Ryan Cairns ’17 Blue Marketing-Eager to get into the marketing field after graduation, I immediately accepted the internship offer from Amy Williamson at Blue Marketing in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Almost everyone I’ve told about my internship immediately asked, “There’s a marketing firm in Crawfordsville?” and this is what was unique about getting to work here. It’s one thing to work a marketing firm that specializes in small businesses, but Blue handles some of the smallest of small businesses. If I had interned at a firm in a larger town or city, I would’ve learned how to market a company in a more diverse market and quite possibly could have been lost in the firm itself, being tasked to fetch coffee and study up on the latest SEO techniques. Fortunately, I think I gained a real valuable marketing experience here at Blue that will be easily applied to any future positions, marketing or otherwise.
When you work with clients that serve a town of about 15,000, you quickly learn that their business goals differ somewhat from clients in bigger cities. Instead of seeking to grow rapidly and pay off investors, the local businesses in Crawfordsville know that the key to success lies within keeping their current customers happy and loyal. Large corporations may be currently benefitting from posting engaging quizzes and fun micro videos with having mind-boggling budgets at their disposal, but your average Crawfordsville resident is going to be more impressed by a seeing the Strawberry Festival sharing a photo of their kid at the festival than they are of a 2 minute video with Taylor Swift. Crawfordsville residents know most of or all of the businesses in town, so the marketing here needs to be tailored towards that reality. This all became apparent in the first few days of my internship and changing gears proved to be an interesting and valuable challenge.
The largest project I was tasked with was creating a part-promotional-part-recap video for the Crawfordsville Strawberry Festival. The committee members of the festival wanted a solid video they could share on their Facebook page and their website. This project easily defined my experience at Blue because I was thrown in and trusted to handle the project entirely on my own. Knowing this was going to be a crucial part of the fest’s marketing campaign, Amy Williamson trusted me to run the Facebook page (generating engaging micro videos, posting interesting updates, and responding to any and all messages and questions from festival-goers), meet with the committee chairs, and completely produce their big promotional video.
During the three-day festival, I was trusted to do every single component involved in producing the video, including directing and interviewing the selected committee members, gathering B-roll, and editing it all together once the weekend was over. This was the first project I have ever worked on as a media-specialist where I got to completely make a piece exactly how I envisioned it, and it did phenomenally on Facebook once it was completed. The video that I brought to life from my own imagination ended up gathering over 6,000 views and reached over 10,000 people — that’s two-thirds of all the people in Crawfordsville and also the post with the single most number of views and people reached out of any post Blue has put out on any of their clients’ social media pages. That alone made this entire experience worth every second of work I put into it, let alone all of the other projects I had worked on as well. Without this opportunity from the Lilly Grant, I would not have gained this priceless small-business experience.