How to build a successful Digital Marketing Career.

If you haven’t met me in real life or heard me chat on Instagram stories, that title probably needs an explainer or at least a hint at the tone; aim for tongue-in-cheek when you read it to yourself or at the very least with a smiley face at the end of it because honestly, do any of us ever real feel completely successful in our careers? 

Meet your Industry Expert.

At the start of the year I was asked if I wanted to do a Guest Speaker lecture to the 4th year Digital Marketing Students at RGU and this blog title was what I used for the presentation I gave to the group in February. They are in their final semester before graduation (the first graduates of BA (Hons) Digital Marketing in Scotland which is pretty cool) and their lecturer was setting up a series of guest speaker slots for them to hear from industry experts on the world of work, what it’s like to be a digital marketer and stories from client-facing projects and campaigns. 

What a 20+ years marketing career looks like.

I had a told one of my client’s that I was chatting to the students and how nervous I was and she sent me a lovely voice note bigging me up with nice words around the fact that she thinks I am brilliant and how lucky people are to hear me talk on the subject, cheerleader-chat aside she also said “just think about the one thing you want them to know or do once they leave the room”.

The “just one thing” part was enough to calm me and I had a think (and another coffee) about what that could look like … the piece around my 20+ year career in the Marketing Industry was easy enough, the Suz-CV is on LinkedIn and I have various versions I have used for proposals in the past – think in-house marketer, agency-side, freelance, stay-at-home-mother making blog sites and Twitter accounts to build communities around playdates and very varied industry-sectors around the UK.

One of the key takeaways from me for the students then was around building your career piece-by-piece and getting comfortable with offshoots, u-turns and a change of direction. The common thread for me and my career is my chosen industry, marketing, and where I land to play in that space is what varies. 

If I can tell you one thing, it is this.

P.S it was never going to be “just one thing” was it?! 

Career-building aside, I was keen for the students to explore the pieces of marketing that are a little harder to teach from a textbook. I knew they would be smart and have strong foundations and theoretical knowledge behind them, but what of the pieces around time management, communication, creativity, self-awareness, empathy as a marketer and getting comfortable with change?

So these are the things I came up with on my “just one thing” list and that I shared with the students and wanted to share with you too:

  • Get comfortable with time – lack of time, too much time and deadlines. Know when to push against that deadline and when to stay up all night to deliver to it. Know that time spent looking out the window is vital to creativity and the “doing the work” piece. And factor in time to make that happen.
  • Sometimes you are the mentor and sometimes you need a mentor. Both are vital parts of your career.
  • Trust your gut. And learn what “that” feeling is. Intuition can sometimes disguise itself as fear, uncertainty or anger. Leaning in to your values will help with this skill.
  • Get to know yourself as it will help you become a better marketer. Figure out when you do your best work, what you need to fuel creativity and action. What are your triggers for good, bad or indifferent pieces of work.
  • Practise the art of figuring out what is the difference between a bad day, a bad project, a bad client, a bad boss or just a part of the plan that needs to change.
  • Get comfortable with change when it comes to your work (see above piece on “get to know yourself“) – marketing and business can be fast-paced and ever changing.
  • Know the difference between a trend or trending.
  • Collaboration over competition every time.
  • Know when to jump, when to rollover and when to hold the door open for someone else.
  • Know when to listen and when to talk. And be comfortable with the silence in between.
  • There is more than one way to be right.

I have no doubt some (or all) of these can be used in other industries too, but for me these are some of the key elements that make a great marketer and help build a brilliantly successful digital marketing career. 

P.P.S shoutout to the 4th year BA (Hons) Digital Marketing students graduating soon, congrats on being the first of your kind in Scotland and wishing you a long, varied and mega exciting career in marketing. And apologies I couldn’t share more stories with you … you’ll soon see that #forthecontent behind-the-scenes stuff means you make a blood-pact to never talk it again … smiley face 😉

Leave a comment

Come and join my Instagram family