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Advertising Agency Takeaways: An Intern's Perspective
James Simpson
James Simpson

Advertising Agency Takeaways: An Intern's Perspective

James Simpson

I’m writing this blog on my last day as MADE’s Fall 2023 Marketing and Communications Intern. In my three months here, I’ve learned about what it may look like to be a marketing professional, and also about being a member of a small, but mighty team. Here are four takeaways from my time interning at an advertising agency.

1. There’s a lot more to every industry than meets the eye.

When I started studying marketing, the narrative was always that I would be able to work either “in-house” or for an agency. For me, doing marketing all day every day for just one business sounded a bit…well, boring. I’ve since learned that this isn’t the case but still, one of the things I looked forward to while interning with an agency was the opportunity to work with a variety of clients. 

As an agency with clients on retainer, our job requires us to be able to have a grasp of our client's voices and industry knowledge, which means we have to understand their brand and their industry. Through this research, you start to go beyond the surface of all sorts of industries.

I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would about education, trucking, insurance, and elder law just to name a few. I bet you thought that the long-haul trucking business was boring. Wrong! At least to me. I loved having the opportunity to research and write about multiple industries. It helped me broaden my understanding of the business world and improve my writing.

2. Communication is key.

As corny as that is, it’s true. Everything is easier when people are looped in and up-to-date. At MADE, this looks like daily “hit-list” meetings, which are 10-15 minutes of the team going over the day’s to-dos and what they might need help with. From my perspective, this not only kicked the day off right but also helped get those “hey, could I get another pair of eyes on…” conversations going.  

3. Get plugged in.

One of the many ways the MADE team welcomed me with open arms was by inviting me to their Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) meetings. I loved getting plugged into a group of marketing, advertising, and public relations professionals. The meetings showed me that there are opportunities for communications work in every industry and taught me new ways to apply marketing ideas. One of the things they talk about the most is that if you pour into people, people will pour back into you. I’m looking forward to continuing to be a part of this community and, hopefully, finding ways that I can pour into people.

4. The marketing business is still a business.

My time at MADE has given me some insight into the business side of running a small agency. They’ve involved me in their weekly status and new business meetings, and shown me just a bit about what it means to work in the “real world.” Handling client relationships, working “on retainer,” responding to RFPs, setting and staying on track to meet goals, and celebrating wins. These are all a part of being on a team, especially one as small as MADE’s. 

I’ve also had an opportunity to observe and participate in the systems, culture, and traditions of MADE. The work they do to put on their annual Brandathon and support the community is amazing. They also challenge themselves and each other to continue growing by attending conferences and trainings, and bringing what they learn back to the office. 

Thank you to my supervisors, Erin and Taylor, as well as the entire MADE team, for a memorable and useful experience, and good luck to all future interns at MADE.