Name: Fiona Bell
University: Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh
Degree: MA(Hons) Management with Marketing
Work Title: Marketing Manager, Turner Access, a leading European manufacturer and supplier of scaffolding and access equipment to the global marketplace.
Fiona found her placement through the Graduates For Business scheme. The Graduates for Business programme gives graduates the chance to work full-time for some of Scotland’s most forward-looking companies, earning a salary and applying their degree skills to a specific, challenging project.
The scheme is open to graduates across a wide range of degree disciplines. It can be accessed throughout the year, with placements varying between three and twelve months. Find out more and apply online at: www.scottish-enterprise.com/graduates
What do you actually do? I am responsible for the day to day running of the Marketing Department. My principle aim is to promote the Turner Access brand and raise the company profile. My role includes creating promotional strategies for the company as a whole and for our individual product and service range. General marketing activity includes creating advertising schedules, designing adverts for placement in trade publications, direct mail campaigns, organising and attending exhibitions, writing editorial and PR, and maintaining the company website. I also design and create all promotional literature and point of sale material.
Why did you decide to go into this sector? During my first couple of years at university, I studied general business and management modules. Within some of these modules, marketing was included. I developed an interest in this and started to tailor my final years to include marketing related subjects as the core elements to my course. I was interested in Heriot Watt as a university and liked the campus. They offered the kind of courses I wanted to take.
Would you undertake further study to progress your career? I am interested in studying for a Postgraduate Degree in Marketing, in particular, through the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
What do you most like about what you do? I enjoy the variety my role brings me. We deal with most marketing activity in-house. Very rarely do we get external agencies involved. This allows me to be involved with everything from strategy to daily marketing tasks like designing an advert or sales brochure.
What skills do you think you need to succeed? Understanding your target market is an essential skill. For a successful marketing campaign it must be designed with you target market in mind.
Another important skill is organisation. Everything I do involves a plan and a schedule/timetable for completion. When launching a new product, a launch strategy is an invaluable tool. This allows me to organise everything from the advertising to the sales material needed to support the launch within the timetable set out.
A good eye for detail is another important skill. I consider myself a bit of a perfectionist and won’t let anything be distributed unless I am completely happy with the design, layout and content. When designing literature, adverts and mailers, it is important to consider corporate branding.
What advice would you give graduates wishing to enter this sector? My advice would be to stay open-minded and do not rely on theory you read in your marketing textbooks. Yes, the theory forms the basis of what we do as marketing people; however, it must be applied within the context of the industry you work within. For example, the fast moving consumer goods market (FMCG) is very different from the construction industry. Although marketing concepts are similar, the sales and marketing strategy will differ greatly. Marketing activity you find successful in one industry may not provide the same results in another. Therefore, make sure you have a good understanding of the industry and your customer base.
Is there anything you wish to add? I would like to offer the following advice to recent graduates. Don’t give up. When you first graduate it can be very difficult, often disheartening and frustrating finding that perfect job. I spent six months working in retail before I was offered a job that related to my degree. My lifeline was the Graduates for Business scheme run by the Scottish Enterprise. After only three interviews at different companies, I was offered the position of Marketing Executive at Turner Access. After a year’s placement, I was offered permanent employment, and three years later, promoted to Marketing Manager.