Where are you based?
What job do you do?
Group Marketing Manager for Future Inns UK
How did you get into marketing/communications?
I came into marketing in a very backward way. I left school at 16 after I completed my GCSE’s and did a ‘birdy’ course in college, designed at getting you able to work in an office – which sounds so out of touch now. It covered word processing, using English for business and how to prepare presentations.
Luckily, I soon found myself working in Radio, in an administration role (commercial scheduling – or traffic as it is known in the industry), but was able to learn various sides of the business before moving across to be sales and marketing support. I was there for 9 years, so I did learn a lot, but when I decided to move on I had a run of bad luck and was made redundant 3 times in 2 years. This really knocked my confidence and self-esteem, though you never would have guessed it from the outside. There was funding at the time and I was able to boost my experience with professional qualifications.
I have since moved into the hospitality and events industry – which I love. My whole days is focused on driving people to book (hotel rooms, conferences, weddings, dining in the restaurant, etc) whether that be through the company website, social media, email campaigns, networking or other outreach programs.
What are you most proud of in your career as a marketing/communications professional?
I am most proud of the friends I have made along the way. I have had the opportunity to meet some fantastic characters, learn new skills, different ways at looking at and tackling situations, and the ability to laugh – I work hard, but I enjoy what I do. I have been very lucky to work with some talented and inspiring colleagues, and I love that some of them are good friends.
How has marketing/communications helped the organizations you’ve worked for?
There are a couple of moments that really stand out. Whilst working for the Foster Care Co-operative I was able to give the organization national recognition. The looked after children all took part in an art master class producing self-portraits and these were hung in The Senedd, the National Assembly for Wales. The launch was covered on TV, Radio and in print raising awareness of the need for foster carers and to help shake the stereotype that youngsters in care are bad eggs.
Whilst at Bryn Meadows Golf Hotel and Spa I helped add a £1 million onto the revenue over 3 years. As a family-owned resort, working with a very small team the company was often at capacity its facilities. It was also a brilliant opportunity to be creative; we could design our own events or build different types of overnight packages which could include a boot camp instead of the typical bed and breakfast.
At the end of May 2018, I set up my own blog – Real Girls Wobble. Whenever I would be at a networking event or talking with other business owners, the question of ‘how do I market my business?’ would always come up. Most people know the traditional methods and that when you are online your social media can make a difference. I would end up giving pointers on how to improve some areas, but I would always say are you writing a blog or publishing news articles? I decided I needed to practice what I preach and put myself out there. Less than a year old, and I have had some incredible opportunities and have worked with some brands I really admire.
What challenges have you overcome on your professional journey to where you are today?
So many… Before leaving the radio I was not confident in my skills. I started there at 19 and my entire professional career had been in one place. I did not think I could ever lead a team or be become middle management. Then as I mentioned, I had a run of back luck being made redundant because of loss of key contracts and then re-structures. Confidence in my skills grew later when I could see the results of my hard work – growing social media followers and making this an awareness and selling platform, TV interviews, award recognition – and this gave me the confidence to enhance my skills and apply for positions I previously would have thought as being out of my league. I still have doubts about my skills, but instead of backing off I look for solutions.
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the marketing/communications industry?
You are a salesperson. You can not avoid the word. Many are still worried about the negative connotations of being a ‘sales rep’ but ultimately marketing is an extension of the sales or commercial function. To do this successfully you need to personable. While you will need to thrive on digital platforms and traditional methods, in-person communication skills will be a vital skill in building your career. Do not overlook the importance of personal interaction with your clients and colleagues. Strong interpersonal skills (from a persuasive elevator pitch to casual small talk) will separate you from the indiscriminate sea of faceless names on a screen – and support your personal rapport and energy in your online communication.
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