I have just finished a six month, hands-on post-graduate internship as a marketing consultant at Make Happy, a small marketing agency and consultancy based in East London. For my final blog post, I would like to share some of my experiences, by telling you about the top eight things that surprised me about real-world marketing.

  • Marketing actually works! This is quite useful to know… It is not uncommon to hear that prospective clients have reservations about marketing, and considers this discipline a bit vague, with unclear effects and ROI. What dubious people need to know is that analytics is at the heart of the process (at Make Happy anyway!), and that each campaign is systematically optimised and analysed. Moreover, when tools are used properly, everything is trackable, so people can see exactly where their money and efforts are going. So it is possible to see the impact of a campaign, and by the way, they usually work!
  • Office good vibesI didn’t know working in a consultancy would be so nice. I was as surprised by the nice atmosphere in the office as I was by my colleagues’ caffeine addiction! Besides the fact that my colleagues were friendly and supportive, the office was dog-friendly, which truly makes the day better. I will also remember the “Happiness song” that is played every time there is a new project to work on, and the huge amount of cake we have eaten for birthdays or other celebrations (we assume we all have diabetes now).
  • Testing, testing, testing. Marketing is all about a rigorous process of testing and optimising. Even if you start with a clear plan, in practice, you still need to try different things within the framework of this plan, in order to figure out what works best in terms of your end goal. Good marketing takes time, so patience is vital.
  • Time flies. When I signed up to spend around 40 hours a week at work, I didn’t imagine days would go as fast as they did. Almost every single day went super fast, as a result of a succession of challenges. Time flies when you’re having fun, right?
  • Diversity. On a daily basis, a marketing consultancy deals with a large range of client types, from loan funds to late night bars… This really keeps us on our toes and it’s also what is nice about working in such a company.
  • A real junior positionIf you have ever been an intern, you know that in the role, you sometimes end up dealing with something I would call “extra tasks”. I would define these tasks as the ones that are not in scope but with which the intern deals as nobody else has time or willingness to do it. In my case, I was lucky enough to fulfil a real junior position with relevant tasks which have taught me skills, which I have appreciated a lot.
  • I’ve learned so much! It is well known that you learn a lot about an industry by working on the ground. Still, I’ve learned much more than I thought I would. I have also realised I’ve got so much more to learn!
  • Where are the staples? I’ve been looking for the staples for 6 months! Working in a small office doesn’t make it easier to find where they are.