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Thanh Tran ’17 The Art of Persuasion

 

Than and Pete

 

Thanh Tran ’17- It’s hard to believe that 5 weeks of my internship had already passed. The last 5 weeks was an excellent work experience. Speaking of email marketing, people may assume that there’re not much work involved in it. As I told my friend once about my internship title, he asked me: “So you just sit there and click the send button?” I wished it could be simple as that but “unfortunately”, in fact, it was not. I have to admit that I was a bit worried before my internship started since I just finished my first year and didn’t have many course works in business. However, with the step-by-step instructions from Curtis Peterson ’10 and other team members, I was able to learn and enhance my skills substantially in marketing.

Angie’ List is a consumer-reviews company whereby people sign up for membership to view the reviews of other customers and use the recommended services. In other word, it’s a reciprocal platform of which Angie’s list suggests the best service providers to consumers and in return, the consumers leave the reviews after they use the services. The Email Marketing team, of which I intern in, is a core function of that review-based system. Our job is to get the members to sign-up for membership as well as help them leave the reviews after they use a service or purchase a deal. Our team has four great members. They are Jared, Weston, Seth and my supervisor, Curtis Peterson. My internship wouldn’t become a great learning and working experience without the dedicated guidance from Jared and Curtis. As I mentioned above about the email marketing function, my internship tied to the review collection, including updating and analyzing data. On a daily basis, I handle most of the tasks with Excel and some specialized email marketing tools, which are ExactTarget, Formstack, FTP and AL-tool. On every Monday, I cleaned up the submission spreadsheet that I pulled out from Formtack to calculate the conversion rates of the test and control groups. Then, I conducted A/B split tests to determine which one is the winner of the weekly email campaign. I also sent out review emails to over one million member on every Monday, which was quite intimidating since a small error could mess up the whole process. On Friday, I executed quality assurance (QA) to ensure proper emails templates and resolution regardless of viewing screens before they were sent. In addition, the best part of my internship was the email project, thanks to the great initiative of Curtis Peterson. First of all, I created four types of Gmail accounts based the increasing level of engagement: they never engaged, rarely engaged, less engaged and engaged. With those accounts, I signed up for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, HomeAdvisor and Yelp. I keep track of the emails from those websites to calculate the email frequency as well as the way they approach members with respect to different engagement degrees. And for that reason, my project is also called the email “spy” project. Indeed, I found out very interesting things about how each Websites above email their members. For instance, Facebook keeps the same subject lines for their emails, whereas LinkedIn tweaked their emails a lot.

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Speaking of my internship, it would be a serious mistake if I didn’t mention the workplace environment at Angie’s List. Angie’s List does care about its employees. Indeed, we don’t have to wear business casual to work. People can wear whatever they want as long as they’re appropriate. There is a small gym on campus where employees can have a short break to work out. Angie’s List employees can enroll in a fitness program of which they get awarded for a number of pounds they lose. During my internship, the human resource team organized an Interns Olympic Day where interns competed against each other in a variety of outdoor games. It was a fun day as all of us have the great opportunity to know each other. My friend Shelby Logan from Northwestern University won the Intern of the Year. Along with that, working with my team is an interesting thing too. People here are very friendly as they’re willing to help when you reach out to them. We also have a Friday lunch that people at the Marketing department can have lunch together. Just so you know, I had a Friday lunch with Angie Hick once. As my supervisor Curtis told me on his last day at Angie: “Money is important but not everything, what matters is who you’re working with.”

Now, I can say with confidence that my knowledge of email marketing was substantially improved. What you show on your email has a significant impact on the viewers. It can be a subject line, a picture or an appealing call-to-action. Email marketing is cost-effective, yet the most effective marketing campaign. With that being said, it’s a job that requires creativity, innovation and meticulous analysis.

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Finally, I would like to take my last part to thank Wabash College for offering such great opportunities like this to Wabash students. I also want to thank Lilly Endowment, Inc for providing me this opportunity. Without the funding from Lilly, this would not be possible. Last but not least, I want to say my biggest thanks to Curtis Peterson ’10 and Jared Campbell for guiding and teaching me with great dedication.

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