Building Your Summer Marketing Toolkit

By May 6, 2016Tips & Tricks

By: Sarah Tarrant

Summer is the perfect time to use the marketing knowledge you’ve learned in the classroom as well as take your skillset to the next level. Whether you are looking to hone new skills that could give you a leg up at your summer internship or want to become an expert on current industry trends, QMA has got you covered! Check out our curated list of top tips, materials, and events to help you build your summer marketing toolkit.


Advanced skills in areas such as Photoshop and SEO are not always taught in the classroom, however, these skills can help you stand out and contribute as a marketing intern. To supplement what you’ve learned at school, consider attending different skill-building workshops in your areas of interest.

1 brainstation logoBrainstation offers a number of different affordable marketing education events for young marketers that cover a wide range of topics from digital and social media marketing to product management. At these events, you will have the opportunity to work with different platforms, practice these techniques, and network with top industry professionals.

2 instagramWorking in social media in Toronto this summer? For only $20, you can learn all about Instagram Marketing from Amanda Wei, who is a Marketing Manager at Wattpad. She is especially knowledgeable of millennial behaviour and social media strategies for reaching Gen Y and Z audiences, which is one of today’s most highly demanded skills in marketing.

3 photoshopIf you’ll be working with graphic design this summer, consider attending this Introduction to Photoshop workshop in Toronto (a similar workshop is available in Vancouver!) to ensure you have a working knowledge of the basics before you start your job.

BrainStation also offers a number of engaging panels and networking sessions. You can check out the full list of BrainStation events in Toronto and Vancouver here.

QMA pro-tip: Make sure you sign up for these events well in advance, as they tend to fill up quickly!


Do you have a long commute to work this summer? Not sure how best to fill the time? Podcasts are a great way to help you make the most of your travel time, and are the perfect tool for the modern marketer to help develop skills and knowledge on the go. There are many (free!) podcasts available on the Internet that contain valuable information that can help you stay in the marketing game. Here are our top recommendations to add to your daily routine:

4 #askgaryvee (1)AskGaryVee – If you want your questions answered by one of the best in the industry, make sure you check out #AskGaryVee, hosted by top marketing professional Gary Vaynerchuk. This interactive podcast allows viewers to submit questions about marketing, social media, and entrepreneurship using this hashtag on Twitter, which makes for a unique, personalized, and entertaining listening experience. We especially liked this episode which discussed the future of Snapchat and content creation.

5 Marketing-Over-CoffeeMarketing Over Coffee – Hosted by John Wall and Christopher Penn in a local cafe each week, this podcast is full of rich tips and tricks for young marketers and covers a range of topics from SEO techniques to traditional marketing practices. This episode is one that we really enjoyed, as it talks about the top marketing trends of 2015 and predictions for the future of marketing in 2016. These 20 minute episodes are short, filled with quality advice from top marketers, and are a great way to start your Thursday mornings!

6 under the influenceUnder the Influence with Terry O’Reilly – Spend your commute home with Terry O’Reilly, and tune into this fun 30 minute podcast that explores unique areas of the industry such as the rituals of marketing and the sharing economy. One of our favourite episodes discusses the importance of personal branding and how you can best sell yourself. If you’re looking for an entertaining podcast that covers out-of-the-box topics, this is one to try!

7 the unpodcastThe UnPodcast: The Business Podcast For the Fed-Up – It’s great to get advice on what we should do from top marketing experts, but sometimes we also need to know what we shouldn’t do. Hosted by Scott Stratten, this podcast covers all the ‘don’ts’ before discussing what you really need to do in order to succeed in today’s marketing world. This episode covers everything to do with online advertising, and is great for those of you working at advertising agencies this summer.


If podcasts aren’t for you, you can still make that long subway ride to work or lazy Sunday afternoon valuable by adding these marketing books to your summer reading list. There are plenty of options for you to add to your marketing toolkit depending on what you’re interested in, however, here are a few of our top recommendations:

8 content inc (1)If you want to refine your knowledge of content marketing, check out Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi. This book covers all the basics of this marketing trend to help you create engaging content across a variety of platforms, and should definitely be an addition to everyone’s summer reading list.

9 the big data driven business (1)The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits by Russell Glass and Sean Callahan is a must-read for the modern marketer. This book discusses the importance of analyzing Big Data and how to use it effectively, and is aimed towards those who work with technology and consumer behaviour.

10 the best damn marketing checklistIf you’re looking for a book that covers it all, check out The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period! by Stoney deGeyter, which contains a series of checklists full of practical advice for young marketers. If you’re starting a new summer job, this book is the perfect resource to walk you through various marketing practices step-by-step.

11 positioningFinally, our last book recommendation is Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout. This book is a marketing classic that has survived the test of time with advice and learnings that are still extremely relevant today.

QMA pro-tip: Many of these books are also available as ebooks for your smartphones or tablets!


LinkedIn is another great resource that can help you stay in the marketing game this summer. Following influencers can help you be sure that you’re up to date on the latest news, allow you to follow along with the most recent marketing debates, and let you hear perspectives from leading professionals in the industry. All of the influencers we recommend produce short yet information-rich content on a regular basis and can certainly teach you a thing or two.

12 ryan holmesYou can learn everything you’ll need to know about social media and brand management by following Ryan Holmes CEO of Hootsuite. We especially loved this piece, which touches on the growing skill gap in the workforce – a must read before starting your internship.

13 beth comstockAnother great influencer to follow is Beth Comstock , CMO of GE, who shares her personal experiences in the industry and offers top career tips. This piece touches on the reality of being a young 22-year old entering the workforce, making it a great read for recent graduates.

14 david sableIf you’re interested in social media and advertising, make sure you follow David Sable, Global CEO at Y&R for some top advice. This was one of our favourite reads, which touches on the increased use of cellphones and social media, and how this could be limiting your potential.

Building a strong marketing toolkit is essential to help you stay at the top of your marketing game this summer, and can help you develop skills that will be valuable in your career long-term. Whether you plan to sign up for any of these workshops, download a few podcasts, build up your summer reading list, or learn from top industry professionals, make the most of your summer by using these top tips to start building your marketing toolkit today!

Sarah Tarrant is a 2nd year marketing student at the Smith School of Business in Kingston, Ontario. As a former competitive dancer, she enjoys expressing her creative side through choreography, dance, and writing in her free time. You’ll never find Sarah without a cup of coffee in hand!

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