Meet Sally – Retail Management superstar who dipped her toes into Digital Marketing and loved it! The below is about Sally’s background before finding NZIE and discovering her passion to study Digital Marketing further.
“From that particular paper onwards, I realised I had quite liked this area of the business world [social media]. However, I didn’t think I could actually make a career out of it.
I thought I’d need a bit more study in it first, but I didn’t really bother after finishing my degree. “
From Retail Management to Digital Marketing
How did you first gain exposure to digital marketing?
In Wellington, I managed a swimwear store, where I also did their social media, advertising, and email marketing. It was a very small-scale business that didn’t have a very big marketing budget. As a result, there wasn’t a lot of flexibility, and I wasn’t able to do a lot of paid advertising. But by doing a lot of the marketing myself it became an interesting experience and sparked my curiosity again!
Eventually I moved to Auckland and got another retail management role with a swimwear store in Grey Lynn. From there I gained more opportunities to explore social media marketing. Because they had a full-time digital marketing manager who always needed some extra help, I opted to support her.
I gained some experience using a scheduling tool called Planoly, but primarily worked with social media and some MailChimp. Then when the digital marketing manager ended up going on maternity leave, I took over parts of her role. Unfortunately because I was doing so much other stuff, I couldn’t primarily just focus on digital, like I wanted to.
Why did you study when you already had experience?
In terms of digital experience, I’d say I had more exposure. Predominantly in organic social media. For instance, I was in charge of figuring out what to post. Mostly using celebration days and international holidays to form the social media content. But I didn’t have a lot of budget for paid advertising. So, I never really delved into that for the brands I was dealing with.
When we started learning the social media marketing course at NZIE, I understood it from the get-go. Therefore, it didn’t take a lot to learn everything because I kind of knew a little bit about it already.
When lockdown hit, I did a lot of trial-and-error posting on the store and brand accounts. From there my manager at the time mentioned that if I wanted to do extra study, to let them know. As they may be able to figure something out to support me.
What made you choose to study digital marketing with NZIE?
I just Googled ‘digital marketing courses’ into Google and NZIE popped up! I read through what courses were covered and what specifics are taught. For example, like ‘how to use Adobe Creative Cloud and MailChimp’. That’s what clicked with me and showed that the course is very practical because you learn how to use industry tools. Overall, it was definitely a big reason why I chose NZIE.
After that, I got in touch with the recruitment team and decided to go for it! At first, I was only going to study part-time and then I was convinced to do it full-time. Thankfully because I’m really happy I got it over and done a lot quicker! It was a lot more intense but I’m really happy I chose the full-time study option.
How was your overall learning experience? How did you find the online learning format and the tutors?
I really liked the tutors. They were all really great and good at what they did. On the other hand, it was very different for me. Coming from an in-person learning environment to being completely 100% online took some adjusting to.
For example, I got more distracted while learning at home, but it was good because I adapted well.
What was your favourite new skill from the Diploma?
How did you go with gaining full-time Digital Marketing employment after you completed the Diploma?
When I finished in September 2021, I knew I wanted to work full time in digital marketing. However, I didn’t know what area specifically because I enjoyed so much of the diploma. Then the Client Success Team helped me out a lot!
Thanks to Jana and NZIE’s industry connections I got a call saying, “Hey we’ve just received your CV and we’d like to talk to you about a position at our agency in paid advertising”. I had the interview via Google Meets, got the role, and then started on the 27th of September!
Tell us about the digital marketing job you gained.
I work for Harper Digital in the performance team as a Digital Campaign Specialist. Harper Digital is a 100% NZ owned and operated digital marketing agency based in the lovely Takapuna. We primarily work with small – medium sized local NZ businesses. However we also serve businesses of all sizes throughout the asia-pacific region, including Australia and Singapore.
In my role I set-up, optimise & analyse a range of different types of advertising campaigns for a range of clients. We set-up and run a range of different Google Ad campaigns which include search, display, shopping & video (YouTube). We also set-up and run Social Ad campaigns which include Facebook & LinkedIn – so I work with Google Ads and Facebook Ads Manager on a daily basis. I also work with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager a lot too.
Harper Digital also has other teams within the agency as well. For instance, we have the production team who focus on designing and building new client websites, looking after SEO campaigns, and designing creatives for advertising campaigns. That’s the big thing about Harper Digital! We don’t just offer one service, we offer a whole range and that’s our point of difference.
Do you enjoy your role?
I absolutely love it! I’m very data driven so I love being able to look at all the data I have available to me and find ways to optimise the performance of existing campaigns. I also love creating new campaigns for existing or new clients as this is when my creative side comes out.
The diploma definitely helped give me that confidence to really get going in this role. I think it helped learning how to work Google Ads and Google Analytics as they can be quite complicated platforms. Learning all the tools that you can use within Google ads and Google Analytics was also incredibly useful. And also learning how to read/interpret the data and being able to provide feedback and recommendations to our clients.
What goals did you have coming into the NZIE Digital Marketing Diploma Programme?
My first goal was to pass the course ’cause I hadn’t studied for 2 years, and it was fully taught online. So basically, studying and being able to attend everything when I could, was one of the main goals. Secondly, was to get a job in the industry. Initially, I didn’t think I would have a problem because, again, on the NZIE website you talked about the success rate of graduates finding jobs.
Did the diploma transform your career opportunities? How has your future improved?
For now, I’m adapting to a very technology-based world. Fortunately, I’ve always had a fascination with how social media works. Learning about it really made me realise that I can actually earn money from working in it. Also, the other opportunities digital has, not just social media excites me too!
Would you recommend NZIE? And do you have any advice for those considering a digital marketing career?
I’d definitely recommend doing the diploma if you do want to work in digital marketing. I highly recommend it because NZIE has got great contacts when you finish the course to put you in touch with. That was the one thing I was worried about. Thinking “I’m finished now, how am I going to find a job in this profession?” But I’m really grateful that the client success team is there to help you get your CV out there.
I would recommend NZIE because the tutors are fantastic! They answer your questions, and they genuinely want their students to pass and not fail. So they will give you as much help as you require which I loved! For anyone wanting to consider a digital marketing career I highly recommend it. Especially with covid-19 it’s just changed the way we work, and you can do this completely from your home. Either in your home office or your bedroom, or your lounge. Being able to work from anywhere is something that will be really important going into the future and digital marketing can offer you that.