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Externing With WrightIMC

Last fall, WrightIMC signed up to participate in the University of Texas at Dallas’ Externship program. They were given a project that we felt would introduce them to the world of internet marketing. This is their story written by J. Michelle Abuda: 

We were crowded around the table, unsure of what step to take next. Phrases including “Career Centers” and “Campaigns” were scribbled on the whiteboard, but was that really enough? As externs, our goal was to spend the next three days finding ways for WrightIMC to advertise its internship program.

For those who were staying in the area over spring break, the University of Texas at Dallas set up the “Explore the WOW!” externship program to give students an opportunity to job-shadow companies in the Metroplex. An externship, kind of like an internship, allows a person to come to the company for a much shorter period of time just to explore different jobs. For my externship, I was chosen with two other students from UTD to visit WrightIMC for the week.

Our externship started off with the option of attending the Dallas Interactive Marketing & Internet SEO/SEM Meet-up. I jumped at the opportunity and attended the meeting with WrightIMC to listen to Steven Hammer of ACE Cash Express discuss “Effective AdWords Campaigns.” With the little AdWords experience that I had from making a website in high school, I was able to vaguely follow the presentation. Mr. Hammer had a lot of great advice and brought up some ideas that I had not considered before, such as using negative keywords to your advantage.

The next day, the real work of our externship started. We were given a short presentation on the industry (they talked about the Internet obviously, but what I remember best were the memes thrown in every few slides) and then told to go at it. Now, we go back to the opening scene. We didn’t really know where to begin, so we started with the basic Internet advertising that we knew.

We wrote on the whiteboard everything that we knew that involved advertising on the web. We wrote out websites where we could post ads, websites we could use to create campaigns, and websites that belonged to universities that would take internship information. The first day, we also interviewed all of the current interns to see what they liked about the internship and where they found out about it.

On the second workday, we walked into the WrightIMC office and expected to do silent work on our separate laptops. We were probably about an hour into our ‘busy-work’ – I was refreshing myself on how to make a Google AdWords Campaign for WrightIMC – when Ryan came in to check upon us. When we explained our current plan of action, he told us that we needed to be more “creative.”

I always hated that word. Usually, it meant that we needed to use colors. “Creative” was always followed by “think outside the box,” which meant we were supposed to use forest green rather than just green when shading our trees. But Ryan told us about his QR Code project, how he had studied QR codes for a while and was able to draw an artistic code that actually scanned. The idea of making an interesting video stuck with us. After Ryan left, we went back to the whiteboard to basically start over and find something more exciting than the “boring” stuff WrightIMC already knew.

While looking at a website for creative guerrilla marketing, I saw an advertisement that involved a giant portrait made out of cards that people on the street could remove with company information on the back. The cards reminded me of sticky notes … sticky notes are squares, so I thought that we could make a QR code out of them.

Inspired by Ryan’s making-a-QR-code video, we created a giant sticky-note QR code rather than a hand-drawn QR code. Because we did not develop the idea until about halfway through the second day, and because we did not start the filming until our third and final day, it was quite a rush and we did not finish on time. We had to come back a week later to present the video to WrightIMC. But, I think that it turned out pretty awesome.

So, what did I learn from my week-long externship? Well, first off, WrightIMC is a really cool place to be. Second, I further realized the importance of the Internet and the role it plays in business today. I also discovered that, in marketing, thinking outside of the box doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to pop out a more colorful banner. Nowadays we need more interesting and unique ways to attract people’s attention.

Thank you again to Michelle, Ramu, and Rachel for being a part of our team – if only for a few days. You can watch their finish product here: https://bit.ly/HpjR0x

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