By Maggie MacCurdy
I have heard many professors and industry professionals explain how communication and marketing agencies fall on a spectrum. They range from having multiple clients in a variety of industries to having clientele all in the same field. My instructors have made the benefits of each type of agency very clear; the former allows for a breadth of knowledge that spans many business types and the later gives you depth in a single one. It wasn’t until this summer, when I was nowhere near a classroom, that I understood just how different specific and general agencies can be.
In June 2017, became a Digital Marketing Intern at MKJ Marketing, where I had the opportunity to create social media copy, edit websites, and write both B-to-B and B-to-C blogs. MKJ is a smaller agency, but they are sought after by clients across the country because they cater to a very specific type of business: funeral homes. The funeral service field can make some people uncomfortable, which is understandable. Most of the public only interacts with the industry when they have lost a loved one, so funeral homes aren’t often associated with happy memories. However, at MKJ, I’ve learned that the dedicated people that run these homes are some of the sweetest and most compassionate individuals you will ever meet. Once I understood MKJ’s unique clientele, my time there could not have been a more positive experience.
Everyone in the office is so familiar with MKJ’s clients, that they can list the services offered by a funeral home across the country by memory. They know the preferences of each home: how they like their social media posts written or what types of pictures they prefer to use. They put in so much care to cater to every client. Even the MKJ owners touch base with all their clients regularly for feedback on posts, websites, and ads. Because we know our clients so well, everything we do-from the shortest update post to a full website-is customized to their business and personality. The MKJ team’s depth of knowledge about the is clients and industry as a whole, shows in every aspect of their business
Even though MKJ focuses on such a specific market, I’ve learned so much about the communication industry as a whole. After this summer, I am comfortable working and navigating applications that are vital to every modern communication professional, like Business Facebook, Sprout, and WordPress. Before MKJ, I had only written social media and website copy for myself and Loyola organizations, now I’ve done both for dozens of businesses across the U.S.
One of my favorite aspects of my internship at MKJ is the range of projects I’ve gotten to work on. I not only write for many clients, but for MKJ’s blog and social accounts as well. Before starting this position, I had difficulty changing the voice of my articles. Everything I would write sounded like me, which is lovely when I want my personality to shine through a boring philosophy paper, or a blog post like this one, but not when I’m writing an article for a business four states away that has its own voice. Now I can get in the mindset of the client after a brief conversation with an MKJ team member. When I’ve written for MKJ, my style has changed along with my audience. These blogs are meant for current and prospective clients. They need to sound like the author is familiar with the industry, and to subtly promote MKJ services, which sounds far simpler than it was. I needed to research all the blog topics, like social media’s effect on the funeral industry and staff training programs, only to write about them like I had known what they were all along. You can read the MKJ blog and try to figure out which posts I wrote, but if I’ve done a good job, you won’t be able to tell.
I am so grateful to everyone at MKJ Marketing, from Courtney who took a chance on hiring me to Tyler who let me share his office for 2 and a half months and everyone in between. I would recommend an MKJ Marketing internship to anyone that asked me and probably to a few people that didn’t ask at all. Beyond that, I think every marketing or communication student should have experience with a specialized agency. Take a chance on the internship at the niche business, in my experience, it was 100% worth it.