This guest post is from Georgia, one of our BSc Marketing students currently on placement at Marks & Spencer.
My name’s Georgia and I’m currently on a 12 month eCommerce placement scheme with Marks and Spencer. I’ve completed four rotations across a variety of digital departments; Digital Marketing, Multichannel Logistics, Business Development and I’m currently in International Online Sales, where I own the trade of Menswear and Lingerie across our Irish, French and European websites, mobile and tablet – so no pressure (!)
I appreciate that most readers will be most interested in my role in marketing, so I’ll throwback to the start of placement, when I was the Assistant Digital Marketing Manager for Home, Kids & Baby.
My two highlights of this rotation were:
- Being responsible for the entire digital marketing content for our babywear range that launched globally in over 50 countries
- Co-ordinating a digital marketing promotion that generated over £ X million revenue (I shan’t disclose corporate revenue, although this equates a lifetime’s worth of Sobar triples!)
In this role, my responsibilities included:
- Devising strategies to drive online traffic to the company website.
- Creating engaging and inspiring content and editorial features
- Briefing and analysing weekly emails
- Developing and managing digital marketing campaigns
- Utilising a range of techniques including paid search, SEO and PPC
- Monitoring social media presence for the Business Unit
- Tracking sales, conversion and bounce rates and improving the website and customer journey
- Executing online brand and product campaigns to raise brand awareness
- Evaluating customer research, market conditions and competitor data
There was no ‘typical day’; work is challenging, fast paced and varied, but here’s close enough…
6.45am – The dreaded alarm
Gone are the days where surfacing at 11am was deemed a lie in. I’m ready for 20 past 7 and I’m usually frantically running to the station for the 7:42.
The overground commute takes around 30 minutes. At the start of placement, I was living in Fulham, which is a lovely part of London, but one of the most expensive. I decided to be savvy and moved back to my family home in Hertfordshire; the commute is not too much further and I’ve saved so much money (hellooooooooo pretty new bag!). It’s probably for the best that I moved out of Fulham after frequently bumping into the Made in Chelsea cast and calling Francis Boulle ‘Hugo’.
8.30am – M&S HQ in Paddington
Work doesn’t officially start until 9am but I like to get into the office early; sometimes we’ll go for a team breakfast or I’ll spend half an hour online shopping evaluating competitor websites and researching key fashion trends and colour palettes which will influence which products I choose to feature in editorials.
9am – Morning reporting
Digital marketers are exposed to an abundance of measurable metrics and analytics and it’s vital to analyse these to make data driven decisions. Although daily reporting may not be my favourite aspect of digital marketing, the process is most valuable; ROI is central in marketing accountability and disproves the common fallacy that marketing is ‘fluffy’.
10am – Search Engine Optimization & Pay Per Click
Performing keyword research in coordination with business objectives to optimize the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results through algorithms. We have an in-house PPC and SEO team; therefore I have a top level knowledge about organic and paid search, which are complex and ever changing areas of digital marketing.
11.30 – Digital marketing meeting
Presenting cumulative data from the week before to the Head of Digital Marketing, Head of Brand and Senior Marketing Managers. Although pretty daunting *, this is great exposure to the Senior Management Team within the business.
(*It’s not all scary – we’re often the first to see the brand adverts. It’s a hard life viewing the David Gandy underwear ads on a screen the size of the cinema, but someone has to do it. If you don’t know who he is, Google him and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed)
1pm – Lunch (yay)
As expected, the canteen is absolutely dreamy and serves a variety of British and International dishes. Paddington Basin has lots of yummy restaurants (Lebanese, Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, Italian), bars and pubs on the canal that our office overlooks. The only downside is that we are constantly spoilt for choice.
One of the most common questions I get asked about work is if I get free Percy Pigs. Unfortunately not, but Percy does sometimes swing by the office on occasion if he fancies it.
2pm – Meeting with our media buying agency at Google HQ
Interacting with our media buying agency has supplied me with the knowledge to be able to negotiate price and placement to secure the best possible value of our digital advertising. Having worked with PR and advertising agencies, I fully understand how these functions are integrated and have experienced diverse and integrated roles within marketing which is vital. The only constant in digital marketing is the rate of change and the industry is renowned for being competitive; the future industry requires a workforce of adaptable, skilled experts.
3.30pm – Coffee with my mentor
My mentor and I meet weekly and she provides support, feedback and information about future career plans. At the start of placement, we outlined KPI’s by setting personal targets based on what I wanted to achieve within my year at M&S.
I’m lucky to work in a corporation that strongly encourages professional development courses and workshops. So far, I’ve participated in workshops such as ‘Google Analytics for Marketing’, ‘Commercial Acumen’ ‘Gold Standard Communication’ and ‘Buzzfeed: Digital Publishing Strategy’ which have allowed me to build on my technical skills and business competencies.
Fortunately, the company also encourage personal development; such as the Wine Fridays. Another floor favourite is boozy rounders where the entire .com team play games at Hyde Park in the sun. There are also performance based parties, fashion shows, ‘Away Days’, pub quizzes and food tasting launches.
4pm – Planning & executing category content
Creating relevant, engaging and inspiring marketing content using key collection pieces and forthcoming trends. Valuable content is used to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and therefore ultimately drives profitable customer action. It’s one of my favourite aspects of marketing as it’s a chance to be creative and create unforgettable, interesting material.
5.30 Networking Drinks
I agree with Ne-Yo’s stance on ‘work hard, play hard’ and I’m an avid believer of mixing business and pleasure. If you’re not able to relate to your colleagues as human beings and build positive relationships, your career will suffer. However, dignity should be maintained at all times and thou shalt always proceed with caution.