Meet Vertical Measures’ 2017 interns, Austin Ehrlich and Heather Salfrank.
Austin: My name is Austin Ehrlich, and I’m heading into my senior year at Arizona State University; majoring in technological entrepreneurship and management with a minor in sustainability. I’m currently the club president and captain of Arizona State University Hockey, and the team is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation.
Heather: Hi my name is Heather Salfrank, and I am a graduate from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic information technology. For those who don’t know what that is: It’s a program for students to study graphic-technology such as print, web development, photography, filming, animation, and 3D modeling. I hope to use my college education in the marketing industry as a multimedia designer so that I can get a chance to work in all kinds of media.
What were your goals for your internship?
Austin: The goals for my internship were very simple: I wanted to gain a special insight on content marketing, and why it’s so important in the world of business. In addition to that knowledge, I wanted to gain an understanding of a professional office environment. Seeing how an upscale business operates was extremely useful, and the employees at Vertical Measures helped me transition into it quickly and easily.
Heather: My goal for this internship was to get the full experience in marketing. In college, you can learn all the programs you want, but you don’t get the experience most companies want. I wanted to learn what brings viewers’ attention to brands, and what’s trending in the marketing industry.
What did you like most about interning at Vertical Measures?
Austin: I liked working at Vertical Measures for so many reasons, but I loved the people that I worked with. Everyone at Vertical Measures is so helpful, and they really make you feel like you’re part of a contributing team. Plus, there are dogs in the office every week. Who could complain about that?
Heather: The company; the people here are nice and fun to be around. This was the first for me to see a company act like a family and being very generous to one another. I also enjoyed how after my first day working at VM we were placed in all these meetings and learning skills from all departments. We as interns were given a full hands-on experience with marketing, and that was something I was looking forward to this summer.
What were the top things you learned?
Austin: I learned so much while I was here, but the main thing was how much manpower and time goes into building these strategies for clients. Building a website is not as simple as it may seem. There are so many ideas and strategies that go into building an optimized website, and that was very cool to see.It was a first to see a company act like a family and being very generous to one another. Click To Tweet
One of my goals was to understand a professional office environment, and while interning at Vertical Measures, I got just that. I learned how to balance tasks, communicate effectively, and most importantly, collaborate with my fellow team members. These are very valuable skills to have in today’s business world, and this internship definitely helped with that.
- Task management: Vertical Measure set me up with a few tools they use to help manage communication and tasks in the office; those tools were Outlook, Workfront, and Skype. All tools were incredibly helpful, especially Workfront. It helped me track my time, communicate with people in the office, keep me up to date on when tasks were due, and share design assets to other employees.
- Content marketing: Through my training at Vertical Measures, I was given a different point of view on content marketing. I always thought it was mostly blog posting, but you also need to know that content is everywhere — from the content you create on a website, to using specific keyword phrases to help rank higher in the search results. Content is a big aspect in the marketing industry and I’m happy I got a chance to learn what it’s about.
- Customers journey: There are four steps customers take when buying a product or making a deal with a company. The first one is awareness, which is the search-for-something phase. The second is consideration; after finding something the customer wants they will then start looking for options. The third phase is decision, which moves the client to pick a deal. Lastly, the fourth phase is called advocacy, which means the client is there until the end. I thought this was interesting to learn because it’s not something that only marketers focus on, but it’s something everyone should focus on.
- Time management: One of the things I struggle most as a designer is time management. I never know how much time I should give myself on a project. This was a helpful skill to learn with some help from Workfront and my design manager Dan Dannenberg.
- Design styles and typography: One of the tasks I was given was to learn something I am weak at. My weakest design was typography, but after this summer I have a better understanding of how to use typography better. I was given challenges such as only using completely different fonts on blog posts, studying what each font means, and creating some of my own fonts for titles. This was a great experience because in school I was never taught design skills such as typography.
What surprised you about digital marketing?
Austin: Digital marketing was a relatively new topic to me, and I didn’t know much about it coming into this internship. However, something that surprised me was the enormous amount of time and effort it takes to create a digital marketing strategy. There is an enormous amount of work and research that goes into the planning for each client, and everyone at Vertical Measures is involved.
Heather: What surprised me was digital marketing isn’t just posting a blog, you have to study anything that has content involved. Learning how Google ranks pages differently just by the amount of resourceful content is amazing.
When your friends or family ask you what you did this summer, how do you explain your job at VM?
Austin: The first part of my answer is that I work at a marketing agency, but I know that Vertical Measures is much more than that. I tend to try to explain search engine optimization, and how the Google algorithm works, but that is often met with blank stares. There is just so much that goes into content marketing strategies, and I have learned so many things here at Vertical Measures so it’s very hard to narrow my job down to one simple explanation.My training at Vertical Measures game me a different point of view on content marketing. Click To Tweet
Heather: Most of my friends understand marketing so it was always fun to come home to tell them some cool detail work I did at Vertical Measures. My family, on the other hand, doesn’t really understand marketing other than billboards and commercials on TV. So, when they ask what I do, I simply say I create those billboards you see on the freeway but on the internet. I also tell them I study websites and research traffic to and from the website. After saying traffic for a website, they just start nodding their heads like they understand.
How would you explain SEO? This isn’t a test, but we’d love to hear your take after three months with VM!
Austin: SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s all about increasing visitors to your web page. The website must be optimized properly for it to rank high, hopefully on the first page of Google search results. Certain tactics and strategies are used in order to optimize a website, which will ultimately help it rank higher on Google, therefore increasing visitors to the page, and hopefully increasing revenue for the business.
Heather: SEO is search engine optimization. By applying different techniques and tactics through SEO, it can increase the number of visitors to a website with a high domain. To better understand SEO, when using Google, you will see top pages that will result from the keywords you used in the search bar. For example: I type in “how to bake a cake” and in search results, you will see a minimum of three links that will say how to bake a cake, because those were the pages that best matched my search.
How would you explain link building?
Austin: Link building is the process of getting links from other websites to link to your own website. These links help users go from a related topic or website straight to your website. This can increase traffic to your website which is the main goal behind SEO and link building.
Heather: Link building is a proven strategy used to research and convince another website to place a link to another website to benefit the viewers. This strategy can help a business gain more traffic to the web page, plus will help continue the viewer’s journey in the search.
What’s next for you – where are you headed?
Austin: I’m currently heading into my senior year at Arizona State, and I plan to graduate in May 2018. I’m very excited about my last year of school and eager to start my professional career.
Heather: My next step is to find a job in the marketing industry in Phoenix for a few years and then hopefully move to Seattle, Washington. You may be wondering why Seattle, and the reason for that is it’s not hot, plus it’s the city with huge marketing opportunities for me to explore.
Is there anything else we didn’t ask you that you’d like to add?
Austin: Interning at Vertical Measures was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The people here are great, the work atmosphere is great, and the company is great. I learned so much, and I thank everyone at Vertical Measures who helped me grow over the course of this internship.I was surprised about the enormous amount of time and effort it takes to create a #contentmarketingstrategy. Click To Tweet
Heather: I would just like to say that Vertical Measures was a great company to work for. You have given me something more than what most companies would offer, and that is help educate students to a full-time working environment experience. You gave me challenges with not only design but also speech, writing, and many marketing tools that will be helpful in the future. I am grateful to have learned from you guys and to use my skills soon in the marketing industry. Thank You Vertical Measures! And also thank you, Dan Dannenberg, for teaching me so much in design this summer; you were an inspiring artist to work with.
Want more behind-the-scenes access to Vertical Measures internships? Find out what our 2016 interns had to say about digital marketing and check back with us soon for an update on our next summer program!