It’s been a long time coming but I’m glad to relaunch our career series! For our first interview this year, I dusted off my digital phone book and contacted Lisa Riemers at Invotra. I once worked with Lisa on FirstGroup’s corporate communications team. Lisa is an advocate for all things digital. She inspired me to build on my skills and enrol on the MSc Digital Marketing.
Could you tell us what you studied at uni?
I’m a bit of a generalist. I’ve always been creative. But I also like science, technology and the analytical side of things. I did an Art Foundation then ended up doing a BA in Combined Studies of Primary Education (Design and Technology).
What was your first full-time job?
The first job I got when I left uni was a training job. A company was looking for a Field Based Trainer to install ePos till software and teach bar and restaurant staff how to use it.
So, how did you get into digital marketing from a training role in the hospitality industry?
As a Field Based Trainer, my patch was the whole of the UK and I just found the travelling was too much. I quite liked marketing, so I went to a specialist recruitment agency to find an entry-level job. With little relevant experience and no marketing degree, I took on a temp admin support role for a sub-prime mortgage lender. I started off just doing some of their admin and ended up working closely with the sales and marketing team. I left the company as a Marketing Development Executive. My next career step enabled me to prepare the Chartered Institute of Marketing diploma, while working for a security company’s external communications team. I realised that I often have a bias for digital while I was there and specialised in online.
What is your current role and what do you enjoy the most about it?
My current role is Head of Marketing at a software company called Invotra, where we provide enterprise intranet software. It sounds like a cliché, but no two days are the same. One of the best things about this job is the variety. Also, working for a smaller company offers plenty of opportunities to get involved in a wide range of cross-team projects.
Have you always worked in-house?
Yes, but I’d always been client-side before working at Invotra, where for the first time I’m on the vendor side. I’m now trying to market to people that I used to work with – our software is used by internal communications practitioners. So my experience on the other side is something I’ve been able to bring to my current role.
What role does digital marketing have in your job?
I see digital marketing as a key part of the marketing mix. It shouldn’t be treated as a completely separate entity. There are many channels to send your message across the marketing mix and digital channels reinforce offline activities such as PR, events and analyst relations. Google AdWords may be entirely digital, but it’s part of the marketing mix. For example, physical events are quite important for Invotra to attend and to host. Before events, we email people to get them to come along and do online promotion. At the event, we tweet and share content on social media. After the event, we thank people online and connect with them on LinkedIn. It’s important to ensure digital marketing is not siloed.
Could you tell us what a typical day at work looks like for you?
It varies depending on what’s happening that week. I usually start off by checking up on social media, looking at my emails and checking progress on our Google AdWords performance.
I recently went to the launch of a new report, Tech Nation 2017, which talks about the state of tech in the UK and was welcomed by Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. We’re in the tech sector and work with key government departments like the Home Office and Department for Work and Pensions. This event was a great opportunity to find out the latest news and meet people we may work with in the future.
I might also write or edit content for our blog, work on any upcoming events and talk to suppliers to produce marketing collateral, like videos and merchandise. Recently, I welcomed a Digital Marketing Apprentice to the team too. I might also get involved in company-wide meetings. For example, customer service is really important to us. We regularly get together to review how our service is going and take customer feedback on board.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of embarking on a career in digital marketing?
The advice I’d give anyone, regardless of their industry, is to be curious, ask questions and be helpful. Those qualities will stand you in good stead. It’s particularly important online where you’re trying to build a sense of community. Don’t underestimate the power of relationships and networking. I met the Invotra team at a networking event for people interested in internal communications and employee engagement while I was working as an Intranet Manager. Also, start to develop your own voice and be aware of your presence online. And the number one piece of advice that I’m still learning to follow is to prioritise your workload. This will help you make the most of your time.
Are there any particular resources or tools you’d recommend?
Whenever I start a new job, I sign up to all the newsletters of the industry publications in that company’s sector to find out what’s going on in the market. Harvard Business Review is a brilliant publication. You can generally get a lot of it online. They do a Management Tip of the Day providing something to think about every morning in your inbox. Econsultancy is good for general marketing. Social Media Examiner is a great tool for getting more out of social media. I’m increasingly finding LinkedIn’s news feed and Facebook groups quite useful. Twitter is my favourite; I use it for everything. I tweet at events, follow journalists and publications that I’m interested in from a tech point of view. Twitter can be useful for learning about who’s in your market, and keeping track of what others in your industry are doing!
Thank you Lisa for giving us some insights into your career and sharing valuable tips of your trade. You can keep up with Lisa on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’re interested in learning more about digital marketing jobs don’t forget to keep checking back for our next career interview post.