Interview with Liam Simpson: Digital Marketing Intern
Hi Liam, what is your background and can you tell us how you came to work in Digital Marketing at Company Connecting?
I’m a 20-year-old student at RGU and I’ve lived in Aberdeenshire most of my life. I’ve finished the first three years of my Management course at uni, but until recently I’ve never really been able to work out what I actually want to do. I spent four years working part-time at a DIY store in Inverurie to get some money together and although I don’t want to go for a career in retail it was a really helpful and sometimes fun experience that gave me loads of confidence and self-awareness that I really needed.
In the last couple of years at Aberdeen Business School they’ve introduced a scheme for third years called Connect to Business, which sort of fuses the taught side of uni with practical, workplace experience. I’m well aware that I learn on the job much better than I do sitting in lectures at uni, so I thought that would be the ideal route for me to go down. I wanted to try marketing, so I ended up doing a 12-week digital marketing placement at Company Connecting at the start of 2017. It was a really good placement and I realised marketing and particularly digital marketing was something I genuinely enjoyed. At the end of the placement Janice asked me to stay on at CC as a digital marketing intern - which at least shows I wasn’t useless – and I’ve been working here full time for a few months now.
What kind of Digital Marketing role have you had at CC?
When I started I was mainly handling the company’s social media, primarily Twitter. I still take care of that but I’ve taken on lots more roles as well. I’ve written a lot of the articles we’ve published on our site, I design images for social media and blogs, and more recently I’ve been looking at the SEO of those article webpages to try and optimise it. I’ve also done a fair bit of work trying to secure content for various areas of the site which was new to me but it’s been really valuable.
Do you feel like you’ve benefited from being at Company Connecting? Are you enjoying your job?
It’s been great. I’ve had opportunities I never would have been given at any other job before graduating, so I’m really lucky. I’ve done publishing, sat in on meetings with marketing agencies and been exposed to a lot! I am fascinated by both classic marketing and digital marketing concepts and activities. Apart from all the skills and experience I’ve picked up, it’s also just been great to work with different kinds of people. I’ve never worked closely with someone more driven than Janice and it’s amazing to see how much time and passion she puts into making her company work. Working closely with Robin in the office has also been a lot of fun and his unique interests make for some really interesting work chat.
Your background is totally non-IT, so how have you found it working in the IT / tech industry without any prior experience of it?
Half the time at the beginning I had no idea what on earth anyone was talking about – I’ve never worked in tech before and everyone here is extremely knowledgeable. The good thing is nobody expected me to know anything, and I’ve had the opportunity to just throw myself into learning everything as I go. As it’s turned out, I think working in an industry I’m unfamiliar with has helped me understand how I work. I tend to just come up with loads of ideas and think about whether they make sense later, which I’ve realised when being confronted with technical IT reasons why some ideas can’t be put into practice. To work in the technical side of IT / tech you definitely have to be a very analytical person.
You’re about to go into your fourth and final year at university: has your experience at Company Connecting given you any thoughts about what you’ll do for your thesis, and then after you graduate?
In the first semester of my 3rd Year, I did a recruitment job at an Aberdeen charity called Absafe, which was good in a lot of ways but the experience made me realise I needed to try other kinds of work than the HR side I’d been looking at. I’ve definitely benefited from giving marketing a try and that’s the area I want to go into in the future. I’ve enjoyed having the chance to design and write creatively in the job and I’ve realised I’m especially keen on the creative side of marketing.
For my thesis, I think the digital marketing experience I’ve picked up at CC is something I’d like to use. There’s lots of options I could choose if I went down that road and I think it would be quite a fun thing to look into how companies of all sizes can make the best use of social media to get results.
So, you’re about to take a little break from work before you go back to uni: what’s your plans?
I’m going to make the most of my last summer before I graduate by travelling around Europe for a few weeks with a friend. We’re going to go to some really cool places all over Europe, so it should be great. I’m especially looking forward to doing the Krka National Park in Croatia, which looks incredible. Once I get back I’ll be going back to uni to get started with fourth year, and the plan is that I’ll stay on at Company Connecting for a day or so a week as well. Should be a good year!
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First published on Company Connecting August 2017