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Courtney’s Confessions

WEEK ONE

I have finished my first week (well, technically first two days) at Points Group and I cannot be more eager to begin my future projects within the Media Buy Department, utilizing Salesforce. When I first walked through the PG doors, I had a feeling that this summer internship was going to be exciting. Danielle and Allyson (aka The Intern Welcome Wagon) were eager to meet and greet us. They helped us settle into our workspaces, and become familiar with the people and the environment – including the scooters. (Oh, yes, there are scooters!) On the first day, we spent time with our mentors and learned about their clients and current projects. Then, there was a cupcake social in the building lobby – what a great way to start an internship! Although the second day lacked cupcakes, it offered the hands-on experience I craved. We went through onsite optimization training with Matt (the head of Digital Marketing) and then we were on our own to tackle our very first project. The first week may have been short, but it was jam-packed with adventure. I am already looking forward to the upcoming weeks.

WEEK TWO

After a long holiday weekend, I was eager to return to Points and begin my projects. The first project I worked on gave me the opportunity to be introduced to our clients and learn more about them. I researched the clients on their websites and suggested specific domains and media platforms for their advertisements. I was very eager to learn how to utilize Salesforce, a customer relationship management platform that I would be working with thoroughly. After a brief training meeting with Lauren (a referral marketer) and Suzanne (my mentor), I was able to input media vendors’ data into Salesforce all on my own. It became obvious how crucial Salesforce is in order to build and maintain important relationships as well as communicate with your clients and customers. The most exciting part of my week was going out to lunch for a meeting with Suzanne and PG’s print and digital representatives from Gannett. It was a great experience learning about our relationship with Gannett and the different advertisement platforms they can offer our clients. I also got to hear about some of the difficulties that arise when purchasing advertising services for our clients when they are located all over the state of New Jersey. Overall, it was a great week full of new experiences!

WEEK THREE

There was so much to learn and do this week! The interns had an initial team meeting for PG’s Grand Opening Event. This is the summer project the interns are spearheading, and it was great to begin brainstorming and developing ideas for an event so grand. Another exciting part of my week was attending the Florida client acquisition meeting with Thomas and the development team. My responsibilities included researching potential clients in the Florida target areas as well as inputting their information into Salesforce. I also learned how to assign tasks in Salesforce so the referral marketers can reach out to potential clients. Mastering my fundamental Salesforce skills while expanding my knowledge of the CRM platform has been an ongoing process.

Meanwhile, I had another lunch meeting with Suzanne and our WCTC radio representative. I was very fortunate to be a part of this meeting and hear from someone with vast experience in the radio industry. I learned about measuring radio listener activity and how it has changed throughout the years.

Alas, the intern get-to-know-you scavenger hunt has come to an end. This scavenger hunt was a fun opportunity to spark conversations with all the employees in the office (despite the occasional awkwardness when asking random questions). I learned we have an ex-race car driver, an avid marathon runner and someone who has personally met President Obama!

WEEK FOUR

This week my time management and organizational skills were really put to the test! By the looks of it, my “PG To-Do list” sheet was certainly utilized effectively. I continued my research on potential Florida clients and inputting their information into Salesforce. I also began to help develop the Portal Toolkit, one of Points Group’s upcoming products. This week I was really eager to work on the new Media Buy projects with Suzanne, my mentor. We worked together on the initial brainstorming steps of developing University Orthopedic Associates’ Strong campaign. Primarily, we created several buyer personas for the campaign. This put my knowledge from my business classes to work as I was forced to think about all the components of a marketing plan including the objectives, target market, and goals. In addition to the UOA Strong campaign, I worked on the Media Buy for Summit Medical Group-Lincoln Park, researching and strategizing various advertising options. It was eye-opening to learn about the pricing of the various advertising platforms available as well as the numerous possibilities a customer can ultimately purchase.

WEEK FIVE

As my media buy knowledge progresses, I continue to work on my ongoing projects. In particular, I dove further into a specific client’s media buy. Utilizing the figures Suzanne and I researched, I calculated the cost for a specific time period and size of the advertisement for targeted newspapers in their area. This was a great hands-on experience to learn about media buy strategizing. I learned that you always have to be thinking and that it is important to play with your options to give clients the opportunity to see how they can wisely spend their money. Ultimately, you must find the best bang for their buck.

This week, I was also introduced to SharpSpring Marketing Automation. I explored this software and started to become familiar with all the unique and valuable functions it offers. I am looking forward to my future projects which will combine both my Salesforce knowledge and current projects with SharpSpring.

WEEK SIX

I am very excited about my role in helping Points expand and grow as a business in the Boca Raton, Florida area. I continue to utilize Salesforce and SharpSpring every day in order to research and build relationships with potential Florida clients. Katie and Danielle recently attended the MGMA Annual Conference in Florida where they networked and talked with prospective clients and partners. Upon their return, I inputted information from the business cards they collected into Salesforce in order for them to reach out to and follow up with those who expressed interest in Points.

But my work with Salesforce did not end there. Through this CRM solution, I also created a campaign for the grand opening of our Florham Park office. In addition, I also learned how to run reports and add contacts to the campaign.

Switching from Safesforce to Adweek, I was given the opportunity to tune into an Adweek webinar, Winning Crowded Inboxes: Why Smarter Segmentation Ensures Deeper Email Engagement, given by Jamie Bradley, a content marketing strategist at Emma Email Marketing. I learned that the two biggest factors which influence open rates of emails are the subject line and the organization originating the email. Bradley also emphasized the importance of personalization, and marketing automation and segmentation when aiming to maximize email engagement with current and potential customers.

WEEK SEVEN

SharpSpring and Salesforce are slowly becoming my two best friends. I use them constantly and the more I use them, the more my knowledge grows.

This week, I began adding members to the Salesforce campaign for the PG Florham Park grand opening event. This involved communicating with the account managers regarding their clients. If information was missing, I did more client research resulting in further client familiarity. I look forward to planning the logistics and organizing the event as the date grows closer.

In addition, I learned more about building SharpSpring automation lists. These lists allow one to do many different tasks, including sending out email blasts to a specific group of contacts and monitoring the activity of these contacts. It was very interesting learning about all the triggers and filters you can set for a dynamic list. The criteria options are very specific as you can separate contacts who opened an email and clicked on the link from those who have just opened the email. After exploring and learning about the automation lists, I started creating some. Utilizing the various criteria, I built three separate lists:

  1. Contacts from the MGMA 2016 Conference
  2. Members of the Points grand opening campaign
  3. Leads through the Florida page

The leads through the Florida page is particularly beneficial in order to develop relationships with any contacts who show interest or activity on the Points Group Florida page.

Creating these lists is crucial for a business to grow and utilizing these tools has helped me grow, as well. I am given access to a world of marketing I never knew existed.

WEEK EIGHT

This week my knowledge and understanding of SharpSpring advanced significantly as I was assigned more projects working in the marketing automation software. I have even helped other employees in the office, answering their questions regarding the software!

To maximize the number of attendees at the Points’ Florida seminar in August, I created three automated lists to track and classify contacts: those who opened the email invite, those who did not open the email invite and, lastly, those who opened the email and RSVP’d on our page. It’s important to manage these lists because they allow us to separate contacts based on their interests on our site and their response activity to our emails. In addition, they allow us to send more personalized emails, which results in higher conversions.

I have become very comfortable with working in SharpSpring. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn and master SharpSpring and Salesforce, two common marketing software that will definitely aid my future career path.

WEEK NINE

As August approaches and my weeks here at Points are slowly dwindling, I am enjoying working on my final projects and taking advantage of my time in the office. Part of the internship experience included a presentation to the account managers, where we taught them something new. Suzanne and I teamed up to present about media buying with my part of the presentation focusing on programmatic TV advertising. (I learned a great deal about this from Suzanne as well as extensive research from various blogs and articles.) My presentation discussed how this emerging advertising medium operates using software technology and how it can be successful at Points in the near future.

Through preparing for my presentation, I realized my knowledge in media buying has developed tremendously. I am very eager to start planning a media buy budget for one of our clients on my own.

Meanwhile, I have had many exciting and unique experiences in and outside of the office, including a company baby shower, a crafting session decorating colorful unicorns, and a game of Exploding Kittens (don’t worry, it’s a family-friendly card game). I also had the opportunity to do referral marketing with Lauren. We promoted a client at the local Farmers Market in Madison. It was fascinating to learn about the type of marketing we perform outside of the office and how easy it is to give our clients significant exposure in the local area.

WEEK TEN

Wow! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun (and learning a lot). I look back on these past 12 weeks, and I can’t even begin to write down all the career-related skills I have learned, projects I have worked on and professional experiences I have had.

So, I will just zero in on all my exciting tasks from the past couple of weeks. For starters, I was given the opportunity to work on a media buy budget plan. I researched the target market and potential advertising mediums for the client. From there, I planned a proposal for their fourth quarter media buy, which included information like the medium, run dates, material’s due date, frequency and total investment (net and gross).

In addition to media buys, I was also able to work with referral marketing and PR. I called numerous practices in Florida to inform them about our Florida event and sent them an invitation via fax. I shadowed referral marketer Debbie to learn the standard script and pick up some professional tips when calling a practice. I even helped manage a post-event press release for one of our clients.

It’s amazing how much I’ve learned and grown not just in the past few weeks, but the entire summer. I can strongly say that I enjoyed this internship experience, one where I became integrated into the company not as a summer intern but as a valuable employee. I value the opportunities I had to help the company expand into a new area and develop a new product. I will take my newfound knowledge of marketing software and memories of all these great working relationships with me. Thank you, Points!

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