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Back to School: What is Marketing?

‘So, what is marketing?’

I wasn’t expecting such a simple question to stump me for what felt like five very long seconds. We were attending the Careers Day at the local Ellesmere College, and we were prepped with a banner and on-brand coloured cupcakes (we know what kids want), ready to speak to students about a career in marketing, PR and communications.

We’re used to dealing with professionals who want to know how digital marketing can work cohesively with traditional PR, or how we can maximise the benefits of influencer partnerships on social media – we’re never asked a simple question which essentially asks, ‘what is that you do, every day?’

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein famously said that “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” We weren’t dealing with six year olds here, we were talking about our industry with curious and intelligent teenagers at a crucial decision-making point in their lives.

As well as being able to help young people as they start to carve the beginnings of their future careers, the afternoon gave us an opportunity to take a step back and go back to basics: what is it that we offer?

After a couple of practice groups of students who feigned a remarkable interest whilst clearly eyeing up the baked goods, I got into the swing of it: we essentially offer a subtle form of advertising.

As opposed to large, in-your-face adverts on the side of the motorway or shoved between TV shows (which of course do have their place), we work with businesses to identify their target audience and, most crucially, understand them. Then we use a whole host of communication lines from news stories, to profiling, to social media in order to influence their audience towards the business. This comes together into a holistic campaign, using every tool we’ve got to ensure that your brand is in front of the right people, saying the right things.

If you’ve got a growing business and thinking of taking your first step into marketing, just get in touch for a laid back chat – you never know, we might even have cake.

My Time At The Source – What To Expect From Your Work Experience

During my first year of sixth form, it was expected that as a student you would find a week of work experience during the summer term. Initially, I was terrified at the mere thought of spending an entire week in such an alien environment, with complete strangers. Being a typical teenage boy, I had no idea what I wanted to do, let alone where or with whom.

After much thought, I came to the conclusion that to compliment my A-levels: English Language, Fine Art and History, I may want to consider a career in PR or marketing. Not to mention my natural fascination with social media – being a millennial and all.

So I began scouring the internet for an agency near to home that had an interesting mix of local and national clients, and came upon Source PR. The sleek and contemporary aesthetic of their website piqued my interest, and from looking at their clients, I was very impressed. I contacted Source and felt welcomed by their enthusiastic response for work experience.

On arrival, I was made to feel right at home, with everyone at Source being extremely friendly. More importantly, I was made to feel useful, and quickly set about different tasks that were carefully explained to me by the team. One fear I had about work experience was that I would spend my hours making cups of tea or watching someone else do their job. It was a relief that my time at The Source was as engaging and exciting as it was.

I juggled: blogs, media releases, and social media. All tasks were equally valuable, and from going into the week with little to no idea of the inner workings of a PR company, I have ended the week with a new understanding of just how important PR is. Everything today is about reputation and I now know how dependent companies are on PR to help shape their image. Working here I have developed my critical thinking as every tweet or blog is written with perception in mind. How will the client, their customers, and even potential customers perceive the discourse? What effect will this perception have on the company? This idea extends to even the most minute and seemingly insignificant forms of text. Each client has their own tone and representation that they seek to create.

Over the week, I got used to the office environment and felt like a member of the team. Source employees happily answered any questions I had. I would encourage anyone partaking in work experience to be outgoing and to ask lots of questions, as it will make your week much more valuable. Speaking as someone who usually keeps his questions to himself, it is well worth trying to pipe up every now and again… even if it is just from 9-5 each day.  I best thing was that I was even made comfortable putting forward some of my own ideas and opinions – most notably when suggesting campaign ideas or proofreading texts.

The level of feedback I had during my week was exceptional. I was well commended for anything that I did right and constructively steered in the right direction for everything that I perhaps didn’t do as well in. I gladly have taken any feedback into account and encourage anyone to do the same as it will help to further your skills and knowledge – no one expects you to be perfect!

Overall, I had a great time working at Source. Each day was made fresh and interesting and the relaxing environment of the office made me interested in a potential career in PR in the future. “PR not ER” was bounced around a few times and honestly, I think it perfectly captures what my time was like at Source. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am thankful to Louis and the team for granting me the opportunity.

P.S I’d like to expend a special ‘thank you’ to Evie who was fantastic and really helped me during the week.

 

Alex is a 6th form student at West Kirby Grammar School

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