In the Summer of 2017 we were at the AdAge Small Agency Conference where we attended a panel titled “The Industry Sucks at Diversity – What Will You Do About It?” The panel was about more than simply diversity, with the panelists stressing inclusion and opportunity, not just some quota that is filled so a company can check the box of “diversity.”
Coming out of that experience we examined how we can actively contribute to providing opportunities to those that may not otherwise have them. We asked ourselves, starting with our own company, in our own backyard, what can we do to raise awareness of marketing as a career option and support those that show an aptitude, passion, and curiosity for expanding their skills?
So we created the Response Marketing Explorers Program.
what is the response marketing explorers program?
We created the Response Marketing Explorers Program to help identify, educate, inspire, and make accessible the tools, knowledge, and guidance a student needs to put them on a successful trajectory towards a possible career in marketing. We are launching the program in early 2018 with Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven, CT.
The Program consists of a paid, after-school internship at Response Marketing, one-on-one sessions with marketing industry professionals, resume and portfolio building guidance, and access to/assistance in acquiring the tools that help develop their skills.
We built the session topics to provide an understanding of marketing, what an agency does, the various roles and skills in an agency like ours, how to build a portfolio, resume, and what an interviewer looks for, as well as several other related topics. We designed it to provide an overview of how the various disciplines from strategy, creative, and project management, to technology, social media and analytics side come together.
As part of the program, we are also providing a scholarship valued at $1,500 to the student who successfully completes the program and graduates high school.
THE THINKING THAT LED US TO create this program
From designers, developers, strategists, writers, producers, photographers, social media experts, researchers, and all sorts of specialists and hybrids, there are many skills that translate into careers in marketing. But how many young people can make a connection between an area that they have some talent and a possible career using those talents? We believe there are lots of hidden gems out there, those who may go unnoticed or are unaware that something that they have an aptitude for can be a path to a future career. It may be the quiet kid in the back doodling in his notebook. The girl who has an intuitive ability for computer science. Or the student who can keep their classmates’ attention through the entertaining way they tell a story. We created this program to help reach those kinds of students.
PROVIDING Access and Opportunity
For us, this has also about seeking out young people where they are and bringing awareness of these opportunities to them, and not waiting for them to find us. This has been important because not every student is going to proactively seek out a program like this if they don’t even know they may have a talent that is applicable. So we have been holding presentations to the students about who we are, the different skills that are applied in marketing, how they may have a talent they can leverage, and what the opportunity is.
One of the biggest things we can do is provide access, opportunity, and knowledge of the possibilities. We believe the providing the access and opportunity at a grassroots level we can reach students in places we may not have previously. Increasing the reach hopefully leads to a talent pool from all backgrounds, leading to a more diverse set of employees, which leads to varied and unique ideas and thinking, which ultimately leads to better work, reflected of the life experiences of all those involved.
our goals for the program
Our vision goes beyond what we alone as Response Marketing can do. We are hoping to a foundation for a program that can be easily replicated, implemented, or adapted by other businesses like ours and with additional schools. We are excited to launch our first year of the program and hope to use this year to iron out the process, curriculum, and other details of the program. We hope to have an impact and play an influential role in students’ lives and careers.
We will be providing regular updates and will introduce our first student in the Response Marketing Explorers Program in early 2018. You can see updates on our blog here as well as our Facebook and Instagram accounts. And we are always open to ideas, thoughts, or other conversations about how we can further develop the program.