Student Catherine describes her introduction to marketing after a week spent at Zest the Agency.

Before work experience started ‘marketing’ was a vague term that described a career I was thinking of going into. I had some ideas of what it would involve, including terms like ‘eye-catching’ and splashing different colours on a website to make a product look more appealing to a potential customer, along with ideas of digital ‘makeovers’ for companies that wanted to bring in different audiences. I struggled to link these concepts to actual tasks. The overly simplistic ideas that I held made me think that there must be more to the job.

Over the week my preconceived ideas were given more substance, and the process and thinking behind the work was more detailed and more complex than I had originally expected.

Marketing involves working together to find the most creative, well-suited ways to encourage people to support businesses, products and services – the focus on creating and building up awareness. The work I was involved in at Zest went beyond the two categories of marketing I had previously identified – digital marketing and using websites and social media for promotion, and ‘traditional’ marketing that I thought was no longer really in use, which involves posters and leaflets in different bright colours and styles. I discovered that these two categories were not where all marketing stopped. I was introduced to creative and experiential marketing tactics for big events such as 3D artwork on the pavement and projecting images onto buildings, to smaller projects that involved using the power of the written word in a concise way to provide information.

There was the digital aspect that I had expected from marketing, and I was able to observe how company websites and social media pages can be used to appeal to different demographics of people. These discussions involved looking at lots of options and then considering practicality, dismissing the options that wouldn’t successfully attract these groups, and finding the best solution for keeping visitors on the website for as long as possible while maintaining their interest.

I gained experience in a variety of other methods used to promote key messages. For example, I was given the opportunity to watch filming take place for Kent Road Safety. Having no prior experience or knowledge of the filming process, I didn’t realise how much effort goes into planning every aspect of the finished video. The positioning of every shot was planned in detail, considering the background, the audio quality and the lighting., I didn’t anticipate how much experimentation took place to find the ideal location and how this involved looking at the captured footage and reshooting it to improve certain aspects. All the different takes made me realise that there is a long and time-consuming process behind every finished output.

My time spent at Zest helped me to see that marketing is not simply promoting a single product through a limited number of channels, but as a combination of lots. Though it was a new experience it was an enjoyable one, and marketing is now a career path I would very much like to explore further.

Written by: Catherine