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Back to school! Well, not quite back to school but yes, back to studying!!

Since joining EST nearly two years ago as a Personal Assistant (I think), my role within the Company has been diverse and ever-changing. Barry spotted my potential and encouraged me to gain a qualification in something I love to do… Social Media. My administrative role soon developed into Chief “Twitterer”, social media correspondent and generally taking on more of a marketing focus. I was excited to go beyond the basics of marketing and become a fully-fledged “Marketing Coordinator”.

MH 140915 Est 60EST has given me an amazing opportunity and are supporting me to study towards the Certificate in Professional Marketing with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). As I was eager to progress my career, gain new qualifications and practical experience, EST has invested in me and fully funded my studies. I guess that’s another perk of working at EST - personal development. Every member of staff, at all levels and across all departments are encouraged and supported to study.

I started the course in September 2015, which is made up of three different modules:

Marketing (mandatory) - The role and functions of marketing in some depth, as well as what influences the behaviour of your customers.

Integrated Communications (mandatory) - The many different ways of communicating with customers, both inside and outside the organisation.

And then I had the choice of two electives:

Customer Experience - Understand all aspects of your customers’ experience so that you can ensure you deliver expectations in a consistent way. Monitor and measure their satisfaction so that you can make appropriate improvements as necessary.

Or:

Digital Marketing - How to apply practical knowledge, including the effective use of a digital marketing toolkit.

Digital marketing is a popular choice for the third module, the future for this ever-developing profession and one which I am keen to use. Once all exams have been passed and assessments submitted, successful completion of all three modules will lead to the CIM Certificate in Professional Marketing.… Fingers crossed!

Studying with the Chartered Institute of Marketing

Being an affiliated studying member of the CIM allows you to gain access to a ton of useful webinars, e-books and online resources. Although, finding the time to make use of them is proving difficult... However, I did manage to find the time to attend one of their dinner events recently!

I attended the event hosted by the CIM called the “CIM Leading Marketers Dinner” at The Undercroft, Cardiff Castle, the venue was beautiful (see photo below) I’ve lived in Cardiff all of my life and I’d never realised it was there! The annual event was the eighth dinner in Wales and was certainly full of stimulating debate and exciting networking.

The after dinner speech was delivered by Richard Davies, Equity Partner of Octagon Golf and Director of Lysander Management. I particularly enjoyed the discussion around digital marketing, he said something quite controversial, which was in essence that people should stop relying on digital media to be a route to market and should go back to the “Old Skool” ways of face to face meetings and that it’s more about relationship building.

I think it is important for a company to have an online presence, it’s a great way to exchange information, share ideas, pictures and videos in the virtual community, but setting up a LinkedIn page and tweeting now and again just isn’t enough. An online presence means “being present”. But, how much is enough? When you become engrossed with your news feed and obsessed with checking in… Is this healthy? Should we go back to basics and shake hands instead of poking, smile rather than sending smiley emojis and don’t just share a post online, become involved and engaged in live debates.

Social media is supposed to be sociable, but I think we are missing something. I’m hoping to find the perfect balance between digital marketing and face to face relationship building within EST. I love a good chat, I guess that’s how I became Head of Social Media, but I don’t just want a relationship with my phone. If you’re in the area pop in... Let’s engage, be present, let’s talk!


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 Photographs courtesy of CIM and Magenta Photography