By Amanda Wynne
Spring is in the air — flowers are already in bloom in parts of the country. But even though it may feel like summer is a long way off, it isn’t. Students are already gearing up for their summer employment and internships. So, it’s vital that you snap up the available talent while you can.
Interns can be a vital part of your marketing organization. Too often marketing teams don’t realize the incredible boost that interns can bring them. So, let’s take a look at six great reasons to recruit a new class of interns for your marketing organization.
Attack That Analytics Work
Business schools have realized that marketing is no longer simply an art. They’ve recognized the data-driven tidal wave that has swept over the marketing profession. That’s led to more statistics and analytics courses being infused into marketing curricula. We’re seeing more and more business students exiting their degree with a profound understanding of data analysis — an understanding that more tenured marketers often had to learn while working.
That level of skill with data analysis and the tools needed to support it can be a boon for your team. Think about the number of data projects that have been shelved due to a lack of time and resources. There’s likely a lot. You might want to reevaluate whether your events strategy has been paying off. Or what conversion rates truly look like at the next level down. Maybe find out how well MQLs are converting and why rejected leads happen.
A marketing intern can be quickly pointed to the data and asked to come up with recommendations based on the data they find.
Research Based Content Marketing
Another great data analysis opportunity comes to you in the area of content marketing. Some of the most valuable pieces of content are those that contain data and analysis of that data. The data could be internal — generated by users of your products. Or it could be disparate industry sources that have been poorly assessed to date.
When you combine the marketing student’s data awareness with the sheer volume of papers they write as part of their course work, well, you’ve got a great combination. They can evaluate the data and draft a research piece that evaluates it. Sure, they may not have the subject matter expertise that the rest of your team has. But because they’ve done so much of the analysis, they can tag-team with a more senior colleague to produce a killer piece.
Then, if you have a design intern, that designer can package the research and writing up into a neat piece of content. One that you might have paid tens of thousands for if outsourced.
Business Plan Work
Continuing on the thread of research and analysis is the idea of focusing your intern on a business plan. A lot of marketing course work is built around financial analysis and case studies. Say you’ve been considering expanding into a new market or maybe adding a new product. You can focus the intern on analyzing the space, gathering data and primary research about what the opportunity is.
Again, they may lack expertise in your industry. But that’s OK. By doing the leg work on the research, they are setting you up to decide on where to focus analysis and make better choices about tackling your next market.
Most marketing students today are going to be in the millennial age bracket. And if your business targets millennials, their expertise can be invaluable. Even if millennials aren’t your primary buyer in your target accounts, they may be an important influencer.
Consider the SDR sales tools space. Although many of the buyers may not be millennials, many of the SDRs themselves may influence the ultimate decision. As a result, your millennial intern may have interesting insights that can yield better programs and targeting.
Build Your Hiring Pipeline
Hiring great talent isn’t easy. You don’t know the true caliber of a person’s work. You don’t know if they’ll be a corporate culture fit. And it can take a long time for the new hire to get up to speed on your products and market.
But you can completely short circuit these issues by building your marketing intern pipeline. When you bring interns in, you have months’ worth of evaluation of their work. You can evaluate how well they match the rest of your team’s strengths. And you can ramp them up on your industry over time.
In fact, we’ve seen a successful model where interns were hired and worked over the summer. Then, a select few were retained as part-time interns through the school year. And then they often got offers when they graduated. That’s an efficient path to keep great hires coming onto your team.
Give Back to the Community
It’s not all about how it helps you. It’s also about how you can help the community. By supporting local and regional schools, you’re building a strong community of marketing experts. And that process reinforces itself. Schools that have great internship opportunities in turn attract better students. That means you’re reinforcing a process that will help your team for years to come.
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