Offering a Fresh Perspective: An Intern’s Guide to Developing a Marketing Plan

To commemorate Hana’s internship with Avid Core, we have donated in her honor to the non-profit of her choice. Hana selected the Fair World Project, an organization that advocates for fair trade for small-scale producers and labor justice for workers around the world. We are proud to support this organization and the important work they do.

Spring intern, Hana Chabinsky, smiles for a selfie and shows the title page of her marketing plan.
Photo by Hana Chabinsky.

My first day as Avid Core’s Spring 2021 Communications Specialist Intern was not typical. I met the team virtually, all sitting down via Zoom with a smörgåsbord of Grubhub-ordered lunches. After the rounds of enthusiastic introductions, we naturally began talking about that morning’s event: Inauguration Day.

As we chatted about the powerful speeches and celebrity performances, I couldn’t help but get distracted by the commotion of the closed-off street right outside of my building— full of Secret Service agents and police patrolling Kamala Harris’s apartment (fun fact: I was neighbors with Kamala Harris before she became the Vice President!). The excitement of this day—marking the beginning of a new presidency, internship, and my last semester of college—carried through my entire time at Avid Core.

I’m no President of the United States, and my work as an intern may be slightly less stressful, but in hindsight, there was something symbolic about joining Avid Core on the same day a new presidency began. I felt inspired and eager to make my mark, offer a fresh perspective, and, most of all, absorb as much as possible and learn from my hardworking colleagues.

My capstone project seemed simple on the surface: create a marketing plan for Avid Core’s second year. From interviewing internal stakeholders (my lovely co-workers) to copywriting a value proposition, to developing a website assessment report with short and long-term recommendations, the learning never stopped.

The best part of creating the marketing plan was taking on the role of head chef. The ingredients were all there; I just had to find a way to weave them together to make a cohesive dish that told the story of Avid Core.

Screenshot of the Avid Core team smiling during a virtual meeting, all with different Billie Eilish photos as their backgrounds.
Photo by Hana Chabinsky.

For example, when I interviewed each team member, one of my questions was: What does Avid Core do better than anyone else? Avid Core does lots of things better than anyone else. But I took each answer—each ingredient—and found the underlying consistencies and themes, added a little spice, and told a succinct story in the form of a value proposition.

If you’re currently working on a marketing plan or just thinking about how to best position your company or product offering for the future, I have a few tips.

  1. Interview your key stakeholders. What does your company/product do better than anyone else and why does your company/product exist? These interviews will serve as an excellent baseline and guide the direction of the plan.
  2. Get a fresh perspective. As a new team member, I wasn’t overwhelmed with the things we didn’t have or hadn’t done yet. I focused on the present and the future, not the past, to offer new insight to the team.
  3. Create both short-term and long-term goals to set your team up for present and future success. Make sure these goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based (S.M.A.R.T). For example, a goal could be: Increase brand awareness and reach. A S.M.A.R.T goal would be taking it a step further: Increase brand reach by growing LinkedIn followers by 5 percent by the end of 2021.
  4. Develop a process for allocating your budget, even if it’s just posing a few questions before deciding whether to invest your resources into a marketing tactic. Ask yourself: How will this opportunity serve our goal(s)? How will we determine if this tactic was a success? What will be our return on investment? What is the next best alternative?
  5. Check-ins are your best friend. There were so many components of the marketing plan that it was easy to get overwhelmed by the big picture. Looking at it as smaller components and getting edits and feedback for each one along the way kept this project from veering away from its goals.

While I enjoyed and appreciated learning about and practicing the technical aspects of writing a marketing plan, my favorite part was the sense of comradery I developed with my team as I asked countless questions, bounced ideas off everyone, got constructive feedback, and brainstormed what Avid Core’s future would look like. The symbolism of my fateful first day turned into a palpable energy and passion that not only carried throughout the last five months, but that I will take with me in my next chapter.

Hana Chabinsky is a recent graduate of the George Washington University, where she concentrated in International Business and Marketing. She will be continuing her work in the communications field post-grad at ICF as an Energy and Sustainability Communications Coordinator. Connect with her on LinkedIn.