A view from the future…
Some insights from an intern, stepping into the world of tech and marketing for the very first time.
9th April 2021
Some insights from an intern, stepping into the world of tech and marketing for the very first time – with no pre-conceptions – and reminding us of our responsibility to create an encouraging environment for future employees.
When I was offered the chance to spend a four-day week with the team at ContentCal and get a sneak peek into the realities of SaaS and start-ups, I jumped at the chance and wanted to share a few things I picked up along the way.
It’s a strange time to be a student. We can see the world of work changing around us, flagship businesses that have been on the high street for our entire lives disappearing, family dining tables being turned into offices and our classrooms being replaced by laptops.
Trying to learn and educate yourself for a future that seems so uncertain, is pretty tough. And seeing so much change in such a short time has made me start thinking about what the right next steps are for me. So, I wanted to spend some time within a business that is managing well, despite the pandemic, and see what it’s really like to be a part of an industry that all future careers are likely to touch upon in some way - tech!
Here’s a breakdown of my week and my thoughts…
I was slightly nervous about my first day. Isn’t everyone? Even though I wasn’t going into a physical office environment, I was joining a very successful company, albeit as an intern, and that’s very daunting!
I expected my induction to be based on research and reading, but was amazed when the Founder and CEO, Alex Packham, invited me to talk directly with him. We spoke about my goals for the internship, what I wanted to do, possible tasks for the week and even discussed if there could be a future for me in social media marketing. Alex was genuinely invested in what I had to say, and having done multiple internships now, I have never been welcomed into a company with such open arms, let alone by the CEO. This really motivated me to make the most of the opportunity.
I spent most of my first day conducting research. I learnt about the morals, values and culture of the company and gathered an understanding of what they have to offer. Normally, the idea of spending a day on a computer researching isn’t something I would relish, but I genuinely enjoyed every second of it. I learnt about ContentCal’s mission and vision. I learnt about their statistics and revenue, and customer rates, which as a maths A level student, was right up my street.
Having this time to connect with the company’s objectives helped me feel prepared for the rest of the week. It’s easy to think that interns don’t need that level of information, or just show up to do what they are told – but the more you can bring us into the workings of the business, the more purpose we’ll see in our role and the more value we can add.
On my second day I was introduced to other members of the team. The first person was Katie, Head of Content Marketing. Katie helped me set goals for the week and figure out what meetings would be most beneficial for me to attend, to broaden my knowledge and even start thinking about which areas of business could guide my academic direction.
The opportunity to shadow the marketing team gave me some great exposure. We were even able to exchange our puppy antics which was really amusing and extremely cute. And a reminder that there are benefits to working remotely.
I also spoke with Hayley who runs sales operations. Hayley, very thoroughly, gave me a full rundown of the sales tracking system. Hayley was able to show me social media analytics around new customers sign ups and the whole customer journey. Again, this isn’t necessarily something you expect to get access to as an intern, but it introduced me to a whole part of business that I had never thought about before. Taking time to teach interns a wide range of skills and share varied knowledge, could really help create the next generation of experts! It’s never pointless or a waste of time, if someone wants to intern with your business – it’s because they want to learn everything you have to offer.
Hayley and I also looked at the sales forecast, which shows predicted sales and revenue. Despite being a teenager, who is supposed to be up to date and knowledgeable on all the latest tech and gadgets, I was surprised at how advanced business technology is, and how the possibilities are infinite.
Today I had the privilege of listening in on a conversation between ContentCal’s CEO Alex Packham, and Steven Bartlett, a serial entrepreneur and self-made millionaire, who is preparing for a ContentCal webinar. Their discussion highlighted the challenges and rewards of running a successful business, managing a team, and being innovative - all while facing the potential of failure. It was fascinating to hear their perspectives on how to run a business. I felt very inspired to become the next big entrepreneurial businesswomen.
I then joined an informal content meeting, where the team caught up about their week and how it was going workwise. This was great for me, as someone who’s still unsure on what I want to pursue career-wise, I got to dive deeper into the marketing industry and see the sort of roles available. If you asked me what marketing was before my internship began, I would have told you it was advertising. I now understanding marketing to be about the relationships and communications you build with customers. Understanding the wants, needs and desires of your audience, and letting them know how you strive to meet those. Whether that’s by writing thank you emails, playing golf with prospective clients, returning calls and emails quickly, or chatting with clients over a quick (virtual) coffee.
My closing meeting with Alex was the center of my day – along with writing this blog! As quickly as this four-day whirlwind began, it was coming to an end. Alex was really intrigued to hear how I felt as a digital intern. I could honestly tell him that I really enjoyed it! Yes, I missed out on big parts of the working experience, like commuting and being in the office environment. But, in a way, I was able to do so much more from home, with less stress and more time. It’s astonishing to think about how far a reach we have from our own homes. Despite the horrors that this pandemic has brought about, the advancement in technology really has been impressive and ContentCal certainly made the most of that! …
Even though this internship was only four-days, it was really valuable to me. It encouraged confidence by allowing me to contribute ideas and ask questions, and gave an amazing insight into what makes a successful team. At the beginning, I mentioned ContentCal continued to thrive despite the pandemic, and I think that’s down to more than just a great product. The amazing team work so well together, and Alex’s leadership is really inspirational – as is his leadership team. It’s people that make the difference between a company that welcomes you and motivates you – and a company that barely notices they have an intern.
If you ask me what my biggest takeaway from the internship was, I will tell you that it’s learning that the team, the culture, the passion and the belief in the product, is what makes a business thrive. Spending time at ContentCal, learning about sales and marketing, has really let me see a potential future career within this type of business. And maybe, in ten years-time, a young intern could be writing about me!