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Marketing internship: all you need to know to find one, topics, advice [Guide 2021]

Finding an interesting marketing internship is not an easy task. I recruit several marketing interns each year for my business (market research and marketing consulting), and it’s a different adventure each time. In this article, I share with you my experience as an employer on 4 essential aspects of the marketing internship:

If you would like to apply to IntoTheMinds for a marketing internship, it’s right here 🙂

The opinion of Elise Cogels, “Internship Generator”

elise cogels“What are the expectations of companies when looking for a marketing intern?”

“Attitude” is the primary skill expected by recruiters. This translates into self-confidence, initiative, and curiosity. Above all, companies are looking for students who can integrate very quickly into their internships. “Copy” or writing skills are also essential for marketing internships. Careful spelling is expected as well as business writing skills. During the training, students will have to write prospectuses, partnership files, exchanges with clients, presentations, and so on. The Holy Grail is still languages with an impressive shortage of bilingual students in French-speaking Belgium.

“What advice would you give to someone who wants to land a permanent contract at the end of their internship?”

Ask it! Don’t wait for the proposal to come from your internship supervisor. Let them know that you would like to continue the adventure in their company and ask them to think about it and see if it is possible. This will demonstrate your motivation and make you want to commit. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you and go after them. Be profitable. During your internship, try to accomplish assignments that can make money for the company hosting you. If your work is profitable, it becomes obvious to hire you.



How to find a marketing internship?

Method 1: Specialized websites

Most internships today are found on “dating” platforms, i.e., websites that allow interns to post their CVs and companies to publish their requests. There are many such platforms, depending on the country you want to go to. I have prepared a small table below to give you an overview. I don’t want to mention the generalist websites like LinkedIn, Stepstone, … which have all adapted their offer to cover internships.

 

Country Websites to find a marketing internship
Belgium student.be, elisecogels.com (système intéressant basé sur des listes de stagiaires)
France stage.fr, indeed.fr, jobs-stages.letudiant.fr, studentjob.fr, iquesta.com, regionsjob.com, jobteaser.com
Germany meinpraktikum.de, www.praktikum.info, www.praktikumsstellen.de
Italy it.indeed.com, lavoroestage.it

Method 2: Company websites

Large companies generally have a strong internship culture. The “jobs” part of their website is therefore likely to include internship offers. However, beware of the competition. These companies are in high demand, and the supply is much lower than the requests. So have a plan B unless you are being tracked down. In Germany, the internship is an essential part of the curriculum. If you want to go to Germany, you have a better chance of finding large businesses. Some of them have a specific department to manage interns (Bosch, Mercedes, …).

Method 3: Unsolicited application by email

This method may seem quite outdated, but it works well for SMEs. In France, for example, 96.18% of companies have less than 10 employees (source: INSEE). Marketing is, therefore, a secondary activity for most of these companies. Proposing an internship to a small business owner is bound to attract his attention, provided that the project is straightforward and its value is obvious. There is nothing more annoying than receiving a generic email sent in bcc. So, make sure your introductory email is personalized and identifies a problem you propose to correct. It can be about social networks, inbound marketing, SEO, content creation, prospect identification, market research… Anything is possible as long as it is specific and provides value. For concrete ideas on what you can propose, see the paragraph “What should be the ideal content of a marketing internship?”

Method 4: The telephone call

Again, the method may seem quite outdated, but it has an advantage: a student who takes the trouble to call and introduce himself stands out. This is how I chose a student (French) who did his internship at IntoTheMinds in 2021 and proposed a permanent contract for 2022. Motivation is more easily transmitted by voice than in an email sent to 50 companies simultaneously. If you decide to use the telephone approach, make sure you find out about the company beforehand and propose a concrete subject that might interest the boss (see the paragraph “How to make your marketing internship a springboard to employment?” on this subject).

The opinion of Mathieu Lapras, Director of Stage.fr

Mathieu Lapras stage marketingWhat percentage do marketing internships represent in the total internship supply?

About 20%

Which companies are interested in marketing interns?

All types of companies, in the most well-known sectors, with a large number of digital companies, from startups to SMEs as well as large CAC 40 companies.

What are the most requested skills for a marketing internship?

Typically, a support around the commercial activity including;

  • definition of marketing strategy
  • drafting of the expressions of need
  • monitoring of the performance of existing and implemented devices
  • construction of the marketing and digital roadmap (plan and operations)
  • monitoring new tools or services or improving existing tools and services (website redesign, user experience, UX…)
  • creation and follow-up of customer loyalty and conquest strategies in line with the marketing strategy
  • development of sales pitches
  • Supporting the sales departments by providing technical expertise and field support for the launch of sales operations and new products

Finally, you must be proficient in Microsoft Office and have a good level of written and spoken English

A marketing internship in a large company or a small business?

While large companies are more attractive because of their name, small and medium-sized companies should not be overlooked. They offer advantages that others cannot. Here is a table summarizing the advantages and disadvantages of these three categories of companies for your marketing internship.

Advantages Disadvantages
Large companies (>250 employees)
  • well-structured marketing departments and the presence of a “digital marketing” department
  • possibility to learn “state-of-the-art” practices
  • positive effect of the company’s name on the CV
  • be careful not to be relegated to uninteresting tasks
  • generally limited autonomy
  • difficult to propose new ideas (decision-making inertia)
  • real decision-makers can be difficult to access
SME (between 20 and 250 employees)
  • probable presence of a marketing department
  • more latitude to propose a project that goes beyond the roadmap
  • possibility to acquire diverse and transversal skills
  • direct contact with the decision-makers
  • the marketing level is very dependent on the sector and the type of company.
  • supervision and skills probably less advanced than in a large company
VSEs (less than 20 employees)
  • everything remains to be done (hopefuly you like challenges!)
  • maximum autonomy
  • direct contact with the decision-makers
  • real opportunity to get a permanent contract
  • no marketing department, but at best one or two busy people
  • no doubt lighter supervision due to daily imperatives
  • -tools and techniques used not necessarily the best




 


How to make your marketing internship a springboard to employment?

The best way to get hired after your internship is to have been profitable. I’m sorry to say it so bluntly, but it’s an economic reality that you have to face. If you “bring in” more than you cost, the company manager will want to keep you.

There are only 2 ways to demonstrate your added value:

  • either you help find clients
  • or you help to execute client projects

In both cases, the value you bring to the company will be greater than what you cost it. A boss will not be able, reasonably, to ignore the opportunity to keep you to perpetuate this value.

Wanting to transform a marketing internship into a permanent contract implies that its content allows you to reach these objectives. In the following paragraph, I will give you my advice on using an internship to put all the chances on your side.

 

stage marketing internship


Ideally, what should a marketing internship include?

Based on the idea that the work contract is the natural extension of a successful marketing internship, I have prepared a list of topics that I believe are the most promising to demonstrate your added value.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is an essential component of digital marketing today. I wonder how so many companies can still neglect it. In my opinion, a good marketing internship (digital or not) must include an SEO part: training on the main principles of SEO, keyword research with classic tools (Search Console, Ahrefs, Moz, …), and implementation on the company’s website.

Content marketing

Inbound marketing is an essential channel for finding customers. It does not oppose outbound; it complements it. Therefore, it is inconceivable not to develop skills in the field of online content creation at a very early stage. This can be blog posts (all my marketing interns do this), videos.

Operational projects

When I take on an intern, I like to have them work on real customer projects. This is how they learn the most. This is also how their personality comes out and how I can measure their contribution to the company’s success.

Research on a new market (new segment, new territory)

Market research seems to me to be a very suitable subject for a marketing internship. However, the exercise should not be theoretical but should meet a real need. In a large company, this type of subject seems to be difficult to tackle. On the other hand, an SME or a small company can have a genuine interest in discovering new markets. It can be the research of a new market segment or the research of an export market. Making proposals regarding the country and the public aid available to go there is a real asset. Think about getting information from the structures that support entrepreneurship and propose concrete solutions to your company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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