From Apprentice to Marketing Specialist – National Apprenticeship Week 2020

It has been three years since I completed an apprenticeship with the Napier Group, and I have recently hit 4 years of working with the agency. As each year passes and the National Apprenticeship Week dawns, I often reflect on how my apprenticeship allowed me to blossom into the Marketer I am today. In this blog I thought I would share my perspective on how an apprenticeship helped kickstart my career.

When I completed my A-Levels back in 2015, I wasn’t certain about what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to go after Sixth Form. I then applied for an apprenticeship at Cambridge Regional College and since then, I haven’t looked back. My progression throughout the programme really gave me the boost I needed to develop critical skills needed in a professional environment.

I chose the apprenticeship path over University, and I strongly believe that it was the right decision for me. Armitage gave me the opportunity to develop my marketing skills and gain valuable career experiences in a real working environment; something I didn’t think was possible at such an early stage. Still today I am grateful for the time and training the company dedicated to my development during my apprenticeship.

During my time as an apprentice, I was able to build my reporting and Microsoft office skills as well as build relationships with clients and work on various exciting B2B marketing campaigns.

In 2017 I became a Marketing Specialist at the Saffron Walden office, and continued my education with the CIM Certificate in Professional Marketing at Cambridge Marketing College. I still continue to learn new things here at Armitage, but my apprenticeship will always remain as one of my highlights.

An apprenticeship worked for me, and I would definitely recommend the programme to anyone looking to make the first step up into a worthwhile career.


An Account Manager's Journey at Armitage Communications...

I’ve been asked to blog about how I got into the wonderful world of marketing and PR but, truth be told, much of the credit for my getting into the industry should really go to my wife.

I’d spent several years scratching out a modest living doing freelance SEO copywriting by day, and then pulling pints at the local by night. Neither of these offered much in the way of career progression.

But then in the summer of 2014 I first met my (now) wife, and it quickly became clear that I needed to step my career up a gear if I was to move in with her and be able to support myself.

Ideally, I wanted a role that could provide more of an outlet for my writing skills and creative tendencies, as well as an environment in which I could progress my career quickly.

Enter Armitage Communications, who for their part took somewhat of a gamble in employing someone (i.e. me) with relatively little experience of agency PR, and next to no engineering background. Whilst there was a fairly steep learning curve on the engineering side to begin with, it definitely got easier over time. In fact, outside of work I now regularly have to stop myself from boring people senseless with all the technical and industry knowledge I’ve accrued over the years.

Having started out on the bottom rung of the company as a Junior Account Executive, I quickly found that there were plenty of opportunities here to grow and progress, and that persistence and professionalism were recognised and rewarded.

Within a year of starting out I was given my own account to manage, and now, several promotions later, I’ve carved out my own fiefdom working on some of the largest and most prestigious names in industrial technology. So there are definitely opportunities here to climb the ladder relatively quickly, and the higher up you go, the more you can put your own stamp on things, which is all the more rewarding.

I can’t pretend that it’s all been easy the whole time, and as with any job clearly some days are more challenging than others, but by and large I’m proof that if you put in the work here, then doors will open. I’m pleased to work for a company that was willing to put its faith in me, has provided support as I’ve risen up the ranks, and has given me the chance to show the PR world what I can do.

We’re always on the lookout for talent, so whatever your skillset or experience, if you think you can add something special to our account teams, then please send your CV to debbiem@napierb2b.com.

 


Armitage Communications Welcomes Amy Moqbel as Senior Account Manager

 Armitage Communications has welcomed Amy Moqbel to the team as Senior Account Manager.

Amy joins the team with 13 years of marketing experience, and a master’s in strategic marketing. As a self-professed design geek, Amy has previously trained as a Product Design Engineer, and her career history spans both big and small businesses where she has been responsible for driving business growth across several different product categories.

“I have always had a keen interest in tech and innovation trends and remain fascinated by how they will shape our future” commented Amy. “I am excited to join the team here at Armitage”.

“I am delighted to welcome Amy to the Armitage team” commented Mike Maynard, Managing Director of the Napier Group. “With a strong background in engineering and technology, Amy further strengthens our team of technical journalists and engineers”.

Amy will be working closely with ABB and will deliver communications solutions for ABB’s world-renowned measurement & analytics products.


A Day in the Life of an Account Manager

At Armitage Communications, we’re keen to share with you the different roles we have within the team. From Account Directors through to Marketing Specialists, we have a range of people performing a variety of tasks on a daily basis.

In this blog, we’ll share with you Rose’s typical day. Rose started in PR over five years ago as a Junior Account Executive and is now a Junior Account Manager. 

Morning:

When I arrive in the morning, the first thing I do is check my emails for any urgent items which need to be addressed immediately. I then look online for any news relevant to our accounts, especially around robotics and automation technology, logistics and telecommunications.

It’s difficult not to get sidetracked into reading too much of the news - but also really important to get an overview of what is happening in the industries to provide context for our campaigns and articles.

Next I check in with the members of our Robotics, Telecommunications and Logistics teams to make sure we are all aligned on the high priority items of the day. If there are any difficulties across any projects then I have to think carefully about what the next best action is to take. More often than not it takes a small change to resolve a challenge, which in the moment can feel enormous, but usually it’s a small part of the overall picture and once addressed, it’s on to the next project. If I’m really stuck on what to do, then I can ask an Account Director.

Often the next project will involve writing of some kind. It could be a blog, feature article, opinion piece, case study or script. Depending on the content specifications, it could take up to eight hours to research, plan and draft the piece, or as little as half an hour.

Afternoon:

In the afternoon, I could be pitching features to editors, setting up press release distributions or spending some time on a Skype call with a client to run through briefs for content, events or campaign strategy. 

As an Account Manager, it’s my responsibility to ensure that my clients are well represented in the press and that all content aligns with their key messaging. Usually I will scan the media packs for relevant features to pitch for. Common features I’d go for include ‘Digitalisation in food manufacturing’, or ‘How to address the skills shortage,’ through to “Warehouse automation’ and ‘Robotics’ across a range of magazines including Controls, Drives and Automation, Logistics Manager and Food & Drink Network UK. There are lots of nationals which occasionally feature relevant news which we can re-actively pitch against  - recently we got a client a piece of coverage in the Times!

Either myself or the Account Executive will draft a synopsis for the article and email it over to the editor. We usually wait a few days before calling to follow up (unless it's a reactive pitch of course, in which case we have to be super quick before the news is no longer relevant). If the editor is interested in the content, then we’ll find out the deadline, word count and any images they’ll need and make sure we note this to remind ourselves to deliver on time.

The brief for the article will be outlined to one of our writers unless we have time to write it ourselves. Then once drafted, the article is sent to the client for approval before submitting to the editor along with any images they need such as headshots or real-world examples of the product in action. 

During the day I can often have a Skype call diarised, and I make sure to prepare in good time. I read through any attachments or notes in the invite, and write out any questions beforehand that I anticipate I will need to ask to glean the relevant information from the client to execute the project effectively. These 30 minutes to an hour of preparation time are what can make the difference between quality Account Management and last minute, rushed Account Management which can lead to lots of revisions and a frustrated client. 

The fewer the revisions, the better the value.

Towards the end of the day I review the items I have completed and mark them as done on the work in progress (WIP) sheet. I also consider what projects will need to be completed the next morning. Having deadlines set against each project in the WIP helps to inform my priorities and leads to a much higher client satisfaction rate as this kind of attention to detail and organisation means the work is delivered in good time. 

If I had to sum up what the role of Account Manager requires in a few words, I’d say flexibility, problem-solving abilities, creativity and a passion for nurturing positive client relationships. It helps when you enjoy the accounts which you work on, and have an interest in the subject matter, which I definitely do.

Did I mention I love robots?

If this sounds like a role you’d enjoy and you’re interested in potentially joining us, send your C.V. to debbiem@napierb2b.com


A day in the life of a Marketing Specialist

My name is Taylor, and I’m one of the Marketing Specialists at Armitage Communications, based in one of our locations in Saffron Walden, Essex.

The purpose of this blog is to share some of the details about how I got into the marketing industry, my typical working day, and help you decide if a similar role could be for you.  

I originally joined the company four years ago as an Apprentice when Napier acquired Peter Bush Communications, following my interest in Marketing at A-Level. In 2017 after completing my NVQ, I was offered to take on the role as a Marketing Specialist, and my roles and responsibilities have developed since that very moment and into the merge with Armitage Communications. You can read more about vocational benefits and why you should consider an apprenticeship in one of our latest blogs.

 

From day to day, I have regular calls with colleagues from both Armitage and Napier to discuss ongoing projects and our top priorities for the week. I also join calls with clients and Account Managers to go through our WIP (work in progress) document to highlight outstanding tasks, or new upcoming campaigns. Projects I work on for clients can vary; I could be working on tasks ranging from social media planning and creation, content and blog writing, through to event management.  

One of the key aspects of the role that surprised me when I joined the company was the amount of trust I had from my colleagues, especially coming from an apprenticeship. I have been given opportunities to work freely on development tasks such as SEO, and email marketing via HubSpot, which helped build my confidence. I was also offered, and I accepted various training and career development opportunities such as the CIM Certificate in Professional Marketing at the Cambridge Marketing College.

I would consider my position at Armitage rather fast-paced and flexible. As well as supporting administration and marketing duties, I am never stuck to one project or duty, which why the role is rather enjoyable and comes as great experience for me in the early stages of my marketing career.

If you’re considering a similar marketing role, or are interested in working for us, get in touch today!