A New Internship in Academic Marketing

Victoria Parrin undertook a month-long placement within Cambridge University Press’ Academic Marketing department; the first student to do so. Here she recounts her time with the company and what she took from the experience.

What I Got Up To

My internship was within the Brand Development team, a small team of just two staff who work alongside Academic Marketing Executives and Directors to strengthen the CUP brand globally.

I was soon welcomed into the marketing team, which made me feel at ease and less overwhelmed by the scale of the business. From the start I really felt that there was a great emphasis on what I wanted to get out of the placement, what I could learn from my time at CUP and how the team could help me to achieve this.

I had a packed schedule for the next four weeks, with training on Google Analytics being one of the first items on my agenda. I was tasked with the job of using Google Analytics to extract data from ‘Authornet’ – an online author support community whereby authors can check royalty statements and other information relating to their books.

Although the project took me almost 2 weeks to complete, it was really worthwhile and I now feel confident in using Google Analytics to extract and analyse website traffic data. I received positive feedback on the data I had extracted and was told that this would prove useful in the coming months for the constructive of a new author support page, ‘Author Hub’.

Who I Met

During my first week, I met with the Global Marketing Director to discuss what I wanted to get out of the placement and my career progression. After explaining that there was something of a gap in my knowledge about how academic marketing is conducted, she was very helpful in ensuring that my goal of learning more was achieved through my placement.

I also had the opportunity to meet with the different sectors that make up ‘marketing’ within CUP: retail, institutional and library marketing. Aside from receiving some freebies, the people that I met from these various departments were absolutely fantastic at explaining the different academic marketing strands and how they work to ensure that targets markets are reached.

New Academic Marketing Know-How

I learned that it is not just librarians and students that an academic press will target, but also lecturers who might choose to adopt a Cambridge book as core reading on a module reading list. If this is achieved, then further sales are guaranteed as students are likely to purchase core texts that have been recommended by their lecturers.

Not all academic titles contain specific, in-depth content; some titles have more appeal for individuals interested in a particular topic. If these titles were sold solely to academic libraries and students, then the interested individual is likely to be locked out from purchasing.

To reach this market, the retail strand of CUP’s marketing department targets these individuals through social media channels and other means. I also had the opportunity of asking plenty of questions about how the various strands publicised their products and what type of marketing materials were created.

I learned that academic conferences were a big selling point for CUP; they went armed with books for sale and had plenty of promotional literature to give away to interested parties. The opportunities I had to meet with various staff across the different sectors informed my knowledge of academic marketing and it’s an area I am keen to be a part of one day!

After discussing my indecisiveness about career options (editorial or marketing) with the Brand Development Team, they arranged for me to meet with a Commissioning Editor who works on the economics list. This was a great opportunity to see what the role of a Commissioning Editor is, but also to understand the chain of career progression towards a role like this.

He was extremely helpful and gave me plenty of advice on job applications for editorial roles within CUP – he even gave me a business card to contact him if I needed help with applications!

The Moral of the Story

Overall, the placement was a fantastic opportunity to learn about academic marketing in more depth. The gap in my knowledge has most definitely been filled and I feel that the placement proved to have true educational value.

Everyone that I met during my time at CUP were extremely helpful and their advice has been invaluable. If you are interested in working at an academic press, I would definitely recommend a placement at CUP with the marketing department. I was the first intern they’d had and they were pleased with the work I achieved, so watch this space!

P.S. If you do manage to get an internship with CUP, do visit the Press museum on-site. It’s free to access during the day and provides you with a real insight into the history of the Press, dating back to 1584!

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Victoria is a second year part-time student on the MA Publishing course. She has had internships with Cambridge University Press as part of the Brand Development team and is now researching her dissertation, centred upon the historical bookselling site of 1, Trinity Street, Cambridge, focusing on the period 1846-1907 when the bookshop was owned by the Macmillan brothers, before they began Macmillan Press. She also involved with Women In Publishing, CAMPUS and is the managing editor at The StudentLawyer magazine.