Millennials in Marketing [Interview]

**Originally published on LinkedIn**

This summer at Dell, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to not only learn more about search marketing, but also collaborate with 3 other amazing interns in the marketing department. As the internship comes to an end, I want to share some insights to inspire other students pursuing the industry. Check out the Q&A below to gain some perspectives on millennials in marketing, featuring Tina Mai (Marketing Communications Intern), Destiny Sze (Digital Media Intern), Annie Yang (Web Analytics Intern) and me (Search Marketing Intern).

What excites you most about marketing?

Tina: Definitely the people. One of the first things that drew me to marketing rather than another fields was the opportunity to learn about and interact with people in a visceral way. It’s stimulating to me because it gives me a chance to really analyze the world we live in and understand what motivates each type of person.

Destiny: I love how you can connect people with marketing. Marketing allows you to strategically create positive human experiences. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and thinking outside of the box.

Annie: What excites me most about marketing is being in a field that can influence people’s decisions. Marketing is found everywhere, whether people notice it or not. When you’re on Facebook, you’ll see targeted ads based on what you like, who your friends are and what your friends like. When you’re searching on Google, certain results rank higher than others for a reason. Even when you’re buying coffee, there is so much thought that goes behind creating that brand identity that persuaded you to buy that particular coffee in the first place.

Priscilla: I love that trends constantly change. With the ball constantly rolling, working in marketing pushes me to think outside the box and strategize creative ways to create growth.

What are some main responsibilities in your role?

Tina: As the Marketing Communications Intern, I write copy for various mediums such as the things you check when you wake up every morning — emails! I help with writing landing pages and anything else that might need assistance with getting written like those little ads you’ll see on other websites or even a page on our own main website. Every so often, I also get to delve a bit into design with the Creative Services team to help make graphics like email signature banners or vector art for booth panels. In short, my main job is to create content to pull our customers in with.

Destiny: As a Digital Media Intern, I assist in the coordination of media. Advertising takes a lot of planning so it’s important to make sure our content is reaching the right audiences at the time they need it most.

Annie: During my internship with the Analytics team, I learned to use tools like Adobe Analytics and Microsoft Excel to pull data, create reports and analyze findings regarding our site performance. I enjoyed the fact that I can use qualitative and quantitative techniques to approach research and analysis and that my findings are valued by different parts of the organization.

Priscilla: As a Search Marketing Analyst Intern, I get to analyze and implement data while suggesting new opportunities for growth in our online presence. From creating PPC campaigns to link-building, many of my responsibilities allow me to make direct impact to our digital strategies.

How do you think millennials have changed the culture of “working”?

Tina: Millennials have definitely reshaped the work culture in recent years and broken boundaries in terms of what traditional work environments were like. Nowadays, I think that “working” isn’t just a place to get work done anymore. It’s a place to continue your learning outside of the classroom and to continue meeting new people who inspire you to reach your goals and constantly create new ones. An ideal work culture for millennials now is one that encourages us to go beyond our own expectations — to learn more and do more than just what our position title is.

Destiny: I think millennials have changed the way people think about going to work. Work isn’t just clocking in and clocking out anymore. Now it’s about connecting people in the workplace and having people genuinely enjoy doing what they do. I believe that if people are passionate about their work, it reaches the market in a much more authentic way.

Annie: When millennials decide where they want to work, they consider many factors besides just financial rewards. They care a lot about personal development, work-life balance and work culture. It’s great to see how more and more companies nowadays are trying to promote themselves in these aspects when recruiting.

Priscilla: I’ve noticed that we’re no longer a generation of suits and ties but a group of individuals who embrace creative differences. Millennials love companies that emphasize transparency, diversity and lack of hierarchical thinking. Nowadays, a paycheck isn’t the only factor to a job. Millennials look for personality-fit and the ability to learn beyond what the position offers.

As a marketer, how do you think your personal brand influences your actions?

Tina: The more I’ve experienced, the more I’ve realized that it’s all about authenticity. Your actions are your personal brand and what you do tells a lot more about yourself than what you say about yourself. So if I work hard, then working hard will become a part of what people perceive my personal brand to be but if I slack off, then slacking will leave its mark on my personal brand as well. I think it’s essential to remember your actions play a huge part in forming your personal brand and professional identity.

Destiny: I’ve learned that it’s important to stay true to yourself and your work. If you can do that, then your work will have a natural authenticity. This is especially true for marketing because you want to reach people in a way that feels genuine and builds brand loyalty.

Annie: Your personal brand is an accumulation of different facets of you. Besides work, I think it’s just as important to invest time into other hobbies and interests. The more activities you try, the more knowledge you have; the more places you go, the easier it will be to relate to others. And that is something I’ve learned in one my Psychology classes: people like people whom they can relate to.

Priscilla: Seeing how social media has impacted consumer decisions, I’ve learned that it’s important to build your brand both online and offline. Just like how it’s important to build connections in person, I think it’s equally important to share your perspective to an online community whether it’s through blogging, networking or sharing.

What lessons will you take away from your current internship at Dell?

Tina: Don’t take feedback or constructive criticism personally. Since my main responsibility has to do with content creation, feedback is something that I received constantly. Sometimes, I’ll get feedback that I don’t have to make any edits and the first draft was perfect. Other times, I’ll get feedback on sentences in an email or design for a banner that need improvement and I’ll revise and revise. Numerous iterations are a part of the creation process and I grew to learn that feedback is essential to making the final product an amazing one.

Destiny:  Show your enthusiasm by learning everything you can from corporate culture to knowing technical processes. Take initiative; even if you’re unsuccessful, you will still learn to improve your work.

Annie: Always think about who your audience is, whether you’re putting together a report or choosing which color or font size to use on a web page. User experience is critical in marketing.

Priscilla: Data driven ideas are more likely to create results. During my role, I was tasked with various projects that had me analyze raw data and tell a story using our analytics. As I presented insights drawn from the numbers, I realized data drives efficiency. Without testing and iterating from past mistakes, marketing would not be an effective way of selling.

What advice would you offer students pursuing a career in marketing?

Tina: Probably something everyone’s heard since day one — don’t be afraid to ask questions! Whether it’s a question about a marketing term you’re unsure of or about a chance to try something new, don’t be hesitant to ask about it. The worst that can happen is hearing something you don’t particularly like but at least you’ll have tried on your part. Also, always be on the lookout for possible mentors in your life. Start conversations with people who have pursued what you’re interested in. They’ve been through what you’ll potentially go through in the future and it’s incredibly rewarding to learn from them and their experiences.

Destiny: Don’t be afraid to pursue new opportunities and learn as much as you can from them. New ideas are always great because trends are constantly changing, but having the hard skills to market effectively will help you share those ideas with your audience.

Annie: You learn the most from the mistakes you’ve made. When you first start working in marketing or any industry, there might be a lot of things that never cross your mind that someone else with more experience would pay attention to. So it’s always important to seek feedback, especially from different pairs of eyes, and go back to the drawing board with an unwavering determination to improve.

Priscilla: Stay curious and take initiative! Your curiosity, along with the drive to constantly learn, can lead to creative breakthroughs that can influence your brand and audience. Not only is it important to be eager in your endeavors, but it’s also important to match your ambitions with actions. Over time, I’ve learned that it’s very easy to come up with ideas and plans, but part of the challenge is getting started.

One quote to sum up your experience working in the marketing industry:

Tina: Imagine the impossible.

Destiny: “There’s no point in trying to build links to mediocre content.” – Stephan Spencer

Annie: “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” – Seth Godin

Priscilla: Lead with creativity, drive with data.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience this summer. Tweet me @PTenggara to share your thoughts or follow my interest in technology and marketing!

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