Interview with Mark Havenner

9 04 2009

I interviewed Mark Havenner for an assignment that I received for my Intro to PR class.

Mark Havenner is an Account Manager at The Pollack PR Marketing Group. He majored in eBusiness and is currently working on an MBA in marketing at the University of Phoenix.

  • What’s a typical week like?

PR and agency PR is a very fast paced industry. Even in an economic downturn there isn’t a lot of sitting around. I spend most of my day on the phone with media pitching a story, writing press materials, talking with clients, internal meetings, stuffing press kits, corresponding and managing via email and working on networks via social media.

  • Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.

My favorite right now is National Public Gardens Day. We are creating awareness on the nation’s gardens and their role in environmental conservation. Great worthwhile project, a lot of fun and I work with some fantastic organizations and people.

  • How important is writing in your career?

Writing is critical to my career. I spend the vast majority of my time writing. PR is entirely about communication and the ability to write well is imperative. Proper grammar is only one element, a writer must also be able convince the reader and connect with them in a meaningful way. Poor writing can completely destroy an otherwise perfect PR campaign.

  • What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?

  1. Read everything. A PR professional must be up to date on the industries he/she represents, the news, the media and everything in between.
  2. Watch everything. A huge part of PR is connecting with and understanding the media. Being current on not only news but pop culture is important.
  3. Internships are important. If you can’t get a job outright, then intern with an agency and shine. Agency’s will hire interns full time often before going outside to hire.

  • What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?

I read the news and follow industry blogs. I also spend time connecting with other PR professionals via social media.

  • Did your education prepare you for working in PR? How?

Business education is very important for PR. Understanding your client’s resources, the marketing world, how and why PR works and the overall business scope of business positions you for success. Going into PR as a consumer alone can lead you to pitfalls that a business education would help you avoid.

  • What has surprised you the most about working in PR?

The diverse set of skills required is surprising. I could be building web sites on one day and editing a video on another. Graphic design, understanding the printing industry and other niche skills like that are just as valuable as understanding media and journalism.

  • What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?

I wish I knew about PR as an option for a career before I went into publishing. It is the perfect career for someone who is naturally curious, loves the news and media, and enjoys writing.

  • How has PR changed since you entered the field?

I’m new to the field, however, I have seen the marketing world shift from a push strategy to a pull one. More and more, consumers must be interactively engaged in a campaign to convert. The days of broadcasting a message and hoping enough of it sticks to the wall are coming to an end. The future of PR and marketing is understanding the audience and talking with them one-and-one.

  • How does technology affect your daily work?

Technology is everywhere. PR professionals need to know the ins and outs of the online world and emerging technology, as well as office technologies.

  • When your company is hiring for an entry-level PR position, what makes a candidate stand out?

Strong writer, quick learner and consistently meets deadlines.

  • What professional organizations are you involved in?

Our agency is a member of Worldcom, a worldwide PR partnership.

  • What is your favorite and least favorite part of your job?

I love working in social media and it is becoming more and more important to almost all of our clients. It is a fascinating way to directly connect with the market, something PR is always trying to master. I suppose my least favorite part of the job is sending out mailers – but it has to happen and is just as important as any other aspect of the job.




One response

27 04 2009
Cinnamon Cameron

This is a great interview! Mr. Havenner sounds like a great PR! Where did you find him for this interview? Good work!

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