My first year as a marketing executive

By Aislin Ward
8th November 2022

Since November is National Career Development Month, we’re publishing a series of interviews with the members of our team who were fresh to the industry and agency world when starting with Wolfenden.

Last week, we covered the learnings and advice of Matthew Larkin, our SEO Executive, on his first year in SEO. This week, we’ve talked to our Marketing Executive, Aislin Ward, on how her first year in marketing has gone:

What 3 words would you use to describe your first year in digital marketing?

Exciting, (constantly) evolving and fascinating. That counts as three, right?

What has surprised you the most about working in this industry?

Quite how much each day can differ from the previous; everyone always says that no two days will be the same, but I don’t think I really realised how true that was until I’d been here a few weeks!

Things are constantly changing in this industry across all channels and seeing updates every day come through from the SEO team or a new Instagram update means you have to always be on the ball and ready to rethink strategies that you’d used before since circumstances have changed.

How did your preconception of what the role as Marketing Executive would be like compare to what it’s actually like?

I think when it comes to digital marketing, and especially if you work with social media in any capacity, we all have the slight preconception that work could be a bit like Emily in Paris – even though you know it’s silly.

Obviously, this isn’t the case – although now I love to watch the show and try and find as many things wrong with her working day as possible! Life in marketing may not be as glamorous as TV would have you believe, but it’s a lot more interesting instead.

What have you enjoyed most about being a Marketing Executive?

Honestly, I think the team. I love what I do but the people at Wolfenden and the culture that has been created here is completely unlike anything I’ve experienced before in previous roles. I’ve never felt so supported by my managers and being able to be a part of this culture and the growth of the agency has been amazing.

I also love that I work so closely with a lot of the other teams, and I have my fingers in a lot of pies when it comes to my education in the industry – I feel like there’s potential everywhere and I haven’t closed myself off to any opportunity within digital marketing as a whole.

What have you found the most challenging?

When I first started it was definitely waking up in the morning! I’d never had a 9-5 job before and I was more of a night-owl than a morning bird, but now I’m awake at 8am even on weekends.

But I think the thing I find most challenging now is prioritising my tasks. Sometimes I’ll have a really long to-do list, but that can be because I’m thinking up to a few months in advance, so it’s really important for me to make sure I’m prioritising my tasks correctly and remembering to look at the deadlines – whether those are external deadlines or personal ones I’ve assigned.

What would be your top tips for succeeding as a Marketing Executive – and in the agency world in general?

Time management. Absolutely the most important skill to master is time management and making sure you are making the most out of your day, but also not overextending yourself.

I’ve been trying to start time-blocking as a way of achieving this and although I’m not perfect at it yet, I do find my days are much more productive and I tend to be less tired at the end of the day when I’ve pre-scheduled out exactly what I’m doing and when.

Sometimes this also includes scheduling a 5-minute coffee break, or precisely when you’re going to take lunch.

Doing this can also really help me figure out which tasks to prioritise. Win-win!

What are the best things you’ve learnt whilst in the role?

My favourite thing I’ve learnt is that there isn’t always a ‘right’ way to do something and if you find a way that works for you then that’s great! I started editing short videos for our social media with PowerPoint, and that certainly isn’t the ‘correct’ way to do it, but with no experience in video editing, it does the job.

Being able to play around with tools and find out how you like to use them is a fantastic skill to have and it can even influence your general outlook on life – if something works for you then don’t stop just because it isn’t what someone else defines as the ‘right’ way to do it.

What have you learnt about yourself personally since being in the role?

That I can do anything I set my mind to.

When you’re in this sort of environment where you have a support network if something isn’t perfect the first time around you can always try again. This really means that I can do anything I set my mind to so long as I’m willing to learn from my mistakes and just keep on trying.

With this realisation there comes a different kind of confidence where it’s not a belief that you’re perfect at everything, but more that you’re not nervous to try new things or make mistakes anymore.

What advice would you give to someone preparing to enter the digital marketing world?

Imposter syndrome is a real thing that I’d bet everyone feels sometimes – even that person who seems like they have the answers to every question and immediately knows what to do. So, when you feel like you’re in over your head or you’re not good enough remember that it’s just the imposter syndrome talking and if you didn’t deserve to be here then you wouldn’t be.

You might even notice that it’s times like these when you learn the most and come out the other side even more experienced.

What’s one of your goals for the year ahead?

In 2023 I’d really love to learn more about some of the specific processes in our other channels, like PPC and SEO so I have a more all-encompassing knowledge and skillset and at least a basic understanding of everything.

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