An insight into marketing with first4lawyers
Andrew Cullwick gives us an insight into the world of Marketing and how he spends an average day as first4lawyers' Marketing Manager.
How did you become a Marketing Manager with first4lawyers?
According to my parents I had many strange career aspirations as a child, at one point I even declared that I wanted to be a monk!
However at 16 I was a little lost and had to think about what A level choices I wanted to make, where this would take me at university and ultimately my career.
I’d always enjoyed business studies at school and it was a project about product extensions (we turned a Cadbury Creme Egg into an Ice-Cream Egg) that gave me my passion for marketing.
It shaped and drove my choices. I went on to study marketing at university and got a job as a marketing assistant when I left.
Over the next 20 years, I’ve developed a variety of experience right across the marketing mix and in a variety of sectors including automotive, publishing, technology and now legal online.
A couple of years ago I was approached about the role at first4lawyers, applied and the rest was history as they say.
What skills should you have to be a top Marketing Manager?
You would naturally expect me to say that creativity is the most important skill of a marketing manager, but I’m increasingly looking for people that have a broader skillset.
You’ve got to be able to multi-task and handle many projects at once, but importantly you’ve got to have a passion for what you do.
Increasingly digital marketing is about analytics and big data. I spend more time looking at demographic data, spreadsheets and analytics tools to make decisions about marketing activity rather than creative brainstorming.
Marketers are also becoming more involved in product development and strategic decisions within businesses. Therefore, you need to have a broader understanding of business in general and be able to contribute to wider strategic decisions if you are looking to progress into management.
Describe a normal day to us:
What’s a normal day? My day is typically split between tactical and strategic activities. The first task of the day is to review the tactical performance of the day before. We look at the number of enquiries versus expectations and how well that translated into new business.
If it is below our targets then we need to review and revise our campaigns to ensure they are operating as we expect. Once these are done I can then focus on the strategic development of our marketing strategy.
I have a structured plan of projects for the week based on our over-arching annual marketing strategy. This could be anything from reviewing the performance of our website and specific online campaign, writing new copy and content or developing concepts for new TV campaigns through to working on recruitment campaigns and PR to get our brand recognized more.
During the day, we then have several checkpoint sessions where department heads monitor performance expectations.
There is never a quiet moment.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best things have to be the variety and new challenges that it offers. I’ve been doing marketing for nearly twenty years now and I still learn something new every week if not every day.
The next marketing innovation is always on the horizon and it is so much fun finding it and learning how to use it.
When I started out, digital was a type of watch you wore and direct mail was king. I love how instantaneous digital marketing can be. You get to see the results of work you do come to fruition in minutes.
I really enjoy the fact that there is always an element of the unknown in every day of the week.
Are there any downsides?
Battling the unknown can be equally as difficult as it is fun. You do get days when something takes you away from what you planned and it means you have to play catch-up.
Do you feel that reaching charted status is necessary in your line of work?
If you’ve not done a marketing degree at University then a CIM qualification is usually required. I’ve never gone on to achieve chartered status and like to think it hasn’t held me back. These days there are so many more learning opportunities that chartered isn’t always as essential.
When I’m recruiting I’m looking for practical experience and examples of how you have made a difference. You may learn all the theory in the world but unless you know what to do with it and have demonstrated what you have done with it then it may as well stay in the textbook.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a Marketing Manager?
Perseverance. Getting my break into marketing was a challenge. Everyone wanted experience, but I had very little. If I was to go back and give the 18-year-old me some advice it would be to look at how you can develop marketing experience while still a student.
It could be taking a summer internship or proactively seeking work experience and placements where you can. You could also look at creating and running some marketing projects related to a club or hobby you have. Think about what will look good on your CV and show you not only have a passion for marketing but the right work ethic and experience to get noticed compared to someone else.