Where do I begin?

The intern experience is filled with learning, amazing opportunities and the occasional bump in the road. I should know. I’m 19 years old and recently completed my sophomore year at Western Michigan University. I kicked off my first internship experience in the printing and direct mail industry where I had almost no experience. But I’m happy to say that because of my time and training at SPC, that world is a lot less foreign now. In my first ten weeks (of thirteen) as an SPC intern, I did my best to make a good impression—to show that I was worth keeping around.

In the middle of a departmental review with Ryan LeFebvre (SPC’s Executive VP of Sales) and Michael Baig (VP of Administration and General Counsel), Ryan asked if I would be interested in travelling with him on an East Coast sales trip. Naturally, I was ecstatic to get some hands-on sales experience and jumped at the opportunity. Here’s what we did:

Taking a bite of the Big Apple

For starters, we flew to New York City and moved on to surrounding areas from there. Coming from a family that visited more National Parks than big cities, I had never been to the Big Apple. The thought of seeing the booming metropolis that is New York had me excited long before our departure date.

Intern NYC 2

But it wasn’t just the big city experience that jazzed me up. I was also excited to get my first insights into the sales side of the print world. Early on in my internship I expressed interest in the sales side of the business to the SPC leadership team, and Ryan was kind enough to give me an unforgettable experience.

With dinners, long drives and extensive chats with an industry veteran, the trip was truly a privilege. We even had a close encounter with the  NYPD’s traffic enforcement squad. Our rental car was unceremoniously booted! But it seemed like it was all part of the authentic New York experience.

Intern NYC 3

It was worth it to be introduced to a wealth of new connections and industry players. Over the course of 56 hours I attended six meetings with clients, ranging from direct end-users to large-scale agencies. Ryan introduced me in each one of these meetings, allowing me to elaborate on the internship process at SPC and my own thoughts on it. My feedback and comments were completely unscripted and I believe it helped show clients how progressive, open and approachable SPC is.

One of the frequent comments we heard from clients on this trip centered on ROMI (Return On Marketing Investment) for their direct mail efforts. Some companies weren’t seeing the results they wanted from basic direct mailings. This was actually great news for SPC, because they employ technologies that help campaigns go beyond run-of-the-mill mailings. They are big believers in personalization and making pieces relevant for audiences. Technologies like the Canon ProStream digital inkjet press can run 100% variable mail pieces and it became a significant talking point in providing possible solutions to the clients’ marketing challenges.

So, what did I learn?

It was a whirlwind experience. In a little more than two days, I absorbed as much as possible, explored new cities and got to know an industry-leading salesperson. I genuinely believe it would be harder to do more in that short time. I kept thinking about the strategies we used to appeal to customers and how successful salespeople both connect with their clients and accommodate their needs. I look forward to learning more about the sales side of the print world and continuing to grow and experience the industry I’ve learned to love.

 

Jake Wendell
Intern

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