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One of the best ways to break into a marketing career is to land an internship at your top employer. Your internship gives you a chance to experience the job for 10-12 weeks. It also gives you an opportunity to show the company you have what it takes to be a world-class marketer.
On the flipside, your internship can also be considered a 12 week job interview. Literally everything you are doing is being scrutinized. The people you talk to will all be asked for feedback, your work will be analyzed, and your personality will be tested. Oh, and by the way, your future could hinge on those very actions.
Feeling nervous yet?
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the daunting recruiting process, wrote a perfect resume and cover letter, interviewed like a champ, and landed your dream marketing internship. Now what?
You might be tempted to sit back, relax, and not think about work until you actually show up at the office. While a little bit of rest and relaxation is definitely well deserved, don’t overdo it. If you actually want to end the summer with a fulltime offer in your hand, there is some legwork that you should do upfront.
Here are 7 things that you should do to fully prepare for your marketing internship:
One of the most important aspects of a successful marketing career has nothing to do with frameworks. It isn’t about advertising or consumer engagement. It’s not about analyzing data or brainstorming pricing schemes. One of the most important keys to a successful marketing career is STORYTELLING.
I’m not talking about grandpa sitting the grandkids around a fire and telling old war stories (although those are usually great stories too). The stories that I’m talking about relate more to influencing office politics. In any CPG company, there are limited time and money resources to take on projects. Usually the projects that get funded are the ones that senior management is most excited about.
Have you ever wondered what the life of a brand manager is all about? I know that before I became a brand manager I always wondered “what exactly do you do”.
While there is not really a “typical day” for brand managers, the following snapshot should give you a good idea of the diversity in job responsibilities of a newly minted associate brand manager.
6:00 AM – Wake up and exercise.
I usually wake up around 6:00 so that I can get in a good workout. I like exercising in the morning because it gives me energy to make it through the day. Plus, I never really know when I’m going to be done with work so this adds a bit of consistency to my life.
Up to this point, the marketing case interview frameworks that we’ve been talking about have been centered on answering business questions. The 4/5 C’s and 4/5 P’s are great for answering questions like “Should you launch this new product” or “how would you defend against this competitor”.
These are great frameworks to learn, but they fail to address the 3rd type of marketing case interview questions: creative evaluation.
One of the biggest and most exciting (in my opinion) aspects of the marketing job is working on the creative aspects of our brands. This usually includes any type of consumer communication ranging from TV and digital to print, radio, and more. This is what we call “the art” piece of marketing.
If you read our previous post, you know that successful marketing case interviews are critical to landing the perfect marketing job. Companies want to ensure that they are hiring the most competent future marketers who have the potential to be executive leaders.
Preparation for marketing cases takes time and hours of practice. But if you understand the different marketing frameworks, you have already won 80% of the battle. The next framework that we’re talking about is called The 4 P’s: Product, Price, Place, Promotion.
The case question portion of the marketing interview is your chance to prove that you have what it takes to be a world-class marketer. During this portion of the interview you will be quizzed on product launches, brand strategies, creative tactics, and more. If you can’t clearly articulate solutions to the given cases, you can count yourself out of a job offer.
When it comes to marketing cases, there are three main types of questions:
Most marketing interviews will have a combination of each type of question to ensure that you know your stuff. The real key to mastering the marketing case interviews is to understand the frameworks. Each question type corresponds to a different framework. If you can apply the correct framework at the correct time, you will be well on your way to landing the perfect marketing job.
After a company tests you for “fit” within their culture, they want to make sure you are actually a competent marketer. In an interview, you will hear questions about product launches, competitive threats, and even a million unused rubber tires. The range of interview questions will seem daunting at times, but there are a few tricks that you can learn to make the marketing case questions a breeze.
Congratulations! You networked like nobody’s business, wrote a killer resume and cover letter and just got offered a marketing job interview for your top choice in companies! Now the real preparation begins. Everything you’ve done up to now was “pregame”. The interview is where you really get to show your strengths when it matters (no pressure!).
Marketing interviews tend to be a grueling process full of different types of questions and situations. In an interview a marketer is usually looking for a few different characteristics in the candidates: leadership, creativity, teamwork, strategic thinking, and problem-solving abilities. In order to determine whether or not a candidate has what it takes, an interviewer will use a variety of interview questions. The first set of questions that you will encounter are what we call “fit questions”. These are the questions that test your ability to blend in with the culture of that particular company. The second set of questions that you will see are case-based questions. These are designed specifically to test your marketing acumen.
If you want to nail the marketing interview, you need to be sharp on both types of questions. Part 1 of this interview guide will help you polish your skills on the Fit Questions.