“Every problem is solvable if you are willing to accept the consequences.” -Alex Garden
After visiting Zume Pizza during my Duke in Silicon Valley experience, I immediately reached out to the CEO who spoke to our class. I was blown away by his dreamer mentality on life and inspired by his vision for his company. We connected on Linked In, and I told him that I had never been more excited from hearing someone speak. He immediately responded with some life advice and said to me that I achieve anything that I dreamed of because “Life isn’t that complicated… it’s just that most people find it easier to make excuses than changes. Work that out, and you can accomplish anything.” We connected later in the year and shortly after I was getting ready to spend my summer in Silicon Valley at Zume Pizza!
At the beginning of the summer, I was one of two interns brought on to the marketing and content development team. We worked on many different projects throughout the summer. Some of my most significant projects included:
Responsible for recommending a social media and content strategy for Zume Pizza brand:
✪ Conducted research on 45 other food, drink, and lifestyle brands
✪ Developed a plan to improve collaborative efforts between the marketing, content, and design teams
✪ Developed a content creation plan, organization plan, and strategic plan to execute on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
✪ Collaborated to create a content calendar
✪ Focused on recommending specific tools to use to help implement a strategy
✪ Presented to the Marketing and Design Leadership team
✪ Brainstormed and created unique digital content that resulted in three of the highest viewed & “liked” Instagram posts
✪ Developed an Event Marketing Guide
✪ Collaborated to create a content calendar
Researched and identified marketing events and opportunities for Zume Pizza
✪ Attended multiple farmer’s markets, Mountain View Thursday Night Live events, Summer Concert Series, & Mountain View Tech show to increase brand awareness, drive trial, and increase coupon redemption
✪ Formed crucial partnerships with seven local school districts to enhance customer acquisition
✪ Developed a sales pitch and made multiple calls to offer a local school partnership opportunity
Led Guerrilla Marketing Project
✪ Collaborated with the Design team to create flyers to post around current and new trade areas to advertise Zume Pizza, build brand awareness, and drive trial
Analyzed a customer tapestry report to aid in redefining our target customer
✪ Analyzed data to identify trends concerning loyal, repeat, and lost costumers
✪ Concluded what customers we should focus on targeting
Introduced Instagram Influencer & Food Blog Partnership Idea
✪ Recommended partnering with Instagram influencers and bloggers to build awareness for Zume pizza
✪ Organized influencer meetings with the marketing team
Aside from all of the skills I learned while working on a marketing team, I was able to learn how all parts of the business work together. I asked to shadow different teams and different positions so I could see what everyone does on a day to day basis and see how they connect. I shadowed a Project Manager, Program Manager, Software Engineer Team, Design Team, & Operations Team. We also had lunch and learns with the interns and leaders at the company to hear about their career paths and life stories.
One of my most valuable takeaways was learning about the true nature of a startup and understanding that the environment is continually changing and adaptability is the most critical skill. You may be wearing a different hat every day or working on a different project every day so it is essential to be flexible and adapt to whatever comes at you.
A lesson I learned was to ensure communication is always clear. I had organized an Instagram influencer to come to visit the company via an email exchange. I believed that I had finalized all of the details, but the day of, the influencer showed up early, she thought she was shooting footage when that was not the intention of the meeting or what we had confirmed. Thankfully, my managers were there to set an example and show us how to handle the situation, so it still went smoothly. I learned that before scheduling anything make sure to follow up, send an agenda, and clarify every detail so there will be no confusion or misinterpretations.
My favorite part about the summer was all of the people that I met and the relationships that I built with people who took valuable time out of their days to get to know me and share their wisdom, stories, and career advice. Eating pizza everyday was also a huge bonus! I was grateful to have received some remarkable mentorship during the summer as well. Alex shared his steps to success with the interns, and we created happiness charts to use to make any decision in life because it was a way to write down what makes us happy, what saps our energy, and what my dream career characteristics would be. He advised us to use it and keep everything on that page in mind to get closer and closer to achieving our dream goals. With his mentorship and the mentorship of my friend who was an intern and now works full-time at Zume, I also developed a 2-year plan. This two-year plan is a written plan that has everything that I need to do and learn and work on for the next two years to get to where I want to be a couple of years from now. I am lucky because I have always known who I am and what my values are and the type of person that I aspire to be, but I didn’t fully understand how to get there. With my plan, I feel like my feet have landed back on the ground and now I have concrete goals and steps to help me achieve and begin to build the life that I want to live. Zume Pizza was a fantastic experience, I grew as a person, and now I know that life after college will be a new fun and exciting chapter!