Week one - 5 tips for starting a new digital marketing job

This is my first blog post since leaving the University of Bedfordshire and starting anew at Kier Group PLC. It certainly has been quite a week, with visits to three different offices and a very steep learning curve, but so far it's been a great experience for me. Therefore, I thought I'd list a few observations of what it's like to move from one sector to another and how I've tried to adapt my skills to a variety of new systems:

1. Leave the past behind

Thankfully, this week has been such a whirlwind for me that I can't even remember the projects I was working on in my last job! However, after working somewhere for a long time (nearly 8 years in my case) there was a real danger of just wanting to replicate everything that went before - such as the infrastructure and staffing setup. This way I'd be in my comfort zone and can just pick up where I left off. Obviously this would never work, especially in a whole new sector, meaning it's a brilliant time to reassess what did work well and look at the new options available. For me there are actually some old familiar friends such as HootSuite, Wordpress and Third Light but I've already found some real benefits of using Kier's existing CMS (SiteCore) and email system (Dotmailer). Next up is meeting the agency account managers and using my experience to build relationships there...

2. Get learning and listen

In order to be an effective digital marketer the first month with a new business should be primarily a learning exercise. Therefore I've been auditing everything in order to find out more about the company, their competitors, the staff, and most importantly, what success they are getting with their existing marketing strategy. By storming in with a 'I know best' attitude, I'd run the risk of alienating the very colleagues whom I need co-operation from. There's also the temptation to start changing everything before really learning the value of the current systems. Someone has obviously spent a lot of time developing them so I shouldn't just bin them until I have a good overview of what is working. Then it will be possible to use the things flagged up in the audit lists at the appropriate time meaning a potential slow and steady stream of great ideas from the 'new boy'!

3. Don't be yourself - yet!

The key word for your first day at work is restraint. If you're a naturally bubbly hyper-energetic type, tone it down a notch. This is me, and the last thing I want to do is to scare people. Likewise, if your default gear is low and slow, ease into your sense of humor. Even if everyone else is cracking jokes before the meeting starts, don't join the fray just yet - which is something I'm finding particularly hard! You're the newbie, which means you don't know which lines not to cross, particularly when your boss is involved. Also, whatever you do, never act like an assignment or task is beneath you. If they have you making copies all day or updating the Outlook calendar, don't whine. Once you pay your dues, people will see your potential and let you tackle the more interesting stuff.

4. Request the tools

Of course I don't mean turning up at work on the first day with a rider! But if you are to impress your new boss it's important that you have the tools at your disposal in order to do so. I immediately have set to work on my first month's objectives but there are certain hardware and software packages that would make achieving these much easier. Without them it'll be a case of going to work and feeling like my hands are tied which could lead to early frustration. Thankfully I've already forged some important relationships with IT in order to get my new computer completely tooled up and ready to go - 'Hello Adobe Creative Cloud...!'

5. Stockpile sleep and find the kettle

With three young children my chances of having an interrupted night's sleep are at a maximum anyway! But one thing I've noticed this week is how important scheduling in a good nights sleep really is. After day one (and even though I kept my usually energetic self somewhat in check) I was new levels of tired! This was due to my brain working overtime to absorb all of the new names, software and projects for which I am now responsible. It's a good job that the fancy boiling water taps mean it's even easier than ever to make a brew to keep me from becoming comatose.

So there are a few thoughts on handling a change of role. It's all going great so far and I've been surprised how similar offices can be. I think this is especially true in digital marketing where very few companies are as ahead as they could be and it is still seen as very new. Now back to work...!
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