Meet Bronwyn Burrows, a mum and business owner who is studying NZIE’s Diploma in Digital Marketing part time. Bronwyn was accepted into the Diploma course through her work experience as a business owner in the adventure tourism industry. She is a passionate and talented digital marketer who is seeing real-time results of the Diploma make a positive impact on her business.
Living in Idyllic Franz Josef Glacier
Originally from Canada, Bronwyn now lives in the idyllic town of Franz Josef Glacier – a small town of about 350 locals. Although small, it’s a tourist hotspot.
“In the summer season, pre COVID, we could see about six out 6000 people come through every day, and about 3000 Staying every night.”
Bronwyn and her husband Dale run Franz Josef wilderness Tours (check out their Instagram), which they purchased in 2013. Digital Strategy was a major focus when they purchased the company, and Bronwyn set out on giving the business a digital makeover.
“It was very casual – [It was] basically a small business van, a couple of kayaks and a trailer…. When we first bought the company, the fellow that we bought it off was like, ‘Oh, you’ll never take pre-bookings. It just doesn’t work that way.’ And immediately we redid the website and implemented an online booking system. It just made a huge difference – getting everything online.”
Over the past decade of ownership, both the business and her family have been expanding:
“We’ve grown the business quite a bit over the last nine years. We’ve expanded into boat tours and fishing…And we’ve grown our family too – I’ve got two little kids at home now.”
Why Bronwyn is Studying Digital Marketing
“It’s always been an interest of mine, since having kids in particular. I’ve taken a step back from guiding in the company. And I’m very much administration and marketing.”
Constantly outsourcing for graphic design, ads, website work and other marketing sources became inefficient for their business. Bronwyn was ready to gain these digital skills on her own. After completing a short course in Graphic Design, she was hungry to upskill in all areas of Digital – so she signed up to NZIE’s Diploma in Digital Marketing.
“The downtime during the pandemic helped me make that decision. We thought that we could use that time to our benefit, and come out of the pandemic a little bit stronger. To be able to market our business better, but also to expand my skills and options for the future.”
While researching Digital Marketing courses, NZIE’s NZQA accreditation stood out to Bronwyn, and she favoured the full Diploma over other short courses. Notably, the part time option over 2 years suited her busy work and family schedule:
“I thought that really sinking your teeth into something for a couple of years, you’re probably going to come out with a bit more than doing a short course. It is a field that interests me outside of tourism, as well. Another huge drawcard was that I did not have to physically go to a campus because that would be basically impossible for me. It’s been cool doing it online.”
Getting Accepted via Work Experience
Notably, it was Bronwyn’s work experience profile that got her accepted to NZIE’s Diploma, after “running a company for 9 years”. Her work with website, social media and ads was helpful in her application.
Work experience applications are very common for the Diploma in Digital Marketing. The process is simple: chat to our Recruitment Advisor Phil. He will request relevant work and documents to prove you have valid work experience to complete the Diploma in Digital Marketing. Phil says;
“Students just need to provide evidence of two years or more of suitable work experience. We collate evidence of that work experience in the form of perhaps a CV, a job description, some references. If there’s evidence of any digital marketing-related work they’ve done, that would be great as well. I present it to the academic board, and they then ultimately decide on the suitability of the students. At first glance, it might sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t.”
Relevant digital marketing experience includes, but is not limited to, website building, work with Adobe and running social media accounts for business.
“Close to 40% of our enrolled students come through work experience, and from what I hear they perform equally, if not to a better standard than students that come through general entry criteria, which is academic qualifications, degrees or level five diplomas. The process works. As you’ll see from Bronwyn, a lot of them are being propelled to success, which is great to see.”
Phil Woods, Recruitment advisor
Studying Part Time
While the part time load makes it possible for Bronwyn to juggle work, study and family, it’s not always easy.
“I guess it was probably more than I thought it would be signing up. But that varies with each class. I’m glad I didn’t choose the full-time option. You sort of look at it on paper and think, it’s two nights a week, whatever. But you’ve got to put a bit into each assessment, which is good.”
One of the benefits of the Diploma is the subject of each assessment is chosen by the student. Most students choose their own businesses to create content for.
“We’re doing email marketing right now. And I’m doing it for my own company. So, everything that I’m doing I feel is better for my business. It’s good work to be doing. And as we’re getting through it, it’s getting more and more practical, which I’m really enjoying.”
Her Course Highlights so far
While Bronwyn is only half way through her course, she lists the design and email papers as her highlights so far:
“[My design tutor was] Sara, she was wonderful. And then I had her for websites as well. I really enjoyed building a website, and building a brand and a logo, which is something I had done before, but I’d never done the full brand guidelines and sort of worked through all of that. And yeah, that was definitely my favourite class.”
In addition to that, Miriam – NZIE’s Programme leader and Academic Support officer – has been a great supporter of Bronwyn.
“I really liked Miriam. She was a great teacher. She’s someone I feel like you can always get in touch with about anything. When we got busy with tourism, for example, I reached out and she was really understanding and told me, I can always ask for extensions. You feel like you’ve got someone that understands. So that’s good.”
Building a Strong Digital Marketing Strategy
The Diploma has given Bronwyn a strong foundational understanding of marketing – which she never gained previously.
“When we covered the fundamentals of marketing – and we’re talking about funnels, and all that sort of basic buyers’ persona – it was good for me to do that. Because now I do think that way with my business, which I probably never did before. And I’ve always had the data to look at that stuff. But I’ve never looked at it very well before. So now all of a sudden, I’m doing all of that.”
Franz Josef Wilderness Tours already has a great strategy for gaining Google Reviews. This is something Bronwyn has “worked really hard on”.
“[In order to get more reviews] I send a customer survey request and review request after each trip. And that provides a Google review link as well.”
Building a strategy from scratch has been a key focus for the business in the past few years.
“We rebranded our company at the start of the pandemic. I knew that I was kind of going from zero…It’s been a lot of work in last few years.”
SEO, in addition to testimonials, is a key focus for the business moving forward.
“I’m trying to go through my keywords for each page. I know a little bit about SEO. I’m trying to keep the keywords to each page in line with the subject of the page. I look forward to learning more about this stuff, too.”
Plans After The Diploma
After graduation of the Diploma, Bronwyn will keep busy with her business goals.
“I think once I finish this diploma, I’m really going to have to sink at least a year into just getting our business back on its feet. Because it’s been a hard couple of years. Just really focusing on our own company and getting everything back into place. We need to hire a whole new team and get them all trained up. So, it’ll be pretty flat out.”
Further more, she plans to keep upskilling in Digital Marketing.
“I really look forward to diving into more about the Google Analytics. I know what it is, and I look at it often, but I’ve never really driven into it before. Plus Google ads and all that sort of thing. So, by the time I’m finished, I’ll feel like I’ll be using a lot of skills for my own company, and hopefully, for other companies, too.”
Are you a business owner who wants to upskill in Digital Marketing, just like Bronwyn?
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