One Month at Footprint Digital – My Placement Year

Published on 25th September 2018

My placement started slightly differently to most others; On a paddleboard in Mersea trying to prove myself through balance and strength (and not falling into the water) while hoping I wouldn’t be pushed off. Thankfully being a newbie, I was saved from being pushed. It was my first opportunity to meet the team and somehow it was made easier by everyone feeling slightly ridiculous in wetsuits- this was a team that liked to have fun. This first initial icebreaker was what I needed to feel prepared to start my new role on Monday.

My first early morning after a long summer break was a shock to the system but I was ready to be a Marketing Executive at Footprint Digital, ready to seize the day. The first morning team huddle, a completely new concept to me, consisted of everyone sharing their diaries for the week, things that needed to be done, while I was about to find out mine for the week. The meeting was followed by an onboarding session, learning what I need to be using to track my activity and work, where I can access documents and information as well as using Toggle (simple yet still got me very confused). Most of my first day was spent trying to get my head around all these new tools, making sure I was able to use everything properly. In the afternoon I got the opportunity to learn more about Footprint Digital in an initial introduction, learning about the culture and values of the company. I was then able to present some of my initial ideas that I had put together, types of marketing campaign ideas, timings and CSR. I felt like my ideas were really listened to and considered and felt that this is a safe space to try things, even if they go wrong; giving me a feeling of confidence to be able to see what I am made of. I knew from then that I would be supported in my work and given responsibility to make a difference.

Footprint Branding Meeting

I was thrown right into this industry experience when I attended a branding meeting on my second day. This was a chance for a branding agency to present their ideas to Footprint for their rebranding. My first real corporate meeting. Shaking hands and introductions followed by debate and discussion. It was so insightful to be part of, to be in a room full of experts pushing and pulling of ideas over a table, who will win? Who’s ideas will take precedence? To be able to see the process of thought for the rebranding – where the ideas came from, why they wanted to change some language was very informative, to see an outsiders point of view. Coming away from the meeting, all the Toms seemed slightly disappointed about what had been presented to them, however it gave us a push into thinking about who exactly footprint are and what do they want to be known for?

After the branding meeting it became apparent that we needed to figure out exactly who we are. Therefore, I was able to carry out analysis of the website and all the documents to date, with the content manager, to begin to see where our strengths and weaknesses are, particularly in the copy (a new word I’ve learned!). This was a really great experience for me to see the kind of processes that businesses go through to improve their website and begin to make an improvement to their digital presence. I was able to also implement things I had learn on my business management degree around competitor and SWOT analysis, giving me a really valuable sense of how my learning is going to contribute to my career.

Tone of Voice Session

Time for Tone of Voice. My aim for the next couple of weeks was to focus on building Footprint Digital a tone of voice; Who exactly are we? What exactly are our goals? What do we want you to know? Given the responsibility to put together this document and carrying out all the research for it has been a great learning experience. This type of document was something that I had never heard of at university, and I wasn’t exactly sure what I had to do. But after having meetings with the team to ask my questions, I felt I was able to confidently start to develop with my ideas. I learned so much about language themes, consistency, word choices, and the importance of ‘show don’t tell’. Being given the responsibility to improve and develop real business documents I believe has given me an experience that I wouldn’t have got through my lectures, it’s given me an extra analysis skill to look out for areas in copy that I wouldn’t have ever considered before. Hopefully, I have been successful in putting this document together and it will prove useful for Footprint now and in the future.

DIT Events

7.25am pick-ups have also became a regular occurrence these first two weeks, to attend department of international trade (DIT) events. Specialists from Footprint Digital are speakers at these events, educating start-up business entrepreneurs to get online and start trading nationally and internationally. Each event I attended looked at e commerce and internationalization, while the second one focused more on technical SEO. Learning about google tools, PPC and SEO in depth has given me a much clearer understanding about what exactly it takes to succeed online (far more than what was touched on at uni) as well giving me the opportunity to learn more about Footprint Digital and what their core activities are. I really enjoyed observing the one-to-one chats that took place at these events whereby ‘students’ asked questions specifically about their business. I found it so intriguing to hear people’s business ideas, their passion for success and the really struggle some had been through from believing in their idea. It was a real eye-opening experience to see exactly how hard entrepreneurs work and try new ideas to get their business to succeed.

Project Management Training

The whole Footprint Digital team took part in a project management training day, where by we learn theories such as lean six sigma and Agile PM. The day consisted of learning about theories and then implementing these into practical’s which kept getting more developed to become more efficient. To give you an idea, we had to build an app using the framework of ‘Should do, Could do, Would do, Wont do this time’ to split up the most important features, this was then further developed to get a picture of exactly what it was that was needed, therefore breaking down the process to become the most efficient. The most useful part of the day for myself was the end of the day whereby in teams we looked at a process that Footprint Digital carry out – the SEO process – and analysed it to see where it could become more efficient. This gave me a real sense of exactly what goes on when working with a client, the types of activities that need to be completed, reports, phone calls and emails that need to be made. I got to understand what my colleagues do, their job role and how they communicate with clients. This was a really great insight into implementing the theory that I had learned about SEO and seeing the practicalities of what is done, something I wouldn’t have experienced without this placement opportunity.

The footprint digital team have really supported my learning and made me feel welcome straight away, with setting up training in CRO, PPC, brand positioning and SEO, therefore giving me an in depth idea of everyone’s role, and exactly what Footprint do. I have also been given responsibility to fulfill tasks that I have never tried before, making me feel like I have been given a real learning experience for my year in industry.

Lets see what the next month brings…

 Ellie Elam, Digital Marketing Executive