I arrive in the Digital Hub, where I’m based at around 9.00am after dropping the kids off at school. I tend to prioritise my most important tasks for the morning so I can ensure they get completed before any distractions from the day kick in. My work is completely varied and consists of digital strategy for clients, business development and launching or managing digital marketing campaigns. I’ve recently launched an online digital academy with training on various aspects of digital marketing. This consists of planning and creating training courses on a frequent basis. I try to work in bursts when I’m the most productive – this can see me sometimes doing a typical 9.00am to 5.00pm day or often have me working in the Hub late at night from 8.00pm till the early hours!
What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
Ability to listen – it’s critical to hear what the client’s current challenges and goals are. Without this it’s impossible to develop a campaign that will deliver meaningful results.
Resilience – a big part of my job is business development, discovering new opportunities. It’s important to stay motivated when someone says “no”, and realise there’s a better opportunity or fit waiting around the next corner.
Learning – the industry is moving so quickly there’s always a need to keep learning new skills and techniques that will help your clients be successful.
Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
I left school at 17 back in 1999 – we were just about to see the dotcom boom and I wanted desperately to put my “self-taught” web design
skills to test in the industry. I actually ended up working as a typesetter in a publishing company for 12 months. I didn’t realise it at the time but it gave me a great insight in to running a business and more importantly how to sell to someone. I was surrounded by a telesales team who I observed daily and quickly started to pick up on who was the best at sales. I left that business to set-up my own web agency and haven’t looked back since!
What do you love most about working in your career area?
My favourite thing about working in the digital marketing industry is when you work for a client’s business you have to think like that business – one day I’m an architect, the next a trust company and then a fashion retailer – I love this diversity. That said every client has similar challenges and goals – in the main their focus is on either generating more leads or closing sales. It’s great to be able to play a part in their success and see them grow from strength to strength as a result of your marketing campaigns. The way we market to and communicate with prospective clients and customers is changing – there’s an exciting opportunity to create really relevant, personalised campaigns, aimed directly at an individual – we call this inbound marketing and it’s a real growth area for the industry.
Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
A negative people associate with the industry would be the speed at which things change and evolve and how important it is to keep up with this. My advice here would be to ensure that you dedicate time to self-improvement and learning new skills and trends. If you’re working within an agency it’s important that they recognise this too and give you the time and support to invest in your own professional development.
What training / quali cations did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
I don’t have any formal qualifications as I left school before my A-Levels to start within the industry. I did take some management NVQs however during my time at my first job. Since then I’ve continued to invest in myself – attending various privately run courses and mastermind sessions where experts teach practical skills to succeed within the industry. These tend to be within verticals such as Facebook Advertising, Writing Sales Emails, LinkedIn marketing etc. A key area I’ve consistently studied for over eight years is Inbound marketing –
the techniques to attract customers, engage them, convert and retain them. The best form of training is to actually put the learning in to practice with a real hands-on project/campaign.
Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
There are so many opportunities within the industry to join an agency or set-up your own business – you can initially go quite broad and get involved in areas such as online advertising, web design, email marketing etc. Then once you have a feel for different disciplines you can start to specialise in a niche area of the industry and become an expert. Most agencies will consider intern placements which are a great place to start when considering what part of the industry you’d like to get involved in. What are you waiting for? Get started today – you won’t look back!