What’s better than the insight of one digital marketer? The insight of several! I thought it would be interesting to get the opinions of other digital marketers on a range of different topics: so, welcome to the first edition of Ask Digital Marketing.
As this is the first post in the series, let’s begin with the topic of starting out in the digital marketing industry. For this first post, I’ve invited answers from other members of the Optix Solutions team:
- Ben Corbally, Digital Strategy Manager
- Thomas Haynes, Head of Digital Marketing
- Simon Key, Digital Marketing Manager
- Dan White, Digital Marketing Manager
- Kate Williams, Digital Marketing Manager
So, let’s get started…
What do you enjoy most about working in digital marketing?
Every day there is something new to get to grips with and learn.
For me it’s the fast pace and psychology of digital marketing. I’ve seen the industry being referred to as “online marketing”, “digital marketing” and more recently, just “marketing”. We live in a world where screens are second nature to us, and how we behave online has always been a fascination of mine.
There is always a new challenge and a new interesting client to work for. I also enjoying getting to play with spreadsheets because I’m a really fun guy.
It’s definitely social media for me. I’ve been working in marketing for the past five years, specialising in digital marketing for the Third Sector. I’ve utilised social media to raise awareness, campaign and fundraise for a variety of charities.
I started utilising Facebook’s paid advertisements in 2012 and since then I haven’t looked back. When used in combination with powerful creative the results can be excellent. Some of the campaigns I have worked on include: The Commando Challenge 2016; Know Before You Go; Drugs and Detentions; Rowcroft’s Colour Rush; and The Sleep Walk.
Nerdily it’s seeing the results! It’s that little fist pump feeling when you see a client’s rankings go up, or a new link go live or an increase in search exposure that shows you that the hard work you’ve put in has had the desired effect.
Plus, the variety agency life offers you is fantastic. From meeting plenty of different people to getting involved in multiple industries, there’s never a dull moment.
The ever changing environment. The fact that every day there is something new to get to grips with and learn. Personally, my areas of interest include digital creative, email marketing and working with/understanding code and how the tiniest thing can impact the whole site! I also think having a broad knowledge of all things digital is key even when specialising in specific areas.
How did you first get into the digital industry?
I never intended to get into digital marketing. I stumbled into my career.
I didn’t actually mean to get into the digital industry, I spent my early teens (13 years old) designing freelance for Cornwall County Council, Marks & Spencer, Venture Photography among other names. At 16 I opened a photography and recording studio that was backed by a £25k grant from the government to provide young people with professional equipment. From here I obtained a Scholarship at Truro School, and when I left sixth form I realised I wanted to work in digital.
There wasn’t a degree out there that was up-to-date enough for it to be actually useful in the digital space, so I decided to carve my own way. I started working for an international marketing agency called Netbooster which looks after clients such as Argos, Emirates and Inmarsat.
I did a degree in Visual Art which bizarrely included one module of SEO. When I left University I found that the skills I had developed in site-specific installation happenings and Performance Art weren’t in great demand in the workplace. There was however a local company who were looking for SEO Executives.
I was very lucky that what I thought was a small local company turned out to be a great agency with some large international clients. As well as a good client base the company had some great staff and I learned a lot form some of the best in the business.
I never intended to get into digital marketing. I stumbled into my career. I was working for a charity as an administrator and their marketing officer left suddenly. They needed somebody to take up the reigns quickly; due to my passion and enthusiasm for journalism they felt that I would be a suitable candidate. So I began taking on a variety of marketing responsibilities (as required).
This led to me working on a number of projects but the area that I enjoyed most was digital. This led to me investing my own time in training, which ultimately led to me getting my next position as a digital marketing officer at Rowcroft Hospice.
By complete accident. Graduating at the height of the last recession with a degree in Archaeology and History is a pretty unusual start point. But because of the history background I was asked to work on the marketing for the 2011 census recruitment campaign and it went from there! I realised how much I enjoyed marketing and carried on with it from there.
I started in a marketing background and with the evolving environment of digital, it became apparent that my interest lay in design, creative and build and not so much the offline work.
What advice would you give to people who are new to digital marketing?
Practical experience counts… the more voluntary work, side projects and online learning you can do the better.
There’s a lot of noise in digital: ignore it, find people who deliver commercially and learn from them; don’t take no for an answer, push through; everything is possible online. Too many times have I come across businesses that have had their fingers burnt by digital cowboys. Work hard, make it your world and it will look after you financially and provide you with a career that changes by the hour.
It can be difficult to get experience initially but if you’re in a position where you can do some work experience or take on a junior role you can get a foot in the door. Once you’re in, try and make yourself indispensable – even without much experience you’ll find that there are things you can do which make people’s lives easier. You’ll get training and experience and they’ll get someone taking the admin tasks off their hands.
Have a pet project to experiment on outside of work. This will mean that you can try out crazy things without the risk of causing problems for someone who pays you.
The only thing I would really recommend is getting an understanding of some of the basics of digital marketing and then from there decide upon an area that you enjoy and specialise. In digital marketing you have to have a grasp of multiple disciplines, so a good grounding of the basics is a must!
First and foremost, I hate to say it but having a degree is not the golden ticket into marketing. Because of the ever-changing nature of digital, practical experience counts for so much more. So the more voluntary work, side projects and online learning you can do the better.
Secondly, make a website. They’re fun projects and give you a wealth of experience in understanding the technical aspects of how sites function (and how to get them ranking).
Thirdly, think about your digital presence. If you’re looking for your first job, employers are naturally going to be looking beyond your CV for details. And with digital marketing that goes one step further. So, I’d expect to see some slick social profiles as well as a record of them online. It’s one thing to say you’re passionate about digital but when it comes to this line of work you really have to practice what you preach.
Finally, here’s 3 things I wish I’d been told before starting in online marketing.
Be like a sponge, absorb everything. Go on as many training courses and gain as many qualifications as you can. Knowledge is power!
So, there you have it- thanks everyone for contributing. Interested in being featured in the next Ask Digital Marketing? Just get in touch!