An exposure to the Marketing way of life
| July 26,2012 05:27 pm IST
Internship is like a movie, a romantic movie. You dont know whats going to happen at the end.
Will she get the boy, will she not? Will it be the best work, with the best people, will it be the most boring two months spent?
I joined Indix on April 9th, 2012, with a basic introductory session with the co founder and the head of Data Operation Mr. Jonah Stephen (My mentor) and with Dr. Vishwanath Pingali, the consulting expert in econometrics and former professor of Econometrics at IFMR B-School, where I am currently pursuing my MBA.
My friends and I were introduced to the concept of Indix, what it aims at achieving and where it currently stands. We were given our respective profiles with a clear understanding of our roles in helping Indix while gaining knowledge that we had hoped to gain. Mine was a marketing profile and my topic was Building a Universal Product Catalog.
Well, what I was touted to learn from here was what was the importance of product catalogs and its relevance with respect to Indix, how a startup company functions (Indix set up its first office in Jan 2012), about how every single person contributes in multiple ways. Among other things, I was more interested in learning about how a brand new product, and that too an Internet-based product (A Price Search Engine, to be precise) is marketed and sold and where the revenues came from.
My time here has been a mixture of learning and fun. I have loved the attitude of all the employees and I have learnt a lot about the marketing side of things. Interacting with many brand managers of reputed companies has been an intellectual delight for me.
The first couple of weeks was spent on collecting product catalogs, by making sample calls and then snowballed the effort to collect more product catalogs by transferring the learning from the calls to the call centre that Indix has a contract with. After drafting emails scripts, telephonic scripts and FAQs, I next moved on to further the learning of product catalogs by understanding how companies view product catalogs. For this, I interviewed a couple of people from Amazon.com and Finolex to understand the intricacies and differences in their companys product catalogs. The interview at Amazon.com proved to be highly useful, in terms of understanding how ahead/behind Indix was in maintaining a product catalog in comparison to Amazon.com.
After this, I prepared surveys, to understand the mentality of a consumer towards a product catalog. The most interesting finding was that people dont really think a product catalog is necessary to sell a product, and there is a common misconception that they are more useful for e-commerce sites (whereas in reality, catalogs are useful for both, online as well as offline stores). To further my understanding, I also made a short business plan for the use of a product catalog for an illiterate person.
Towards the end of my internship, I helped get feedback for Indixs main product, The Business Console, the features of which were explained with the help of prototypes created specifically for this purpose. My colleagues and I went to brand managers, people in high positions in various industries, to get their feedback on what feature they valued and what more they would like to see.
This experience not only helped me realize the value of marketing personnel and their high value, but I also realized the issues that as the marketing person I faced, and how to resolve them. No experience (especially an internship) is complete without its share of frustration: when I tried reaching a marketing person and instead ended up talking to an operator, when I tried to explain about Indix, and instead met with questions brimming with suspicion asking if Im trying to sell my product. (Credit card companies sure have managed to instill fear in everybodys minds), and when I kept getting connected to a line of people from different departments, and in different positions. Even when I was trying to get feedback, people were under the impression that I was trying to sell the product to them. This just proves that selling any product is difficult, but trying to sell a product that is not physically present and that which focuses on providing price insights is almost the opposite of trying to sell hot cakes.
To sum up, I think I got more than what Id asked for: an exposure to the Marketing way of life, an insight into the working of a startup company, interaction with big shots in several industries, some fun table tennis games, but most of all, my time at Indix made me realize that although I loved doing what I did, it would probably not be what I want to do for the rest of my life. (But hey, in this market, Id do almost anything)
Well, work wise, it was a romantic story, with a happy ending, but people wise well, thats a whole other story, isnt it? ;)