Michael Skilton travelled across the city of Norwich from the UEA campus, where he is coming to the end of his Masters degree in marketing, to the real life world of the offices of an integrated marketing agency. He spent an informative few days with us and reflects on his time with the team.
Coming to the end of my Masters degree in Marketing, I have found relatively little to assure me of my future in starting my career as a marketeer. Third party internet job finders, university careers days and even The Times Top 100 Graduate employers add to the anxiety by creating opportunities where applicants face formal, rationalised systems of recruitment and where competition is at an all time high. Only static quality really stands out. Whereas degrees today have been thought to be the new A-Level, even the prospect of an MSc fails to really inspire the pulling power I need to get to where I want to be, and to where I need to be.
Making the off-the-wall decision to contact oneagency.co to enquire for any opportunities to gain experience, my request was returned with a two-week internship of truly integrated agency work that opened my eyes beyond the dusty books and clouded intellect of university life. The first thing I noticed is that each member of oneagency.co is an expert in their field, and I suddenly felt out of my depth.
I had come fresh from receiving a first in my Integrated Marketing Communications module, feeling I was ready to add to the skills that existed here, not realising the breadth of my understanding would be so dwarfed by oneagency.co’s marketing team. On the top floor I sit with people that have been in PR for over 30 years, SEO specialists dedicated to building a presence on the internet, and people who’s ability to create trusting relationships with clients make it all tick over. Below me are a group of creatives, designers, developers and making-things-happen-ers, who build modern, precise and innovative branding and communications. The culture and feel of the agency is one of people sharing ideas and bouncing their expertise into a holistic hub that delivers more than it promises.
I spent my time working on many different projects, through many different disciplines, with many different deadlines. Sounds like university, except it couldn’t be more dissimilar. When one day you are generating ideas for corporate after-dinner-speakers, the next day building communicational strategy for an internet retailer, and the following day heading into the Norfolk countryside to participate in a bespoke photo-shoot for a client, you quickly realise that working in a vibrant place like this can expand your views on the ways integrated marketeers do things differently.
Most notable to my experience was Helen, the client services director who granted me this internship. Helen leads the team by making the strategic, tactical and planning decisions of the client’s marketing campaigns, and has been a challenge to my knowledge and my way of doing things. Strategic and tactical decision-making is where I enjoy bringing multi-disciplinary components together to build futures for businesses that are greater than the sum of its parts. When I get an opportunity to meet a person whose values align with mine it is always a positive experience, but when that person is far more proficient than yourself in the profession you admire it becomes an awe inspired opportunity to listen and learn.
After settling in, it was refreshing to notice how I was making an impact on the way oneagency.co was doing things. Numerous times throughout the day the team would have open discussion on new lines of enquiry, new channels of communication and new methods of just doing things right. My involvement gave fresh direction for a specific clients web design, the expansion of a retail client’s product portfolio to penetrate new markets, and proposals for a new app. Being listened to soon showed that I had added value to oneagency.co, and that learning was an integrated agency’s greatest strength.
It was not my objective to feel out-of-my-league, but this was a satisfying experience. Being with a group of people who specialise in their field helps you to see where you will one day fit in. My objective was to meet people and to get my foot in the door. Objective complete. My secondary objective was to find my niche and where my skills can be best utilised. Objective also complete. I learned that translating client’s and business needs into realistic and timely marketing services is a job that all members of an integrated agency strive to achieve.
My expertise is still fresh and my academic background gives me the necessary building blocks to move on with a career that is all about dynamic quality.
If you’re interested in becoming an intern or in work experience at oneagency.co, give us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our switchboard on 01603 252555.