How I discovered what kind of marketing was my kind of marketing.
Exactly one year ago I was probably doing about the same thing as you’re doing right now. I was finishing my last courses (ever!) and gradually shifting my focus on the last hurdle: writing a thesis. As the last block of the academic year was fully dedicated to writing the thesis, there was no way around it. Sitting home for months to complete a big research definitely wasn’t something I looked forward to. Whilst the freedom that comes with it was tempting, I knew I would probably spend my days doing anything but getting something on paper. So I decided to look for a graduate internship. This is a great way to get a taste of what’s out there and in this blog post I’d like to share my marketing experience in different types of companies.
During my time at the Erasmus University, I worked for several companies. At first it started random, by taking up opportunities as they came across my path. These included mostly small businesses in Rotterdam with online presence for which I worked either as an intern or freelancer. The fun part of working for these companies, is the wide range of things you get to do and the gratitude you get for it. It is not uncommon that one person is running the webshop, doing search engine optimization, building advertising campaigns for Google and Facebook and maintaining all the social media accounts. And since this person is the only one who knows how to do all this, he or she is regarded as the online expert. As a student this felt great, I can tell you. It gives a sense of purpose and accomplishment!
But at the same time I looked up against big brands. There is a lot of freedom in working for a small firm, but at the same time you could be working for an international company, building campaigns that will reach millions. You will get to work with channels and tools that are unreachable for small businesses. During my internships at large corporations I got to work on building emails that reach millions, advising on AdWords campaigns with tens of thousands in spend and performing A/B tests on websites with an endless stream of visitors.
While working for major brands I learned something very important that had a great impact on choosing for which type of company I would like to work for in the future. The bigger firms are, the more specialized the responsibilities of their employees get. Where one could be managing all online marketing activities for a small business, you are often responsible for a specific channel or program when working for a large firm. This makes work more in-depth but less dynamic. Working for a large firm also means operating in a large society. This causes a strong culture, the need for an organizational structure, company politics, bureaucracy and a lot of overhead. This also means that as people grow in the company, their responsibilities tend to shift from operational activities that directly add value to the customer experience to managerial activities that aim to grow the company and its culture.
Eventually I came to the realization that the internship I did at Oxyma and the work I did as a freelancer appealed the most to me. It entailed the best of both worlds; the freedom, dynamic work and entrepreneurial spirit of working in small firms, and the challenge, impact and complexity of working for large brands. Don’t take my word for it, this can be very different for you. But do go out there and explore what fits your personality. There are plenty of opportunities for bright minds like yourself. Probably even an overwhelming amount of opportunities. But by becoming aware of what kind of company suits you best, you’ll make the search a whole lot easier and your chances of succeeding a lot higher. Go out there and good luck!
I’m Jan van Unnik, a Junior Consultant at Oxyma in the Oxyma Talent Program. In 2017 I graduated the Master Economics and Business Economics in Marketing at the Erasmus School of Economics. During my Bachelor and Master I did internships at Google, Royal Dutch Airlines, Oxyma and worked for various small and medium-sized enterprises as a freelancer.