You may think only beginners need to study Digital Marketing: those with little to no experience or who are just getting started in the industry. Check out this story of our Diploma in Digital Marketing graduate Jennelle Soar.
Jennelle is a seasoned marketer who has lived in Sydney, Melbourne, London and currently resides in her home of New Zealand. She has over 15 years of experience in project management, shopper marketing and more recently the digital environment.
The experienced marketer saw first-hand the rapid push toward digital in the marketing sphere – accelerated during the COVID pandemic – and felt it was necessary to upskill to stay relevant in the industry. She chose NZIE’s Diploma in Digital Marketing to bridge the gap in her digital skills. Lucky for her, her company sponsored her course!
Making the decision to study Digital Marketing
So, why did Jennelle decide to study Digital Marketing at NZIE?
“I knew that traditional marketing would start dying down a bit. And it would start ramping up in terms of digital. After a Google search, I saw there are quite a few digital jobs out there. When I looked at the NZIE course structure I thought, Okay, this sounds pretty cool. Even if it doesn’t lead to anything. At least I’ve got that ground understanding and the base knowledge to make things happen. Fortunately, it has translated into what I do at work.”
Jennelle has a self-confessed “continuous improvement, continuous growth mindset.” She wants to keep improving in her career and knows that study is the perfect way to stay relevant.
“Traditional marketing in my opinion is all about executing amazing TV ads, advertising on radio, sampling etc. Traditional marketers these days don’t necessarily have the skills in digital. I’ve been helping upskill the team where I can to improve knowledge of what works & what doesn’t.”
Additionally, she’s encouraging a close co-worker to sign up for NZIE’s Diploma in Digital Marketing, as she knows her friend will reap the benefits of the course – just as she has done.
Why Her Company Sponsored the Course
During New Zealand first Covid lockdown, Jennelle was able to reflect on her career so far. She decided she wanted to study a digital course and was ready to foot the bill herself.
“My manager was extremely supportive of me taking on this course and felt that it could really help the company and my role so they agreed to sponsor me.“
Subsequently, Jennelle always kept her company in the loop, communicating what she was learning through presentations with management, and showing some findings to her fellow co-workers.
“I’d always come up with new ideas. One good idea was bringing all the design work in-house. So now myself and my work colleagues complete all the designs, the assets of everything. We’ve saved the business over $100,000!”
“Another fun shopper campaign has come to life in-store & online for Bell Tea across key retail partners. Thanks to everyone for making this happen! If you’re in NZ, hit up your local supermarket, purchase any 2 packs of Bell Tea and get your FREE quirky Bird Cup whilst stocks last. Be sure to collect all 3 and keep your eyes peeled on our social platforms for your chance to WIN the Limited Edition Giraffe Cup from the TV ad. 🔔 ❤️ 🔔
#ringmybelltea #shoppermarketing #jde”
“Everything I was learning, I was just putting into practice at work.”
As a Shopper Activation & eCommerce Manager at JDE Peet’s, there were many projects that benefitted from her Diploma output.
“While working with a lot of our New Zealand-based brands; I was able to take what I learned [in the Diploma] and give reports to the community. I love to see opportunities for the brands and see what we can do better. It’s almost like free research – they were each getting a SWOT analysis. Then I was able to look at plans where we can improve.”
Deep diving into the world of digital with NZIE allowed Jennelle to lead her workplace into the future of marketing. She saw how the COVID pandemic catapulted the demand for digital marketing:
“We had many cool activations that were planned to take place in-store. All of a sudden, it had to go online.
We revved up our online grocery marketing and ramped up all our communication. In addition to that, we made sure we had the right products, titles, images and descriptions for people’s online shopping. Our goal became, when you’re searching for two brands, ours will come up first. I went through and changed all the product titles to make sure there was great optimization. And that’s been working well. [SEO] is getting bigger.”
Although she graduated in July 2022, Jennelle confesses to checking over her Diploma notes from time to time, to help with any relevant tasks in her role.
Juggling Study and Work Commitments
As a result of a busy and demanding role at JDE Peet’s, returning to study was “a bit of an adjustment”.
“[The adjustment] was harder than I was expecting. I think it was just trying to adapt and work out a plan of action. I need to study. How many hours? What do I need to do to get myself up to scratch? Plus, the assignments on top? The first term was the adjustment phase, and then it got better.”
Since Auckland went into lockdown during her second term, she took a second paper and decided to study full-time.
“We weren’t able to leave the house or go travelling. Surprisingly, it was enjoyable. I had no social life, so I studied on the weekends. On a positive note, it saved me from spending money and going out. I was managing priorities and trying to get the work done.”
A Surprising Success
Surprisingly, the Diploma’s final 2 papers – SEO and Google Analytics – were a great success for Jennelle.
“I always thought I was more creative. During the Diploma’s final two papers, Google Analytics and SEO, I thought ‘Oh my god, these are hard!’. As a result, I probably put more effort into them. I was thinking; ‘I need to do well because this is my area of weakness – analytics. Consequently, I did the best in those papers!”
Moreover, she describes Lasma, her tutor for these papers, as “awesome”.
“She was probably one of my favourite tutors. I just got a lot out of those two papers and learned the most there. As a result, I have been able to put [this content] into practice a little bit in my current role. The website and the design paper were also new and interesting to me.”
Excited to see this shopper campaign come to life. It has been a long time in the making but we made it! Thanks to everyone at JDE, Countdown, Cartology and of course our amazing field team for exceptional in-store displays. If you’re in NZ, hit up your local Countdown store this week, purchase any 2 packs of Jed’s Coffee and bag yourself a beanie this winter!
#jedscoffee #neverstopexploring #shoppermarketing #jde 🤎 ☕ 🧡
Although an experienced marketer, Jennelle gained a huge amount of support from her classmates, some of whom have never worked in the industry:
“There’s a huge range of backgrounds, people come from graphic design, or sales, some people are in completely different things. And then to see where people are working after graduating is always really diverse too.”
The Learning Never Stops
Never one to slow down, Jennelle is set to graduate from NZIE’s Google Digital Academy course next week, with a full Google certification. She’s always on the lookout for opportunities to upskill and stay on the pulse of the Digital Marketing Industry.