Let’s talk Marketing!

Business, Isabela

As prospective students, you all might have different ideas about what marketing means and why you want to study it. You will probably be even more surprised to find out through your degree that marketing hasn’t got a clear definition; it’s described in many ways by a variety of theorists who have studied its aspects and adapted the theory according to the context.

Marketing is more complex than anyone would think, myself included. The degree is fascinating and brings the geek out in me! So why am I writing this blog post about marketing as you are all going to learn about it anyway in your courses?

Well, sometimes, people want to know more details about their course, in order to become more enthusiastic or disappointed in the worse cases. The main reason why I want to talk about it is because I can relate from a student perspective. There are three main things that I feel you need to know or be interested about:

  1. Creativity – You don’t have to be the best at art or design to study or do marketing but you need to be able to spot the difference between a bland presentation and vibrant packaging that makes you buy the product even if you don’t need it.
  2. Vision – Understand the market and the values of the product or service, how would consumers see it and why should they buy it?
  3. Communication – Some of us are born leaders, some are team workers and some of us are the geniuses in the company that think of the stuff other people have missed. We all fall into a category but you probably don’t know it yet.

I hope it’s all starting to sound exciting because that’s what I was hoping for when I started writing!

I’ve heard someone say recently marketing is not glamorous but hard work and I disagree completely! Surely there is no particular job in the world that doesn’t involve some kind of work, it might seem more glamorous than others but that’s probably due to peoples’ opinions and some marketing involved.

Marketing can be applied to almost anything and everything, from toilet roll to America’s Next Top Model because they all need some kind of connections to make themselves known. Some will be on the supermarket shelves and others in magazines. For me, marketing is about getting out there, even if you work for a catering company, electricity company, automobile company or in the clothing industry it doesn’t matter. You are the front face that customers want to see.

Surely Facebook and Twitter are the most used social media sites for our generation but imagine how many companies use them to promote their business and increase sales. It might not seem straightforward but it’s true, customer service has moved nowadays into the online era. We, as Marketeers need to move at the same speed with the technology and that’s the best bit about the job. We never stand still and do boring jobs but we move along and have fun with the times!

So, can you see now why Marketing hasn’t got a definition? #coolMarketeers

isabela_signature

My Placement Experience

Isabela

A placement is a great experience for several reasons. I only saw the pros in taking a break within my studies as I could gain more skills, but other students will go to different companies and therefore, reasons might vary. Some of my peers wanted to work in big companies like Coca-Cola, Rolls-Royce and Boots because they thought they experience will be unforgettable and the salary will exceed anyone’s expectations.

Furthermore, they wished they would get a job offer at the end to secure them employment after finishing University. I didn’t have an image of the exact company I wanted to work for and my expectations were average. After doing various part-time jobs such as a customer service assistant in a fish and chip shop and night shifts in a care home, I was longing to get the Marketing experience.

Therefore, I went through endless application processes for all types of companies who offered PR, Marketing and/or advertising placements, hoping I’ll find the one for me. My luck came very close to the placement applications deadline, and it was my last chance to secure a placement. I went for my interview on the Monday and the deadline was in the same week on Friday but that didn’t put me off, actually it had increased my passion and my relentlessness that I had to succeed. This was an important lesson for me and it’s great to be able to share this with prospective students, because you should never give up, persistence is the key and you will get there in the end no matter how many unsuccessful interviews and boring applications.

There was also the other side of us who decided not to take a placement, because they thought one year extra added to their degree and they thought focusing on their studies 100% of the time to get a straight first would make a huge difference. At the end of the day, it’s what clicks for you and I knew I needed, wanted and would love my placement.

My placement consisted of running the Employability and Enterprise Hub in the Atrium at Kedleston Road which was a new project, being launched in the same week when I started.

Looking back, here are the most important benefits to a placement:

  • I have gained practical experience in the industry I wish to work in – my placement started as a blank canvas, as initial goals were set but I had enough freedom to develop them the way I wanted. I have come out of the placement with a wide platform of skills and capabilities and now I feel more confident to write job applications and go to interviews.
  • Once I’ve finished the placement, I know my job opportunities have improved, because the 11 months of experience have made me a stronger candidate who hasn’t just got the right degree but also needs less training and is ready to take a challenge head-on.
  • Working in the sector enhances your experience of teamwork and further develops your interpersonal skills. In my case, there has been less teamwork and more individual work but even so, I have worked in teams and pairs to achieve targets, which I’m sure it’s valid for all organizations.
  • I have also developed an awareness of current developments in the sector, by doing job adverts for companies; I have observed the salary levels and the skills needed in order to match the marketing roles on the market.
  • The placement students returning back to study go onto achieve higher grades and better degrees. This is a fact because once the market has been understood all the assignments will make more sense and you will enjoy doing them.
  • Depending on your abilities and the firm’s budget you have a chance of a firm offer of employment – the majority of the companies will offer a job prospect at the end of the degree according to the student’s performance and job possibilities. If this is not possible you still have plenty of experience to get another job. I didn’t have the opportunity to come back into the Hub because it was only designed to be experience for placement students. However, I made contacts in various departments within the University and so I could do temporary work for them while studying in my third year.

Would I do it again?

A placement can reveal your best aptitudes as well as showing you where you need to improve further.

The best thing about my placement was the fact that the Employability and Enterprise Hub was divided between two distinctive departments of the University. For example, the Careers and Employment Service who helps students with CVs, Cover letters and Interview techniques was useful in order to observe management style and teamwork amongst the staff. Similarly, I had a lot of input from the Business School newly changed to Business College which organised a lot of networking events and put me in touch with companies. I have done a lot of advertising work for many companies, communicated through e-mail and phone in order to organize meetings and sessions where students could talk to them and introduce themselves for future job prospects.

My responsibilities included daily contact with current students and graduates, and even on some occasions working on Open Days and presenting the Hub and the University to prospective students. That was a lot of fun and again, helped me become less nervous when doing presentations.

So my advice would be to go for it!

isabela_signature

Applicant Day Review!

Business, Isabela

I’ve really enjoyed my time here at Derby and so when I was asked to help with the applicant day, I was more than happy! For me this represented a great opportunity to meet prospective students coming from all over the country, giving me an opportunity to talk to them about life at Derby and my experiences here.

The Kedleston Road campus quickly filled up with people from 9am onwards, luckily there was no sign of snow in Derby as this would have been tricky! One of the things I love is the atmosphere in the Atrium, and it was great watching the reaction of our guests as they walked in to this great space.

isabela area

As a subject ambassador, my role was to give an insight to prospective students on what life is like at Derby, not just from the academic side but also about living and working in Derby. Luckily, this all comes quite naturally to me as my experiences here have been great. I could have carried on all day…

Both prospective students and their guests seemed to be full of questions which was great. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I encountered…

  1. For some social life was a top priority so let’s elaborate on that. It’s essential that you have some free time outside your studies to relax and have fun with your friends. Derby is a vibrant city with a lot of places to eat, to party and to chill after a long week. In my opinion Derby gets 10/10 on this one.
  2. Accommodation comes up next, and this is another area that Derby does well in. In order to secure a place in the Halls for your first year at least, you have to apply early. As soon as you are confirmed get in touch with Student Living to secure a place. Derby is well known for having great quality student accomodation across the city. The applicant day is perfect opportunity to take a tour around some of your accomodation options.
  3. The cost of living worries everyone when coming to University. I cannot compare the cost of living with other cities because I’ve only lived in Derby but personally I find it a very affordable place to live (if you’re sensible!). There are a lot of offers and discounts available so you can eat out every so often without breaking the bank.
  4. For some, the range of societies avaiable counts towards the final decision. Luckily, we’ve got a great Students’ Union and so if your desired society doesn’t exist, why not start your own?! As long as you have three representatives you can start your own Society.
  5. Linked with cost of living, I was also asked about job opportunities during your course and following graduation. Again this is an area where you are very much in control, but the university has a great careers service and a student employment agency which is crucial for some!

Don’t forget, the next open day is on Saturday 28th of February 2015! And also keep an eye out for the next Applicant Day – if you haven’t booked a place do it now!

isabela_signature