Marketing Internship Advice From a First-time Intern

by | Marketing Organization

marketing internship advice

Hi, it’s Jeff.

It’s hard to believe it, but sadly Emily’s summer internship has come to an end. She has been an INCREDIBLE addition to Prudent Pedal. She has all the qualities that top employers look for. She is intelligent, personable, articulate, confident, curious, ambitious, humble, magnanimous, AND prudent. I will miss her. Before she leaves,  I thought it would be nice for her to share a few thoughts on her summer experience which I will share in a couple of blog posts. The first is on her learning about Marketing.


Hi, it’s Emily now.

More often than not, students walk into their first internship clueless. Yes, we have suffered through our entry-level accounting class and taken our first few major-specific courses. Despite having classroom skills and a basic understanding of a what a “marketing” job might entail, we still need a lot more knowledge to navigate an internship and the “real world.” After a summer at Prudent Pedal, I offer some marketing internship advice to my fellow students—and their managers.

I decided to become a marketing major at the start of my senior year in high school after a few friends and I entered a Global Marketing Team competition about the geographical expansion of a hockey franchise through an organization called Business Professionals of America. If I thought I was clueless walking into this internship, I have no idea what I thought marketing was back then!

After taking all my core business knowledge classes this fall and working at Prudent Pedal, I’m happy to say that marketing was definitely the right choice for me. “Thank you,” to my scared, 17-year-old self who was worried about applying to college for pushing through. Working at Prudent Pedal has shown me what I love—and hate—about marketing and that choosing the right major is just the first step on the right career path.

READ: Why your marketer doesn’t understand your firm’s business.

One of the internship highlights was making my classroom learnings tangible and real.  I used myriad marketing technologies like “marketing automation” and learned an entirely new marketing vocabulary with words like “conversion rate optimization,” “marketing stack,” “marketing funnel,” and “inbound marketing.”  

As I dug deeper into the Prudent Pedal marketing stack, I was exposed to technologies that are currently marketing mainstays. Most college students won’t learn about these tools in the classroom before they walk into their first internships. My first couple of weeks, Jeff made me learn these foundational tools through online training, YouTube, Googled articles, and trial and error.

Here are a few of my marketing internship learnings.

The first technology was HubSpot, an “all-in-one” marketing solution. I began on day one with HubSpot Academy’s Inbound certification. The Hubspot certifications offered me the opportunity to get up to speed with the ever-changing marketing community and learn valuable skills that I could put to work immediately at Prudent Pedal. By the time my internship was complete, I was HubSpot certified in the Inbound methodology, Inbound Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. These programs not only taught me about the customer-centric view of marketing but provided me with credentials that will differentiate me with future employers.

READ: The Marketing Trend Devouring Your Firm’s Core Business

The second platform was Google Analytics. Although pursuing my degree in Marketing analytics and consulting, I didn’t know much about analytic tools until I was introduced to Google Analytics-—clueless intern! Similar to Hubspot, I learned GA via an easy-to-use, online, intuitive training platform. This platform allowed me to perform analysis on Prudent Pedal’s and client’s websites.  

We analyzed where our prospects were coming from, what they were interested in, and how we can better reach them. It gave me a behind-the-scenes look at the details that go into building an effective website and digital marketing engine. We combined Google Analytics and HubSpot analysis into a marketing dashboard tool called Databox, which provided a clearer perspective across platforms.

Improving client results is the single purpose of this hard analysis. I learned how to use the information to optimize prospect conversion paths (a new vocabulary word) and make meaningful changes to Prudent Pedal’s and our clients’ websites through WordPress, Elegant Themes Divi Builder, and Bloom opt-in forms. The main goal of a website is to attract, capture, and nurture leads by giving them the info they need and welcoming them as loyal customers. This was a process that I learned through the Hubspot inbound certification. A combination of technologies enabled me to make the critical changes in our opt-in and landing page designs. I was able to monitor these changes with A/B testing (a new vocabulary word), another very useful tool in analyzing conversion rates. Conversion optimization really sparked my interest in and opened my eyes to a possible career combining web design and analytics.

READ: What Can You Learn When You Follow Clients Home?

One of my favorite tools this summer, that is beneficial to all aspects of my life not, just marketing, would be Trello. Trello is a project management tool that Jeff and I used to manage critical tasks. Using 3 lists: “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done,” we easily communicated our activities and progress in all areas of our work. The organizational benefits from Trello helped me so much that I vowed to take this tool back to school to manage my time and my effort in the classroom. I also plan to incorporate Trello into my extracurricular organizations. Plus, what’s better than crossing things over from “doing” to “done?”


I learned a lot about what the real world of marketing looks and feels like. College lectures often put a “make it pretty” facade about how marketing should function (e.g. a sexy ad), but in actuality, there’s an enormous amount of data and analytics behind that “pretty look.”

The biggest piece of advice I can give to a marketing major thinking about an internship is to do your research, learn these online tools, and be clear about what you want to learn. Otherwise, you run the risk of remaining clueless.

Be prudent. 😉

Emily Vollmar is a junior studying Marketing and Analytics at Texas A&M and a graduate of Hinsdale Central HS. She is wicked smart, a born leader, and future marketing guru.

About the Author

Jeff McKay
Founder & CEO
Prudent Pedal

As a strategist and fractional CMO, Jeff helps firms set smart growth strategies in motion. He was the SVP of Marketing at Genworth Financial, the Global Marketing Leader at Hewitt Associates, and held senior roles at Towers Perrin and Andersen. Learn more.

Is your firm achieving its full growth potential?

Growing professional services firm


Related posts

You Have Odd Personality Strengths

You Have Odd Personality Strengths

This past week Gallup gave me an opportunity to download the details of the StrengthsFinder™ test I took several years ago. When I originally completed the test while reading Now, Discover Your Strengths, the test only offered insights into my Top 5 of 34 strengths. I...

Does Your Team Have the Right Learning Mindset?

Does Your Team Have the Right Learning Mindset?

There is a lethal mindset at work in most American companies, schools, teams, and families. Left unaddressed, it allows bad bosses, teachers, and parents to kill more potential than the plague ever did. I call it the Training Mindset— a belief that someone else is...