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History Student inspired by Twentieth Century Marketing

January, 2014

History student Lucy Darbon, 20, gives an insight into why she was inspired to apply for work experience at Maxim.

In my final year of studying history at Durham University, my decision to undertake work experience with a marketing and PR firm undeniably raised some eyebrows. People often forget that like anything else, marketing has a history. Having specialised in assessing British publicity campaigns, during WW2, I was inspired to explore how the techniques of the past have translated to marketing and PR today.

Historical inspiration

The well-known publicity campaigns surrounding the Battle of Dunkirk and the Peoples’ War were vital for sustaining public morale during a period of incomprehensible horror. With significant military defeats and destruction of the home front, British citizens had little cause for hope. However, this assessment fails to recognise the power of a strong marketing campaign. Through Winston Churchill’s infamous speeches, enduring press headlines and captivating advertising, the people of Britain were inspired to fight on and eventually defeat an extremely deadly political force.

This historical assessment made me realise that marketing requires understanding people, relating to people and satisfying people. However, with no real knowledge of marketing and PR in the modern world, I was desperate to broaden my experience to outside the library walls.

Opportunities at Maxim

So on arriving at Maxim on my first day, I was uncertain of what lay ahead. Andrew quickly eased my mind though, offering an in-depth description of the company, how it functioned and general information about marketing and PR. Getting the opportunity to hear about the running of a marketing and PR firm from one of the company’s directors was fantastic and certainly left me eager to get involved.

During my week, I had the chance to try my hand at writing a press release, editing, researching and the opportunity to attend a client meeting. Having become accustomed to writing essays for my degree, it was a hugely rewarding experience being given the chance to test different writing styles. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to stylize one article for a local newspaper and separately, for a specialised magazine. This task taught me the importance of understanding your audience.

What I found particularly beneficial was the advice given to me concerning my writing. Suggestions ranging from grammar, language to structuring, were invaluable and helped extend my understanding of the styles of writing required from a marketing and PR firm.

Getting the chance to attend a client meeting provided a very interesting opportunity to compare in-house marketing to out sourced marketing and how the two work together. The meeting also highlighted some crucial decisions and issues that arise in PR; where to position a story for maximum impact, the benefits of endorsements and the difficulties in running a Twitter account for another firm.

An inspirational experience

I cannot thank Maxim enough for the opportunity and knowledge they have given me. Until a week ago, my appreciation of marketing was seriously out-dated and limited. Maxim showed me the process behind marketing campaigns. How the company works with clients, how the company works with the press, how the company tries to help its clients and how the world of marketing is constantly adapting to the modern world. I could go on. But what all these lessons also highlighted was how marketing today still shares many similarities with the twentieth century. Just like during the war when publicity campaigns were set up to help people, Maxim provides articles, press releases and many other services that help inform and motivate people.

It is truly inspirational to witness the contribution a marketing and PR firm makes to the world around it; particularly when that firm is made up of an extremely caring, but dedicated team. Working for Maxim has undeniably bolstered my interest in marketing and PR and I hope that in the future, I can help make similar contributions to businesses and consumers.

posted in: advice, students’ views,

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