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David Kenning

David Kenning profile- GFA graduates page Having started his career as a Social Media Apprentice, David joined the BA (Hons) Digital Marketing course to enhance his knowledge and skillset. He is now a Digital Marketing Executive at Sandwell College and works across the full marketing mix.

Why did you choose to study BA (Hons) Digital Marketing?

I studied Digital Marketing as it allowed me to combine both my creative and analytical skills. There are so many exciting fields within Digital Marketing, whether it is being a content creator or in a more data-driven role. It is one of the best industries to be a part of in this ever-increasing digitalised world.

How did the course help you prepare for your career?

My course was practical-based so each assignment was to show how I could use different marketing theories as part of a wider campaign. Learning about marketing funnels such as RACE has helped me look at marketing campaigns in a whole new perspective which has helped me massively in my career.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

The simulated brief aspect of the course was very enjoyable, it was great working on briefs for global brands such as Adidas and Universal Orlando as well as the real-life brief with BBC Creative. The knowledge I gained of different tools such as Mintel and YouGov has been beneficial in job interviews as well as showing off my assignments as part of my portfolio. I also really enjoyed collaborating with other students on assignments, as well as extracurricular activities such as the D&AD New Blood Awards which involved working on a competition entry with three other classmates.

Can you tell us a bit about your career journey?

In November 2013, I started off as a Social Media Apprentice at an agency based in Digbeth where I worked on the organic social media presence of local businesses and colleges. After completing my apprenticeship in 2015, I joined Majestic, a tech company specialising in weblink intelligence. My role was focused on organic social media management, content writing and being part of the team that represented the company at international industry events such as the European Search Awards. 

I worked in this position full time until September 2016 and then moved into a part-time role alongside my university studies. In this part-time role, my main responsibilities were Email Marketing, Influencer Outreach and SEO.

In my first year at Majestic, I could see there were certain gaps in my knowledge and skill set that would affect my career in the long term so I felt it was crucial to go to university and learn more about marketing. I studied a Foundation Degree in Digital Marketing at a local university from 2016 to 2017 before transferring to Birmingham City University to study the BA (Hons) Digital Marketing degree. 

After completing my studies, I became a Digital Account Executive at BBJ&K where I worked across BBJ&K’s client base on all aspects of digital campaign delivery. This consisted of creating and implementing digital campaigns on Google Ads, Paid Social and Programmatic Display.

I then became Sandwell College’s Digital Marketing Executive in December 2019, in this role I provide digital support to the delivery of the College’s marketing strategy. I work across the Paid, Owned and Earned media activities of the College and two Sixth Form centres.

What does a typical day at your current role involve and what do you enjoy most about it?

As part of my role, I work across the full marketing mix so every day is different! A summary of my day to day role includes:

  • Alumni Outreach
  • Display Advertising
  • Email Marketing to current and prospective students
  • Landing page creation
  • Lead Generation campaigns
  • Researching the latest innovations in digital and relating it back to the College
  • SEO (On and off-page)
  • Social Media Management (Organic & Paid)
  • Training other departments on Social Media tone of voice

I enjoy being part of an organisation that has strong links to the local community and the power it has to help young people into employment or Higher Education. I’ve worked on alumni outreach campaigns during the Coronavirus pandemic and the stories from former students who work on the frontline were very inspirational and it was brilliant to see the reaction on social media from their friends and family when their story was published.

What advice would you give to a student thinking about joining the Digital Marketing course?

I would strongly recommend joining this course. The course provides an immense level of insight into Digital Marketing, practical experience in assignments and amazing teaching staff who provide years of expertise in this field. 

What advice would you give to a student looking to get into the Digital Marketing industry?

Inexperience is always an issue in job interviews and it is difficult at first to get your foot in the door. In some ways, this can be resolved by showing your knowledge of how particular digital platforms work. I would recommend becoming familiar with digital tools by either creating accounts on certain platforms or undergo training on platforms such as Google Skillshop or Facebook Blueprint.  For example, if you are going for a Content Marketing role, I would recommend setting up your own WordPress account and using plugins such as YoastSEO to show prospective employers that you are able to optimise content for search engines. The same method would apply for Paid Media roles by showing an understanding of how a PPC or Facebook campaign is structured. This understanding and use of initiative is key in job interviews and will help you stand out from other candidates. 

I would also recommend getting involved with the industry by attending marketing events. This is a great way to make new connections as well as learning about marketing from a different perspective, outside of the classroom.