Things I wish I’d been told before I went into marketing.

An insider’s view.

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Fuel Integrated asked Andrew Dipper, Head of Content & Search Marketing at Frank Recruitment Group, to share with us things he wished he’d been told before he started working in the marketing industry.

While I wouldn’t change a thing about the way I got into marketing, there are a few things I wish I’d known earlier on in my career that would have made life a little easier.

My way into the world of marketing has been far from traditional—but then I do wonder how many people get into this multi-faceted, creative industry in a ‘traditional’ way these days.

I’m 28, and I head up the content and SEO teams at Frank Recruitment Group. Since February 2017, I’ve directly managed a team of three and the eight people who work for them in turn.

I don’t have a marketing degree; my undergraduate degree is in English Literature and I did my master’s in Multimedia Journalism.

While I was studying, I started a little side project—a comedy website—and marketed it to potential customers including stand-up comedians, comedy promoters, venues and agents.

I used to watch a lot of stand-up comedy and quickly realised that all the media outlets were based in London; the only time reviewers seemed to venture past Manchester was solely for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. That led me to set up a comedy website exclusively for the North East, North West and Yorkshire. I soon learnt that because our comics got relatively little coverage elsewhere, they were twice as likely to share our stories about them.

From there, I started thinking about ways to generate traffic; I optimised landing pages and news stories, I submitted the site to news aggregators and set up events and monthly gigs that would capture people offline. It was hard work, but it was very satisfying and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that personal project gave me invaluable hands-on experience and served as a great case study when I was looking to land my first real marketing role.

While I wouldn’t change a thing about the way I got into marketing, there are a few things I wish I’d known earlier on in my career that would have made life a little easier.

Most business owners don’t know what you do—and that’s okay.

Some might even think their organisation doesn’t need to do what you do. What they do understand is how you’ll impact the bottom line of the business, so it’s really important to measure what you’re doing and translate all the metrics you collect into clear, easy-to-understand facts and figures that you can demonstrate value with. It’s the universal language of delivering results; show them where they’re at and where they could be with your help.

The ‘traditional marketing versus digital marketing’ debate is dead.

If you’re not integrating digital with print you probably won’t have a business in five years. Relying solely on one or the other is business suicide, and when you’re using both digital and traditional methods, it’s absolutely essential to look at them as parts of a whole rather than two distinct areas. There needs to be cohesion and a unified look and voice, otherwise things will look sloppy and disjointed.

When hiring, value experience over a degree every single time.

I’ve never hired someone based on their university education—if they don’t have relevant experience they don’t make it on to the shortlist. Sorry, marketing graduates! From a job seeker’s perspective, I’d say the key to landing that marketing role you’ve had your eye on for a while lies in the phrase ‘show, don’t tell’.

Building a strong portfolio, be it through volunteering, internships, or taking on your own projects, is crucial. Demonstrable, relevant experience outranks a piece of paper with your name on it. Networking is a key part of the process too—you’ve created an amazing portfolio, so make sure you’re meeting and talking to the people who need to see it.

Your SEO team can add value across your business—not just within marketing.

SEO touches on all aspects of marketing and can help inform every part of your business. We work with our sales team to optimise job adverts, our outreach team help to drive coverage for our new offices and online competitor analysis can help uncover emerging markets.

Get your SEOs involved in the big conversations and they’ll be able to add value company-wide. An investment in your SEO and content team is an investment for the whole business.

About the author.

Andrew Dipper is the Head of Content & Search Marketing at Frank Recruitment Group and a Contributor to Fuel Integrated’s community.

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