A creative education

A creative education

In recent months there has been a great deal of focus on the skills gap in the creative and digital sector. This has been borne out through white papers, industry events, debates and intense media attention. And quite rightly too – if our industry is to thrive, and the young people in our communities are to have positive opportunities ahead of them – we all need to commit to bridging the gap between academia and industry. The facts speak for themselves – a recent Government report suggests that the UK economy loses out on £68bn of GDP every year due to the digital skills gap.

This isn’t a new challenge though. Since we opened our doors in 1988 we have always made a commitment to support creative and marketing students through a blend of work placements and internships to give a flavour of what our sector offers. We’ve also worked with clients in all parts of the education system – from primary school academies, to high schools, colleges and Universities and have developed first hand experience of the challenges at play. Throughout this time we’ve seen how much progress that action-based learning in a workplace offers.

And so it is fantastic to now see that the recently launched IH: Catalyst programme is taking things further by establishing an industry-led training programme for people looking to step into the industry.

Given this level of activity around the subject, it was therefore great timing to be recently invited to talk to some prospective marketers at the University of Liverpool. The brief was to give an insight in to what a career in marketing is really like. This was a great opportunity to step back and actually reflect on what is at the heart of our industry, rather than getting embroiled in the minutia of academic pathways or specific skills for a particular piece of tech.

Here are the five things that I presented – the five core things that a career in marketing offers:

1. People

It’s a people business. At its heart, our industry is about engaging, understanding and building relationships with people – regardless of whether they are consumers, clients or colleagues. Marketing offers passionate, curious minds a great environment to flourish.

2. Tech

Technology is changing our world and how we communicate, act and behave on a daily basis. By virtue, this places marketers at the forefront of this change, with fabulous opportunities to embrace, respond and develop with it.

3. Demand

In recent years, there have been some huge changes in the way brands and consumers relate to each other, driven by the advent of social media and connected environments. And so in turn the role of the marketer has been changing rapidly too. But as long as there are brands, products and services being developed and taken to market, there will always be a demand for the skills of a marketer to connect brands with customers – even if the job title may change in time.

4. Creativity

The stalwart of marketing is still a huge part of the industry. As a marketer, you are continually challenged to bring fresh, creative thinking to a new product in development, an ageing brand or future corporate strategy. This may be the in the form of conventional creative outputs such as visual designs and messaging, but importantly creativity is also borne out through use of insight, channel planning and development. Marketing always has been and always will be a creative space.

5. Diversity

As a marketer working in an agency environment, the chances are you’ll get diversity and variety as a staple in your daily role. You may have to jump from one client industry to another in the blink of an eye, delivering an air of confidence and expert knowledge in conversations, which could range from retail to healthcare to sports within the space of three phone calls. It keeps the role of a marketer fresh, honest and hungry to continually learn.

I’d love to know what you think – what does the industry offer to future marketing, creative and digital folk?