social Media is our resource.

It's crazy to think how much it's changed in the past 4 years, and how important it's become in each of our lives, directly or indirectly.

I actually just found out when the games air today, but for those of you who still do not know, the Olympics air Friday, July 27, 2012, and end Sunday, August 12, 2012.

And here's the schedule for the games.

Happy Monday :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Life of a Summer Intern at: CORT Furniture

Hey everyone! Nick here to give a look in on my internship with CORT furniture. Many of you in AMA might know that we have a very good relationship with CORT as we have done quite a few consulting projects for them in the past. They are really looking to expand their rental furniture program into the college market (their program eliminates buying used furniture, assembling anything new, and the aggravations associated with short-term furniture ownership). Their new program is called CORT U and I am a big contributor to anything going on within the division. I heard about the position from our faculty adviser, Professor Harms, and got in contact with CORT's VP of Marketing. See, AMA connections really do pay off (literally)!

So far, I have loved my time at CORT. I get to sit on all the conference calls related to CORT U, including those with our advertising agency and public relations firm. Being able to speak your voice to such experienced marketers is always a cool opportunity and I would like to think that I have contributed to some of the new innovations. Plus, as I only naively found out a few weeks ago, I indirectly intern for Warren Buffet! (Buffet's conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway owns CORT).

I have already gotten a lot out of the internship and look to soak in even more chances as the summer goes on. First off, I have already made a ton of connections both in and out of the company. They give me free reign to connect with anyone who can help me with my projects. Second, I have done a ton of market research regarding what students want (through surveys) and about what colleges our services might work at. It's never a bad thing to put some of that kind of experience on a resume!

With all of the positives out of the way, I do have to say: I miss being able to say that my 'early' classes were at 11AM. Working 9 - 5 really puts some perspective on how lucky we are to be college students!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Sidevertising": Revolutionizing Sports Marketing

Whether or not you enjoyed the athletic massacre that was the UEFA Euro 2012 final, there is something that every marketer can appreciate about the world’s most popular sport: sidevertising. For a whole ninety minutes – or more, if it’s a good match – companies who run advertisements on the sideline barriers (“sidevertising”) have the unwavering attention of millions of viewers every match, and in the case of the UEFA Final, over 300 million.

But spectators watching the final on T.V. (or online) on Sunday missed more than just an evenly-matched game; they missed out on one of the most revolutionary technological advancements in the field of sports advertising: Digital Billboard Replacements.

Now, if we assume that no two consumers are exactly alike, then no two consumers should receive the exact same advertisement, right? Sure, but the bitter truth of marketing is that such a level of personalization is virtually unattainable. Digital Billboard Replacement is a creative compromise: it allows broadcasting networks to show advertisements that change based on the country in which viewers are watching the match. (To see an example, check out this video of the 2011 FA Cup Semi-Final – see the Beko ad at 0:16). How does it work? Finnish developer Supponor applies a layer of special film on the billboards that broadcast cameras can specifically target. Advertisers then use that hardware to customize advertisements for different viewerships.

Using DBR, advertisers can now send the same message in different languages, or in the case of multi-national companies, advertise different products in their relative countries of commerce. And since any billboard can be retrofitted with Supponor’s technology, DBR will inevitably redefine sports advertising as we know it. It is technology’s next step toward the advertopia that is completely-personalized marketing.
So why did DBR take the bench on Sunday instead of making its largest appearance yet? I am assuming a simple answer: it hasn’t been tested enough to guarantee error-free execution for an event of that broadcasting magnitude. I can only imagine how quickly DBR would have gotten the red card had it failed after networks had collected millions of dollars in advertising revenue.

But apparently, the future is bright; Supponor and Sports Revolution claim that we are just a few short months away from a fully-functioning system. Can you imagine the implications?! What if DBR were able to customize messaging for the nearly 5 billion viewers of the 2016 Olympics? Or if viewers could pre-register for specific types of advertisements?

Whatever the future specifically holds, I don’t see DBR sitting on the sidelines for long. I see it revolutionizing them.

How do you see DBR changing advertising in the future?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Advice Given To A Summer Intern at: JP Morgan Chase

Hey guys! This is actually my first time blogging for terpAMA!  I’m Kirsten and I want to tell you a little about my internship.  So to start off, I applied for my internship through HireSmith, a job search site through the Smith School (it really does work).  My title is an Operations Analyst Development Intern.  I work in the Treasury and Securities Services line of business.  More specifically, I work in Securities Lending and even more specifically I work in Account Management.  Essentially, I update the lender and borrower accounts in various lending systems.  To everyone there, this is considered “BAU” (Business As Usual), or the day-to-day activities.  Then, I have a couple of projects that I am working on for various groups inside the firm.  For example, I am
an honorary member of the Employee Action
Committee and I will be making a website for
the “EAC” this summer with another intern.

Now, what I really want to talk about is the advice that every summer intern is given.  I feel as if each person is repeating the same mantra, but what does it really mean?  For me, I constantly hear the refrain: Ask Questions, Think About How To Make Things Better (Process Improvement), Network, Do More Than Your Asked etc.  I was given the opportunity this morning to ask someone in senior management what exactly they were looking for.  I shared that as someone who is not particularly computer savvy (AKA did not do well in Info Systems), how was I supposed to improve processes?  She shared that when I look at what I do every day, to look at the process from start to finish and think about each step and if there is a quicker way to do them, or if they even need to be done at all.  Then, she shared that one of the most important things for an intern to do is try their hardest.  Another senior manager shared that they wanted their interns to give positive energy to their teams and not bring them down – which seems like a pretty easy way to positively contribute.  Overall, the advice that is given to summer interns sometimes seems cliche.  However, if we really take the time to think about what the advice means for us, hopefully we will be able to use it to our advantage.