Welcome to part three of our How We Got Our Jobs series. This time, the PPC team talk about their career paths in marketing – and the stops they made along the way.
Dave, Head of Paid Media
“Around about Year 10 I knew I wanted to be in advertising or marketing, at whatever level. In fact, I think most people who want to go into marketing want to be a creative, because they want to be that person that directs an amazing advert, or designs billboards. They think that’s all there is to it; that’s certainly how naive I was, anyway. But then, when I was in Year 10, I’m pretty sure Google wasn’t even a thing yet, so going into a digital marketing career was quite the turnaround.
“I did Business Studies, which had a marketing module, Psychology, and IT. It was really all about the Business Studies, but Psychology definitely helped with sales and marketing. The two are quite linked. IT didn’t work out. I had to drop it, because everybody failed – they taught us the wrong stuff. I was left with just two A Levels.
“Thankfully, I went off to university after that. I went to Canterbury Christ Church University for my undergrad, where I did Business Studies and Marketing and got a 2:1, which I was very happy with.
“I needed that 2:1 to get into Leeds University to do a Masters. At that time it was a real low point in terms of employment for young people coming out of university, so I wanted to stay in education. And also, because of what happened in the A Levels, I felt like I needed to prove something to myself and build up my CV. They [Leeds] were one of the only universities that were really high up in terms of business schools, so I never thought I’d actually get in, but they accepted me after I got my 2:1. I did an MA in Advertising.
“It was such a huge step up. I went to Leeds for a year and I probably didn’t leave my room more than a handful of times to actually enjoy a night out or something like that, because it was full-on. It was tough, but it was really good – and I got the MA.
“Part of the Masters degree involved a dissertation, with four months of working for Sega, the video games publisher, down in London. It was me and two other guys, and we did a joint dissertation based on the video game Football Manager. We got in touch with Sega, who took us on as research consultants to help us with expenses and finance our research for them.
“It turned into my first job. I was travelling to London, to their offices, meeting up with everyone there. It was a really good experience, really good fun, and at the end of it we wrote 60,000 words. Last time I checked, Sega still use it [the research] today.
“Towards the end of my time in Leeds, I was very fortunate to see an update from a friend who shared that an agency in Essex were looking for an entry level digital marketing assistant to join the company. I went down for interviews a couple of times and had to do a presentation, then got offered the job.
“I stayed there for about a year, then moved on to another agency in London, learning more and more about search. It was obvious that my path was more towards the computer-based side of things – the digital world, rather than traditional brochures or other offline stuff. Slowly but surely, digital marketing became my specialty.
“I moved to Mindshare, a big agency. It was a huge culture shock, but I enjoyed it once I settled in and got to work with clients like Nestlé. I spotted that Mindshare’s sister company, Mediacom, were looking for someone to head up the Coca-Cola account, and because I’d worked on Pepsi Max, I called up the guy who was recruiting, the Head of Biddable. We got on really well, went through my experience briefly and, to my surprise. he offered me the job on the call, and so I joined them.
“I was there for four years. A lot happened during that time, some sad, some very happy with my first daughter being born. I didn’t like the fact that with the commute I was having to come back home and she’d already be in bed. I thought, enough’s enough with London. I wanted somewhere local, and it just so happened that I was contacted by a recruiter about a job in Kent, where I’d moved to.
“I came into Reddico, where I presented my plans and how I see PPC to the directors. I was in – and haven’t looked back since.”
Katie, PPC Account Manager
“When I was younger, I would often change my mind about what I wanted to do. I would sit in my nan’s kitchen and we would list all the jobs I could do: teacher, legal secretary, dancer, art therapist. Surprisingly, PPC Account Manager never popped up on the list… My A Levels were Art, Media, Psychology, and I did an AS in Maths. My parents said to me, just do what you want to do, so I went with what I enjoyed.
“I went to the University of Reading and studied a four-year course in Art and Psychology. I originally wanted to be an illustrator. However, I would have had to do a foundation course to specialise in illustration, and this was the last year before the fees went up. The foundation course at Reading was included, so I thought that would be best. And it turned out that when I did go, I was better suited in other mediums. Psychology also gave me an extra level on top of Art. Art can be seen as quite limiting with what you can do when you graduate, so in hindsight that was probably the best decision.
“I was forever being told, ‘It’s so competitive’, ‘Why aren’t you studying a real subject?’, ‘Your career prospects will be restricted.’ But when you study a creative subject, I think it enables you to be able to do more. My advice would be to study what you enjoy.
“When I was at uni I didn’t do any work experience, because I still didn’t know what I wanted to do – I just did basic jobs to earn money. But after graduating, I was predominantly looking for marketing and advertising jobs, because it was the closest thing relating to an art and psychology degree. To become a female artist is tremendously difficult [traditionally, women’s artwork is exhibited less than men’s artwork] and I would have had to do further study to become a psychologist. By this point, I just wanted to get out into the working world and earn some money.
“My first job in marketing was at a small agency in Tunbridge Wells. I was there for nearly three years. They offered me a job despite me not having any previous marketing experience; I was lucky. I had a website where I showed my art and things like that, so whilst the content wasn’t relevant, it showed that I was creative and knew something about marketing a website. It was really great there and they gave me the freedom to learn all aspects of marketing.
“After dipping my toes into SEO, PPC, email and social media marketing for nearly three years, I wanted to specialise in PPC, and that’s when I applied for the role at Reddico.
“I was nervous about specialising. Would I be limiting myself? But I really liked PPC and preferred to focus on that. I was looking for PPC jobs and Reddico came up. I thought it was a really great opportunity – and I was right.”
Megan-Rae Grove, PPC Account Manager
“I always loved history, so that was always going to be the main focus at school, and I did English and Politics. At A Level I did History, English, Politics and Economics, and then I did my degree in history. Never focused on maths, which is ironic because I now do budget management and stats.
“I went to university and I loved it. It was probably one of my favourite times, and not just because of socialising – I really liked the academic side of it. Doing a Masters and a PhD is something I’ve always planned to go back for, at some point. It was the making of me as a person, when I went to university – a baptism by fire.
“I did a few internships and placements while I was at university. I did some mentoring, I worked at a school, I mentored GCSE students for what they were going to do at A Level or college, and how to get their grades. It was kids who were struggling, not because they weren’t good, but because they just weren’t enjoying it, or things like that. I also taught foreign language students how to read.
“I did a job and work experience in the university, encouraging students to come and study, and then my actual work placement was in my first-year and second-year summers, where I was a volunteer curator at the Royal Engineers Museum in Bromley. Being a curator made me realise that I didn’t want to be one. As much as I thoroughly enjoyed doing the job, it’s very badly paid (not that that’s everything, but it’s very badly funded).
“Then I did a placement where it was finding policing students placements abroad. That’s quite difficult, because other police forces use weapons and we don’t, and they’re eighteen, nineteen, so there was a lot of back and forth with American policing academies and things like that.
“I think all the placements opened up other options and possibilities. I think it’s hard to always work that out at university – you finish and it’s like, What do I do now?
“When I was about fourteen, fifteen, I got a job working at a wedding venue. I worked there till I was 21, so I came back on by summers and Christmases and everything. It was really good fun. Everyone was young and it was just hilarious. Working at a wedding venue, obviously it’s the happiest day of people’s lives, but it’s family who’ve not seen each other in ten years, it’s all of the drama – it’s like a sitcom. And there were so many of us, there was the drama of that, but that was amazing. And that really taught me about showing up, because when it was someone’s wedding, it was ingrained into us that what’s happened in your day doesn’t really matter, because you’re about to walk into someone’s day of their life. There’s only a few times that you remember for the rest of your life. It was a lot of pressure, but actually a lot of fun.
“I’ve spilt drinks down people, champagne down myself… if glasses get too hot in a dishwasher and they’re touched too many times then they burst, so if you use them and use them over again, the glass thins and becomes very reactive. I was holding a tray of glasses to be cleaned and it went down this woman. Luckily someone had seen that I hadn’t just thrown champagne at her.
“I went straight to an agency after leaving university. I was a content writer, and then someone else was doing the PPC and they needed help, so I offered to learn it. I hadn’t been there long and they were actually local to here as well. That’s how I got into PPC, and then from there I worked in London for four years. I was working at an entertainment agency, so they specialised in the West End, museums and galleries, things like that. It was great fun, but I started to look for something more local. Reddico kind of came out of nowhere – it was a really good opportunity. I liked doing my job, but I wanted to do it closer to home.”
Look out for part four, featuring our development team, next month.