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Need Marketing Help – Use Interns

With all the change in marketing especially with all the various activities that a marketing team is required to do, hiring interns could be a big help.  Many large companies have cut down on their intern use due to lack of management.  Small companies and non-profit organizations should look into using interns as you get quality workers at a low cost.  Also it helps these individuals get valuable experience.  And they could be future valuable employees if both parties agree.

 

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One of the biggest satisfaction I get is when I assist a young person who is just starting out.  I don’t use the word mentor as it makes me sound old and wise.  Two of my most fond memories of being a manager is using interns.  Small IT company needed website changes.  Brought on a high school kid named Andy who knew computers but not business.   Worked with him on website changes and he did a great job for us.  Now he is a successful programmer at a large company.  I regularly see him.  Small IT company needed marketing newsletter.  Brought in a college student named Bridget.  I  ran threw the marketing basics with her and worked with her on creating the newsletter.  She did a tremendous job.  After college, she got a sales/marketing position for a professional sports franchise.  Now she is a successful sales person and I am still in touch with her.  Who knows how much their internship experience helped them but I know that it didn’t hurt.

But don’t hire any intern until you have established the intern process.  Some questions that need to be answered before the intern search begins:

  1. What paperwork will they need to sign?
  2. Who will manage them?
  3. How will they report their status and time?
  4. What is the job description for this intern position?
  5. What is the purpose and reasoning for using interns?
  6. How will we communicate to the rest of the organization about the intern being used and their specific function?
  7. What will the training program be for the intern and what tasks do we want them to do?

Make sure your employees are on the lookout for good interns (over the summer, after school, over the holiday break) and have them be on the look out for tasks that interns can perform (answer phones, monitor twitter, update databases, research competitors, etc.).     Make sure that everyone in the organization knows the limits and boundaries for interns.  They are not personal slaves.  Interns should be treated fairly, treated with respect and should not be harassed.  Treat them like a regular marketing employee – get them business cards, let them have a login to company network,  provide them a email address, make them do status reports and have them attend marketing team meetings. Remember that everyone deserves to be managed.

In order to maintain a strong and valuable internship program there should be constant evaluating and re-evaluating.  What worked?  What didn’t?

Have a going away lunch when an intern leaves.  Make sure that you are connected with them on LinkedIn.  Hopefully during the time at your company, you explained the importance of LinkedIn to the intern.

Organizations, whether a law firm, non-profit org or B2B tech company, will not regret the investment in using interns to get marketing activities done more efficiently and effectively. Lean on interns to learn about technology and allow them to become the tool experts: setting up accounts, experimenting in a safe place and teaching others.

Interns, like every other type of employee you have, are an important part of your company.  Let me know your intern success stories.

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