The Tagkast Intern – Sonny Buzdugan

Tagkast is an internet startup that Sonny is interning at

Tagkast is marketing startup that helps with event management

I work for a startup called Tagkast. I’ve been working there since September and it really has been exciting. First and foremost, it’s a start up, which for the most part is a completely different experience than working for an established firm. Tasks and responsibilities sometimes change on a daily basis. Sometimes, like in my experience, you may even witness a complete change in business.

Tagkast was initially invested into by Lightbank, a venture capital firm, back in 2009, and currently employs 40 people. What Tagkast does is provide a marketing service to bars, venues, and event coordinators. The service provides on a per event basis a photographer and brand ambassador who go about taking pictures of the patrons at the venue. They then allow them to tag themselves to Facebook instantly on a tablet with proprietary software. Tagkast provides the subscriber with social media marketing and market research.

At Tagkast I’m a field-marketing intern. My main responsibility is to come out to the marketing events, manage the team working the event, make sure the technology works accordingly, and ensure the event is a success. The events take place at different hours and at different locations every week, so my job is constantly changing. It’s sort of exciting and keeps me on my toes. That is of course out of the typical office duties like filing papers and entering data. However, whats great about doing an event marketing type internship is being able to do work outside the office. You get to be out, managing different things, at different places every week.

I really enjoy my internship, its different than every other place I’ve worked at. Being in a startup environment might not be for everyone but if you enjoy a quick pace, having real responsibilities, and having a good time, than working for a startup might be for you. Where the opportunities lie are limitless if the startup takes off. Unfortunately though, if it doesn’t you might find yourself looking for opportunities elsewhere.

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The Communications Strategies Group Intern- Amanda Elsasser

Amanda Elsasser intern at Communications Strategies Group

Amanda Elsasser intern at Communications Strategies Group

 A Day in the Life: Communications Strategies Group

It’s a typical hectic Monday for this Marketing Intern.  At Communication Strategies Group, Mondays are often a blur with the amount of activity that goes on.  I wake up and slowly prop open my laptop to see how many work emails I need to respond to so far.  Today, four messages by eight a.m.; it’s going to be a busy day.

You might be wondering what I’m doing still lying in bed at this time on a workday.  Well, Communication Strategies Group is a very small, boutique PR firm in downtown Chicago.  The company is run completely by two powerful women in a crowded cubicle.  Thus, I work from home as nearly all of the work I do for them can be done anywhere that I have access to my laptop and some imagination.

On a typical workday, I’m trying to promote or garner interest for a client cause, event, or product.  Currently, some of our clients are the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Libman cleaning products, the Hope Institute, and a renowned Veterinarian, Dr. Royal.

Thus, I’m creating captions for photos of Girl Scouts at an event at the Allstate Arena.  I then get on the Internet and sift through Cision, a database that contains the contact information of a number of media outlets.  Once I’ve found a list of editors for local newspapers, I send them an email with the picture and caption attached and ask that they consider publishing the photo.  Once this is sent out, I will need to do follow up calls to each of the editors to ensure that the information was received and gauge their interest in publishing.

Another typical task I’m responsible for is writing news releases and pitch letters to promote client events.  Once I have a release written, I will send it to the appropriate editors, as well as submit it to local online news sites.  Patch.com, the Daily Herald, and Triblocal are the most commonly used sites to post events and announcements for our clients; so much of my day is spent submitting posts here.

On the few days that I do go in to the office, it is only for meetings with clients or to prepare for an event.   On Wednesday, one of our clients is hosting an event that should be an awesome experience.  The Hope Institute is a nonprofit organization that benefits children with Autism, and they are doing a large fundraiser, in which they are raffling off a number of amazing prizes.  The grand prize, however, is a 2.5 million dollar condo in Gold Coast, and the media is meeting us at the house on Wednesday to kick off the event.  This will be my first event, and I am thrilled to get to be a part of such an awesome cause.

Honestly, I am learning so much.  While it is nice to get the opportunity to work from my couch, it also takes a lot more motivation and self-discipline.  Additionally, I am a people person, so I do miss that daily interaction with coworkers that I’ve had in positions in the past.  Thus, so far my internship at Communication Strategies Group has not only taught me about the public relations industry, but also taught me a little bit about myself.

The Sears Centre Arena Intern- James Michel

A Day in the Life: Sears Centre Arena

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week, my day revolves around my position as the Marketing and Sales Intern at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.  Because I live in Chicago and drive to Hoffman Estates, I wake up at 8:30am so that I have time to get ready and be at the arena by 10:30am.  Once there, I check in with my supervisor to see what projects she would like me to work on that day.  Because the Sears Centre Arena is an 11,800 seat arena that services the Chicagoland area (especially the western suburbs), the projects can vary greatly depending on the upcoming events.  Lately, we have been focused on our March events, which include: Women’s Big Ten Basketball TournamentMonster Truck Nationals and Magic TourTNA Wrestling, and Circus Spectacular. 

Sears Centre Arena view from Parking Lot

Sears Centre Arena view from Parking Lot

Establishing Partnernships: Libraries and Basketball

My main projects since beginning the internship have been centered on the Women’s Big Ten Basketball tournament.  I am in charge of partnering with local public libraries to create reading programs that encourage kids to read by providing them with admission to the tournament as a reward for completing the program.  In order to set this up, I researched, and contacted the libraries surrounding Hoffman Estates.  Once I got the proper youth services contact, I sent them information about our upcoming event, as well as how our initiative can be useful to them.  I am currently in the process of following up with these libraries to figure out what materials should be sent.  In exchange for providing these libraries with incentives for their reading program, they are going to put posters and flyers that promote the Women’s Big Ten Basketball Tournament up throughout their facility.  As the promotional materials are currently being printed, I will begin to package them and send them to the appropriate libraries next week.

Sears Centre Inside view setting up for a Bull Riding Event

Setting up for the Bull Riding Event

Another project that I am continually working on is the “Skills and Thrills” Fan Camp that will be going on during the tournament.  The camp features more than 15 interactive games and will take place in a climate-controlled tent outside of the arena.  While the games had been decided before my internship began, much of the planning had not.  Along with my supervisor, I have helped configure the set up for the tent and am continuously working to ensure that the event runs smoothly.  I have ordered decorations for the tent, written instructions for the games, helped design materials that will serve both functionally and decoratively, and written the waiver for the event.  While I have already done a great deal of work for the “Skills and Thrills” Fan Camp, I am working each week on tasks to ensure that it draws fans to the arena and runs smoothly once they are there.

Learning Outcomes: The Importance of Media

I have worked extensively on several projects during my internship, but I have also learned a great deal about marketing and its application that I did not have prior knowledge of.  Among other things, I have learned how to work with media to negotiate promotion of events, about trading with other businesses for mutual benefit, and how to write press releases and letters of agreement.  I did not completely understand the media side of marketing prior to my internship.  Previously I had thought that a company either hired an advertising agency or designed an advertisement and contacted the media about placing it.  While that is often true, there is a lot more to it.  As I have learned, there is often trade involved.  Pricing is negotiable, as benefits can be given to both parties in order to shift the price in either direction.  Also, advertisements don’t necessarily have to be made prior to negotiating with media outlets.  For example, on the radio, you can write out your advertisement for them to execute or even just write what things you want mentioned and they will create the advertisement for you.  In addition to the promotional aspect, I have learned about the concept of trade.  This is a concept that I had no prior knowledge of.  In order to avoid both sides having to use their budget extensively, parties will negotiate benefits that are not cash.  For example, a radio station will mention an event a certain number of times on air in exchange for a certain number of tickets to that event that they can give away on air.  While it is a very simple concept, it is one I did not know about that can be used effectively in order to execute strategies within budget.  Finally, I have written several press releases for the Sears Centre Arena about upcoming events.  I did have prior knowledge of what a press release was, but had never written one that was actually used in the real world.  I have found that it is important to include information about the event and why it is important, ticket prices, background information about the arena, and how to get more information.  These concepts and skills have taught me a lot about marketing and business and will help me going forward.

Where I work, the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates

Where I work, the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates

To date, my internship at the Sears Centre Arena has been an invaluable experience.  Since it is my first internship, I am learning about new concepts and am finally able to put my formal education into practice.  I have also been able to work in a professional atmosphere, which will definitely help me going forward, as I now understand the balance between professionalism and friendliness.  Because I want to work in sports going forward, I couldn’t be happier than I am currently.  I am learning new concepts and strategies every day, I am putting my marketing education to use in the real world, and I am gaining experience in an industry that I desire to pursue in the long run.

The Colonie Intern- Lauren Cook

A Day in the Life: The Colonie Intern

the common area of the office

the common area of the office

I currently work for The Colonie, a creative commercial post-production house in downtown Chicago.  The Colonie works closely with advertising agencies, such as Leo Burnett, to edit together the commercials that we see on TV, web and mobile content, television shows, and documentaries   My position is intern. Unfortunately, I don’t have a long fancy title that is specific to one job. The Colonie is fairly small (compared to other businesses), only about fifteen people, but because of this, I get to do many different things within the company.

My day-to-day activities are always different. It typically depends on if a client is meeting with an editor or not. If there is a client, I take care of them; get them food, coffee, whatever they need. I also get to sit in on meetings while they discuss the commercial with the editor, and make changes.  That part is really cool because it is really interesting to see what the advertisers are looking for in the commercial. This could be if the actor said their line “genuinely” enough or what color the ad should end on.

the fancy deck room where I black tapes and put time code on them

the fancy deck room where I black tapes and put time code on them

When clients are not in, I get to do a variety of other things. I get to help my boss with “selects.” Selects are when you take the footage that you have received from the company, and pick out the best shots. I also get to use a fancy deck to “black” tapes, and put time code on them. This is useful so that the editors can have back-ups of the commercials that they have worked on.  On top of that, I also do sound effect and music searches.

I started working here at the beginning of January, and I have learned so much about the industry and technical things already.  While my internship is not specifically marketing related, I do feel as if I am learning about the advertising industry and how to market a company such as the one I work for. My experience will be extremely valuable for my future career development as I hope to go into a business like this, or as a marketing/digital person for a company some day.

my workspace

my workspace

Tribune Media Intern- Fernando Martinez

Tribune Tower

Where I work!

The alarm clock goes off, I get dressed for my internship, take the train into the Loop, pick up my morning Starbucks, and walk through the gold-lined revolving doors of the Chicago Tribune’s Tribune Tower, a stone building dating back to 1925. After scanning my security badge at the front desk, I take the stairs up to the second floor and walk down the hallway to sit at my desk, joining the rest of the marketing team. The first thing I always see when I walk to my desk is my nameplate,

“Fernando Martinez, Advertiser Marketing Intern.”

In a normal day, a typical advertiser marketing intern such as myself can go to one or more meetings, use a few different syndicated data tools, and even have some creative fun with putting together some ad sell sheets. Every day different members of the team go into meetings with clients that are small to medium size business owners, and sales team representatives. Interns get asked to sit in on them to find out more about the needs of clients who want to advertise with publications of the Chicago Tribune, and getting the chance to ask the clients questions that could help with their solutions. Once all the right information is collected, you will use several different tools to pull syndicated data.

My desk!

My desk aka data central!

Such data can range from the population of a certain radius in the city to demographic information down to the finest specification. The amount of data that can be pulled is huge, and it never ceases to amaze me how specific I can get. One of the fun parts of my internship comes from creating the sell sheets that the sales reps can take back to the clients, which will ultimately seal the deal with the client. The sales rep may have done a great job selling the goods to the client, but it’s up to the advertiser marketing team member to pull the right data and tell the story in a way that would compel the client to advertise in the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago Tribune, a division of Tribune Media Group, ranked eighth largest newspaper in the country by daily circulation, and owners of several radio and TV stations, along with other newspaper such as the Los Angeles Times. Currently the Tribune Media Group is in charge of the advertiser marketing needs for twenty-five different publications, gaining an annual revenue ranging from five to thirteen million dollars. The immediate team itself consists of another intern, ten full-time employees, and myself.

cake for RedEye birthday

One of the perks- cake day in celebration of the RedEye 10th Birthday!

Anyone who asks me how I like my internship, I answer the same way; “I love it.” At first I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I applied to it, but after being there for a while and getting the hang of things, I really enjoy what I’m doing. I get to learn so many aspects of marketing every day. I’ve learned things that range from using technical computer programs to pull large amounts of data on just about anything, to learning how to effectively tell a story using that same information. Every day I feel like I learn at least one thing that I never knew before, and probably wouldn’t have learned it had I never got an internship with the Chicago Tribune’s Tribune Media Group.