The Post: Managing Director, Digital 24
The Post Holder: Niamh Taylor
Through her role as a digital marketing director Niamh Taylor helps companies to reach their full potential.
Give a brief outline of your career to date.
I began my career as assistant marketing manager for Bedeck working with a nose of brands including Jeff Banks and Cosmopolitan and big retailers House of Fraser and Debenhams. I then moved to Australia and worked as marketing manager for another luxury bedlinen company. Sheridan. One of the highlights during this time was working on a marketing campaign with Elle Macpherson! I also spent time with the commercial side of the business. working with hotels and companies including Harvey Norman before taking a career break to travel around the world. I returned to Northern Ireland and took up a position with Translink heading up their Desktop Publishing Department. From here, I went to Hollywood and Donnelly to assist in the sale of the soft drink side of the business to Britvic where my responsibility was to look after the marketing element through the transition. After this, I worked for Sliderobes for seven years as the Head of Marketing before setting up Digital 24 in May 2015.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Art and History of Art as I really enjoyed the creative side of things. Creativity runs in my dad’s family – we have lots of artists. My cousin is Andrew Scott who played Moriarty in BBC’s Sherlock and Max Denbigh, aka MI5 boss C, in James Bond film Spectre, so it’s safe to say it runs in our blood!
Did you go on to further/ higher education, if so what did you study and where?
I went to Queen’s University, Belfast where I studied Business Management and Economics.
How did you get into your area of work?
When I was 14 I worked part-time for my aunt’s travel agency and always carved out branding tasks as part of my duties. My dad owned a bar and a bookies and I was responsible for ordering branded matches and menus and doing the off-licence window displays. In the first week of my degree, I started a marketing module and it was only then I realised that the work I carried out during my part time roles, which I loved, was marketing. I knew then and there that marketing was what I wanted to do.
After I left university and start-ed working with Bedeck. I helped to create its website. from registering the domain to the design – and that was almost 20 years ago. Since then, before digital marketing was even properly realised, I’ve been bringing it into my strategies. when I worked for Sliderobes. I Knew very early on that we needed to shift our budget from traditional to online marketing. During this time, I attended a conference and one of the speakers was from Google. I spoke to her at the event and asked her to take us on as a direct client, which they did. Sliderobes was Google’s first direct client in Northern Ireland and I spent the next four years working with them very closely.
Were there any particular essential qualifications or experience needed?
Technically I’ve been working in digital marketing for 20 years when there was no qualification for it. In 2009, I carried out the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s first qualification for digital marketing in Northern Ireland -the Diploma in Digital Marketing.
Nowadays, I think it is very important to have both a qualification and experience. When you are starting off in this field, it is vital to have an experienced digital marketer there to guide you. I think there are too many businesses are taking on digital marketing graduates with nobody in the company there to guide them and the graduate is not getting the correct experience. I think a lot of students look at digital marketing as glamourous. Working in marketing now is so different to what it was, even five years ago. Now it’s all about data. You need to be creative and analytical.
What does a typical day entail?
The first thing I do every day is check up on all client campaigns on Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. This is really important as it allows us to make sure all the campaigns are working effectively and add on another test. We test everything, we don’t just assume that things work.
However, after that no one day is ever the same. On any one typical day, I could be preparing client content strategies, planning out their social media, email marketing and the messaging on their Google and Facebook Ads. I also mentor businesses across Ireland, and recently London, on how they can improve their online presence and sales through digital marketing. Myself and my team work from home every Fri-day and If they need to work from home for timeout or quiet time, they can do that. I think flexible working like this, especially with a fast-paced job, is important.
You could have your week planned out, but in digital marketing, we are working in real time where things can change in an instant. For example, the day before Black Friday, the Facebook’s Ads system just shut down. This meant we couldn’t set up client campaigns for Black Friday – in this industry you are relying on technology that doesn’t always play ball!
What are the best and most challenging aspects of the job?
The best thing is that I get to work with so many different businesses across so many different sectors and get an insight into what they work for. I absolutely love mentoring and seeing the difference I can help make to businesses.
Digital marketing’s a challenging industry as it is fast-paced and every week something new is launched so it’s important to make sure yourself and your team are continuously upskilled and up to date on all the latest digital trends.
Why is what you do important?
I truly believe that digital marketing is vital for the success of companies and those not embracing it will struggle. Through the work I am doing with my clients across Europe and mentoring, I think I’m helping to make a difference and aid in the growth of companies.
I am a massive advocate for women in business. There aren’t that many female-owned, independent digital marketing agencies in Ireland or the UK and the fact that we’re growing every year and have won seven awards this year alone, including Best Use of Digital Marketing at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards, makes me feel proud. I am a massive champion for female entrepreneurs, so I hope my story helps others shatter the glass ceiling.
If you weren’t doing this what would you like to do?
It’s hard to imagine doing anything else as it’s what I have enjoyed since I was doing since I was 14.
Describe your ideal day off.
In Rossnowlagh with my family. We have a house there and it’s my ideal downtime.
And finally, what’s the key to any successful job search?
Be yourself and go for a job you love. Don’t settle for anything less.