I career changed into digital marketing: 8 months in, this is what I know

So when I began this job with Marketing Jumpstart I wrote about how wildly out of my depth I was. I’d come into a new industry, I only understood one in every 3rd term said to me, and it took me twice as long as everyone else to do even the most basic tasks. As someone who likes to be good at their job, that one was confronting. 

I did what comes naturally to me and learned my way through it. I asked my colleagues, I did a lot of googling, I watched videos, got frustrated, went back to the beginning and started over. And over. And over. And at the end of eight months, I’ve gathered a huge amount of knowledge, a few skills, and a teaspoon of insight. 

And I still have no idea what I’m doing. 

It’s a particular kind of no idea though. The kind of lost I am now is different to the kind of lost I was in my first days at Marketing Jumpstart. It’s the kind of lost I hope to be a year in, two years in, and ten years into this job. Let me explain. 

Digital marketing isn’t an A to B journey. It’s not a highway, it’s a forest, a gleaning process. You head in a direction that makes sense, until you find a fallen tree, or an angry animal, then you stop, take stock, and move in a new direction. You might think the way you’re going is simple, you’ve done it dozens of times before, but then something will come up – maybe the needs of the particular client don’t match what the system will allow you to do, maybe software patches arrive that fix a problem but wreck everything else, maybe a social platform policy changes leaving all your carefully constructed ads blowing in the wind – and you have to find your way back to where you need to be. 

This is where experience comes in.

When I first started, I blundered through the (metaphorical, digital) brambles getting myself tangled and moving nowhere fast. I tried making myself rigid patterns to move through the tasks, and you can probably imagine how that went. But as I got better at the job, it got easier to move through my day and appear at the other end of the woods in some kind of shape. I learned how to test, vet, and calibrate ad campaigns, how to build websites that meet the niche needs of specific client groups, how to find tools to automate processes for an industry I didn’t know existed until that week. I also learned that if I went in with a preconception about what it was going to look like, I was in trouble.

No two clients’ needs are the same, no two builds, two audiences, or two services are enough alike to be able to approach them like I know best. To properly serve each one, you need to stop, listen, assess, and decide on a path, no matter how many times you’ve passed that way before. 

There are a few overarching lessons I’ve learned that I’ll share in another post, but the biggest thing I’ve taken away from 8 months in this space, is that lost isn’t just ok, it’s useful, and sometimes necessary, to finding solutions that will properly fit the needs of clients operating in a complex world. A year from now, or ten, I hope still to have no idea what I’m doing as I solve more complex problems and let a combination of experience and learning lead the way. 

Watch this space for more blinding insights of brilliance from me as I work out what the hell I’m doing. Or cat memes. Whichever comes first. To talk marketing get in touch with the Marketing Jumpstart team. 

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About Kira Carlin
Kira is a cat lady, former journo, knitter of jumpers. She handles digital business, product photography and media within the team. She holds the title for most cups of coffee drunk in a day.