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Where are you based?

What job do you do?
Head of Digital Marketing

How did you get into marketing/communications?
I got into marketing by a happy coincidence! After the birth of my daughter, I went back to work in a technology start-up in the UK with around 6 staff as a Salesperson. I broke the status quo by managing to match (and beat!) everyone else’s sales volume, simply by sending engaging emails instead of calling and hitting call targets each day. Our CEO loved my emails, and, they needed someone to do in-house low level marketing after some time with an agency. As the only ‘millennial’ there and with previous experience in Facebook and Instagram selling, I stepped up!

After almost a year and a half, I went from International Marketing Executive to Marketing Manager with 2 Google Certifications behind me. With no marketing mentor until nearer the end of my time at the company, I taught myself everything I knew by cramming in the evenings and asking the agency tonnes of questions and by Googling and practicing whenever I could!

I then moved onto another company who were looking for their first full-time marketing employee as a Marketing Manager, and within a year had been moved into a dual-role across two businesses within the group, and then promoted to Head of Digital Marketing.

What are you most proud of in your career as a marketing/communications professional?
I’m most proud of my Google Certifications. Having self-taught a lot of what I knew, and studying so hard in the evenings while juggling a young daughter and single parenthood, to get the seal of approval from Google was just the most incredible feeling! I remember crying and jumping up and down once I’d passed my Google Search exam, after already failing it by 4% once. It definitely wasn’t easy, but it was one of the best things I’ve ever achieved.

What’s even more incredible, is now I get to watch my own team do the same thing, and feel exactly the same amount of pride in them as I did in myself when I passed. It’s so rewarding to watch someone that you’ve mentored grow and to follow in your footsteps!
How has marketing/communications helped the organisations you’ve worked for?
One of the most rewarding things about marketing and comms is changing the perception and positioning of a brand, simply with words. To be able to see those graphs increase or to watch something that you’ve implemented lead directly to the company making sales worth £000s is always such a buzz. I’m really lucky to work for a company where the marketing and business development teams work really closely together, and it’s such an amazing feeling even to hear feedback from prospects and clients like “they said your email looked cool” or “they remembered our name because it was unique” or “I’m calling someone back today who asked for a demo after seeing this ad here” etc. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to work on something so collaborative and to see the work of you and your team making a difference.

What challenges have you overcome on your professional journey to where you are today?
I’ve worked for companies who don’t believe in Marketing and companies who think it’s amazing. I’ve worked freelance with tiny 1-2 people businesses with a budget of £100 a month, and been employed for companies who spend £30k a month on Marketing. The hardest part in every one of these journeys has been proving that marketing does work! Taking control of your branding, your brand perception, your offering, your website, your social media, your advertising, your PR, your positioning… it really works. Often, companies confuse marketing and sales; where they see sales as a “I spend X and get Y back” exercise, and can’t match marketing activity up to revenue as easily. An important part of my job is to make sure that the ROI is clear, to justify spend and to show how X activit(ies) lead to Y sale. It takes a cunning combination of data analysis, management skill and sometimes it’s just down to asking the right questions! But nothing is better than seeing the penny drop when a CEO or an MD or a Founder sees for themselves that marketing really works.

Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the marketing/communications industry?
Don’t do it!!

… Just kidding.

Definitely just spend the first couple of years of your career like a sponge. Take in knowledge, absorb, ask questions, find a mentor, read articles, follow people on LinkedIn… do what you can! If your employer supports personal development then go to conferences or talks or even network locally, and take in all the information possible. One of the most important things I did for my career was taking the Google Qualifications, because they took me from Basic > Expert in a very short period of time. What’s more is that their learning programme is so engaging and you’re learning real-life examples throughout, which really helps you to apply the theory and lessons practically to your own work. I would definitely recommend embarking on some online learning or short courses, even if you’ve been to University to marketing. Don’t forget that the world of marketing changes so quickly: I can think of at least 20 changes to the Facebook algorithm alone in the last 4 years. So never stop learning!

Another tip is especially in your first 2-5 years, become a generalist. Don’t put yourself in a ‘social media’ or ‘PPC’ or any other kind of marketing box, because you will have plenty of time ahead of you to specialise. Also, they all work together and integrate! You can’t do Google Ads or social media marketing without understanding demographics, attribution models, analytics, copywriting, budgeting etc. So don’t limit yourself to one thing or one skill set! Try to learn as much as you can about all the different types of marketing, and then there’s plenty of time to pick what you like best and specialise further in the future.

Finally, where can we finds you online?

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