My next intern-adventure followed in the footsteps of the first in that every moment was devoted to learning something new. I spent most of the day on Lynda.com, a database of instructional videos, where I learned what WordPress is and how it works. Boxcar’s website, as well as many of the websites we create for clients, is built on WordPress because it’s a cost-effective and efficient platform with a ton of room for creative freedom.
WordPress is a content management system, or “CMS.” A CMS is capable of changing large amounts of content quickly across multiple pages, posts, or sites. A few years ago, Boxcar created their own website template on WordPress with a plugin called Bootstrap. They were able to have complete creative freedom while still working within WordPress’ super rad content management system.
When I was given my tasks for the day, Mollie told me there would be a conference call that afternoon with a potential client. She explained that Boxcar had already sent a request for proposal, also referred to as an RFP. An RFP is a document, usually about 30 pages long, in which the agency explains how it would conduct business if the client chose to work with them. Mollie humorously compared it to one of my “boring English papers,” and told me that at big agencies there are departments devoted entirely to cranking out RFPs.
The call began at 3 o’clock, and I sat down with an excited Boxcar team to tune-in. This was cool to sit in on because I had no idea things like this went on behind the scenes. In my mind, a client comes into an agency with a pretty clear idea of what they want and the agency executes it. What I witnessed was an entirely different ballgame. The Boxcar team asked a lot of targeted questions.
Who’s your target audience? How are you reaching them? What is your product currently branded as? What do you want it to be branded as?
An RFP had already been written and fledgling plans had already been constructed, but there was still so much work left to do. The team still needed to decide what the product would be branded as, what type of ads they would utilize as well as the copy and artwork for them, and how they would get their message to the right audience. Advertising and marketing take some serious dedication.
All in all, my first few experiences at Boxcar were pretty amazing. It was a bit like being thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool when you’re first learning to swim: equal parts scary and exciting. Even though I’ve just barely scratched the surface, I’m eager to delve deep into the world of advertising and digital marketing.