Category Archives: Marketing Strategies

Digital vs. Traditional, the trends of the times, how to keep up-to-date and make sure consistent, sustainable results are delivered and attainable targets set.

Turn Back Time

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I start this post, well over due, with yet another cheesy pop song spoof. However, its appropriateness is unquestionable. I have spent considerable time during the first part of the Summer holidays reflecting on what I would do if I could turn back time. Asking myself, why is my first completed novel still sat on my laptop unfinished? Why have I not done . . . Why didn’t I do . . . What if I had  . . . and then it dawns on me. It’s not turning back the time that is the issue, life is never as simple as that. When I really think about the reasons why I haven’t yet done X, Y & Z yet . . . the answer is simple, because I haven’t made it a must-do priority. There are so many things on my list of to-dos that are NOT must do’s and I have Michael Heppell to thank for this realisation.

I have now read ‘Flip It’ and am making my way through ‘How To Be Brilliant’ and feeling like there is something, several things, that are still missing from this ‘magic formula’ of brilliance through ‘Flip-It’ thinking. For me it is the need for more time. I know there is a book, which I am getting to and will save for another post . . . but right now I understand that my distinct ‘lack of time’ is a combination of needing to plan and take appropriate action now!

The time I’ve spent reflecting on what I ‘could, should, would’ have done previously had I had it IS the time to spend, ‘am doing it now’. It is so easy to forget all the time and energy that is spent thinking about not having enough of it and working out how to prioritise and organise so that you can get it. If you just do it, how much extra time would you have?

It is also important to bear in mind that life just throws those little unexpected things at you that have to jump the queue to the top of your must-do list, perhaps displacing other previous ‘must-dos’ in to the ‘to-dos’ and that life doesn’t always go to plan. I believe that a little self-forgiveness and faith that it will all work out in the end is needed to get through these times. So when I reflect on why, five years after starting, I still haven’t published a world best-seller, I must stop the over analysing and start the editing!

Bit of a Break

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Wow, it has been a while since I have posted on here, how time just flies! I have just had my 28th Birthday which has made me realise that another year has nearly passed and I have been reflecting. How my life has changed and move forward once again in such a relatively short space of time. My time of employment in the world of marketing drew to a close at the end of March this year. I am still available for freelance assignments but I have decided to focus in a new direction – teaching.

Yes, a completely different direction yet again! I hear you exclaim, what brought me to make such a drastic decision. Well, contrary to popular belief teaching is not the ‘easy’ option of avoiding the 9am-5pm role in an office. The long holidays are appealing but I am learning fast that they are not always there to be enjoyed for leisure! Teacher’s are expected to commit a lot of extra time to training and self-improvement. As it stands, I have just completed Level 1 which included a 5 week placement in which I have planned, taught and, on occasions, despaired! However, the rewards are immense. There’s nothing quite like watching the little light bulb flick on behind young, curious eyes as all the cogs tick and suddenly, everything falls in to place. Having experienced all manner of 9-5 roles I feel confident that teaching is the right choice for me.

Teaching offers a dynamic, creative, problem-solving, interactive and challenging role! You never sit still, get a moments peace or are left struggling to find things to do or say. As someone who bores easily, hates sitting still for too long and likes variety and flexibility it ticks all the boxes. Not only that, but teaching secondary science allows me to apply all the skills I have gained over the years in to one role. It combines my creative, logical and scientific abilities and I can’t wait to get started!

While I enjoyed marketing, I realised about 3 months in to my 6 month internship that it just wasn’t meeting all my expectations. I soon became bored with the mundaneness of the 9am-5pm environment, despite working with some fantastic and interesting people. I became restless having to stare at the same screen day in, day out. It became obvious that this field was not as lucrative and as dynamic as I had hoped and the enthusiasm I had started with soon wore off. There are aspects that I really enjoyed – I loved being responsible for the companies social media and working on the competition and blog projects, liasising with freelance journalists and writers, writing copy for an entire brochure, showing off my proof reading skills and combining my problem solving skills with my creative ability. However, I often found the lack of logic and consistency frustrating and the ‘that’ll do’ quicksilver attitude frustrating. I’m very pedantic and like everything to be completed properly and precisely and there just wasn’t the time to get all narky about it.

I did learn a lot of useful skills during my internship other than marketing. My excel skills are now fully up-to-date and have come in very handy in my teacher training. My knowledge and understanding of how business and company strategies run across the board has exceeded my own expectations and I have an in-depth understanding of how to manage a business project from start to finish, far improved from what I started with. My attention to detail allowed me to pick up and apply processes from all different departments and I feel confident that this will really help me to succeed in all areas of my life. So overall, a very worthwhile learning experience.

Interview Expectations: Attitude and Enthusiasm

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I have now been employed as a marketing assistant for two whole weeks and I’d just like to share a bit about my journey getting there. The role is based at a large, UK wide company who have been established for over 20 years and run direct response marketing campaigns.

I’ve been searching for a permanent role  in marketing since the beginning of last year, after developing an interest during one of the modules I was studying as part of my Creative Writing degree. I’ve been invited to many interviews and even secured a role with a start-up digital agency for a couple of months at the end of March last year. I thoroughly enjoyed it my time there and hoped it would develop in to something more, but as with a lot of start-ups these days, the role didn’t last for very long due to funding issues.

This left me in a bit of a predicament as I’d just moved to Portsmouth and needed a job, any job, immediately to earn enough to pay the bills, so that’s what I did back in June 2011. It’s taken from then until now to secure my most current role.

I didn’t have any issues getting interviews, and the feedback back I got interview after interview was the same, “interviewed well, but not enough experience,” it became a broken record to my ears. OK, so I didn’t have traditional industry experience, but I had demonstrated a genuine interest and commitment to the field, surely? It’s not like I was going for megabucks, in fact, I felt I had rather modest expectations considering my qualifications. I mean, how am I supposed to get the experience if I’m not given the chance to prove myself in the first place?

Then I got it, my ‘big’ break! And in doing so I discovered the truth. My new manager is a very upfront and honest personality, no sugar coating and very frank about absolutely everything – just the way I like it. One of our first conversations was about why she had decided to give me this opportunity. It wasn’t because of my qualifications, knowledge,or experience; in fact, she admitted to me that all of the previous interviewees had more to offer on paper than me. The reason that she decided to give me the opportunity is because, having come from a paperless background, she started from the bottom and worked her way up and feels that attitude and commitment are more important than qualifications and experience. And she felt during my interview that I really wanted the role, showed the right amount of enthusiasm and would give 100%.

To be honest, this was a bit of a blow to me at first because I felt so transparent. She had sussed my situation almost immediately and had just admitted that on paper I was probably the weakest candidate if measured by qualifications and experience alone, a harsh reality to digest when you’ve got two very good degrees under your belt and spent a lot of your personal time attempting to build your knowledge base around a subject. But I accepted this reality and appreciated her honesty.

 

As such she has now taken it upon herself to train me as her intern and I can’t thank her enough for this opportunity. OK, so it’s not a permanent role, I’m getting minimum wage and have taken on a lot of the jobs nobody else wants to do (reports, photocopying, printing and the like) but it doesn’t matter. For the first time I am doing something because I WANT to do it, not because I NEED to (well there is that as well, unfortunately we can’t escape the fact that these days money does make the World go round just a tiny bit). I finally have a job that I want to become permanent and stay long-term, where the days fly by,  that motivates me to get out of bed in the morning and best of all, where I feel appreciated and rewarded. That’s something that qualifications and experience will never be able to buy.

‘Can-do’ Attitude

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It’s everywhere! This 5 letter phrase that is used in abundance by all sorts of employers when describing essential qualities and attributes in a potential candidate. So, what does it actually mean? According to the online dictionary this simply means being confident and resourceful in the face of challenges. Seems pretty obvious to me really, I mean, why would anyone want to employ someone who is timid and doesn’t have a clue? Anyway . . .

I thought I’d start by sharing something a bit personal about me that kind of relates to this . . . over 8 years ago I attempted and failed 5 driving tests, I also failed my theory test the 1st time! Yes, I know, she who can get 2 degrees blah blah, heard it all before, very funny. Well it was when the hazard perception element was 1st introduced and no one really knew what it was all about and I did it wrong! Nevermind, I passed with flying colours the 2nd time. Anyway, point is, I have always used the phrase “I can’t pass my test.” This, in itself, just sets me up with the right attitude for failure before I’ve even started! It is such a negative stance to take, implying that I am incapable, that it is an impossible feat I will never achieve, and I have now come to realise, 8 years later, this is simply not the case!

So, following 20 weeks of group therapy (I’ll write a post on that later – yes I am a rather complicated individual I know, even I can’t keep up!) and certain job interviews that I have been invited to, I have decided to give it another a go. However, this time I have decided to approach the matter of the test with a different stance, instead of using the phrase “I can’t pass my test,” I am now saying “I HAVEN’T passed my test,” just changing this one word changes this whole phrase from having a profoundly negative effect, to a positive one. Haven’t implies that I will, in the future, at some point, which is exactly what I intend to do.

So far I have had 2 driving lessons, and during my driving lesson today I had a bit of an experience . . . that is, I nearly drove in to a bush! It was an honest mistake, and rather hilarious. The last time I drove all those years ago it was in a car without power assisted steering . . . Today, I was creeping out of a car park on to a busy road at snails pace, turning left, so I was looking to make sure that nothing was speeding round the corner as I pulled out, and I forgot there was a low pavement and bush on the other side. As I pulled out I turned the wheel just a tad too much. The instructor just put the brakes on and grabbed the wheel exclaiming,

“Whoa, there’s a bush there . . . you’re doing the right thing by looking in that direction . . . but you just turned the wheel a tad too much and I don’t really want you driving my car in to a bush.”

“Ooops, sorry,” I replied, and we both burst out laughing. . . Oh dear! He continued to reassure me that I did the right thing by making sure that there was no oncoming traffic, and it was simply a matter of learning the feel of the car and polishing my skills again.

Now, before, all those years ago, I would have taken this to mean that I’m useless and shouldn’t be allowed to drive anyway, but this time, I just brushed it off and have been having quite a laugh about it with the instructor and my friends. Of course it was more important that I was making sure that there was no oncoming traffic, I did do the right thing! If I’d been on my own, OK, I’d ‘ve felt a bit silly and embarassed, perhaps scratched the car a bit . . . but nothing that would have been life threatening! Whereas if I’d been concentrating on the bush and not the traffic  . . . well. I’m astounded by my change in attitude over the years, a positive change I feel is for the better, and I will continue to see it that way.

So, in the context of the “can-do” attitude, I can pass exams, I can get an honours degree, I can get a masters degree, I can swim, I can dive off the 10M board, I can ride a horse, I can write a novel, I can jump a horse, I can remember my 12 X tables, I can make a cup of tea, I can get up in the morning, I can remember where I left my keys, I can cook dinner, I can reach the top shelf (OK, it may involve climbing but I can still do it unaided – there’s a can-do within a can-do -ha!) I can open jars, I can undo a tin of baked beans, I can tolerate my mother for more than 5 hours at a time (Love you really Mum), I can read, I can write, I can learn French and I can drive in to a bush . . . how’s that for a can-do attitude?