Tell us a bit about yourself – Who are you and what is your background?
Hi my name is Ashleigh Wells, a digital marketing graduate from the South Island in Wanaka, New Zealand.
I came home to start my own business. One of my goals was to find something that allowed me to live a flexible lifestyle.
What drew you into Digital Marketing?
I saw so much potential in a friend’s business but felt it was being held back by not having a good marketing strategy. I could see exactly where all the gaps were, but I lacked the practical skills to help her improve. That’s when I decided to look into studying digital marketing.
“Seeing a business with SO much potential and not being able to help is what really drove my decision to upskill. Once I opened myself up to the idea of digital marketing, I noticed so many other small businesses in need, too.”
Were there any road blocks you had to overcome before jumping into study?
I had always wanted to study something along the lines of psychology or neuroscience. But that would have involved having to give up my horses, which wasn’t an option. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a position where I could easily relocate to a physical campus either. Furthermore, I knew a generic university degree wouldn’t quite give me the skillset I needed to make a serious impact. So, finding something online to study became my preference. Especially with residing in a more isolated town like Wanaka.
Then I came across NZIE on Google one day. At the time I didn’t realise it was an online remote campus but inquired anyway. When Phil, the recruitment advisor, contacted me and said I didn’t have to come to Auckland to attend classes I was instantly hooked.
“The fact that it was NZQA accredited, added weight behind the entire Digital Marketing Diploma and really solidified my decision. You can’t look past an NZQA qualification.”
What goals did you have coming into the Digital Marketing course?
My goal was to build up my confidence in digital marketing so I could run my own business. I wanted the practical skills in all aspects of digital to be able to offer all those services to businesses in need.
“Qualifications are changing, and students need real-world assessments that align with industry. NZIEs assessments helped me gain industry-relevant experience which gave me confidence in applying the practical skills taught in our digital classrooms.”
Can you achieve those goals now that you’ve completed your study?
Yes, I now have the luxury to choose whatever I want to pursue. The cool thing is the tutors are all industry experts that have industry connections. If you do well during your time with NZIE, you gain the endorsement of NZIE’s industry professionals who can vouch for you when you go out into the workforce. Both the tutors and client success team are also excellent for connecting you up with their industry partners, agencies, contacts, referring jobs to you and even clients.
You’re not just another student coming through, I had no expectations when finishing up but really felt that since completing the course that I still have ALL that support from NZIE. Especially Jana from the Client Success Team who is extremely attentive and dedicated to helping me transition into the industry. As well as Jen, the Social Media/Email Marketing tutor, who has been a great mentor.
All along, as a student, we’ve always been told that support is available and that the NZIE family are always there for us. It’s the cherry on top of everything else gained from studying with them.
How did you find the 100% online learning format?
I found it suited me , because I like working autonomously and independently. I like being left to my own devices and to just get on with it at my own pace and in my own space. Whether that be from my lounge or outdoors on the farm.
At the start when I was finding my groove, I struggled with being confident in my work until term 3 after growing my skills, knowledge and understanding. It takes a lot of self-responsibility and self-discipline to manage studying outside of a physical classroom. In addition to juggling other day-to-day activities and life admin.
What was your favourite part of your NZIE experience?
Favourite part? There were lots!
Becoming well-versed in Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects etc) was a highlight. Our tutor really pushed us to explore this fully and properly, under his guidance and with his tutorials, which was very beneficial.
The web design & social media courses were of mine because they’re the direction I’m planning to specialise in. Also enjoyed SEO and Data even though they were really challenging. Overall, I liked understanding all the different aspects of Digital Marketing. I now know what’s involved and how to understand it from an operational point of view. Which will be good for when I work within a team of experts.
Show us your favourite portfolio pieces you developed during the programme:
Social Media Ad 1 (WIN – Giveaway):
The imagery chosen for these ads was deliberate for a brand awareness campaign. The imagery needed to effectively convey the brand look and feel to draw the in the appropriate target audience. As well as invoke an emotional association between the product and how it makes the audience feel. The image is designed to illustrate a sense of luxury, serenity and the product’s connection to nature. The image has been used for non-giveaway posts and it is one of the highest performing pieces for reach, impressions, comments and shares.
Social Media Ad 2 (Dust Mites):
This post was designed to be educational as well as drive engagement by making it interactive. We also wanted to come from the stance of this information piece being a bit of a confronting truth!
A brand goal of the company is to do a big push toward educating their audience about the health benefits of wool to showcase the unique selling point and value. This was one of the static posts I created for that.
What advice would you give others who are about to study the Digital Marketing Diploma?
Firstly, work to impress your tutors as they are like a gateway to opportunities within the industry and can provide you with a reference for your CV (if you stay on their good side).
Secondly, harness self-responsibility, self-discipline and accountability to make remote studying work for you. Some people thrive under pressure, others crack so make sure to put in the work, if you want to reap the rewards. Drop the ego and don’t assume it’s easy and that you can just scrape through – you truly do get out what you put in.
Mainly, take time to prioritise self-discipline for remote learning, especially if you haven’t done it before. It is a great experience for remote working and a good industry skill to have.
Would you recommend NZIE?
Yes, I would recommend NZIE because like I say it’s real-world practical experience and if you haven’t had the experience or exposure to the entirety of digital marketing it’s a great place to upskill. Also, for people who are in rural areas (like ) where there isn’t a lot of access to these types of opportunities.