Welcome To Footprint: Our First Month

Published on November 3, 2017 by Alex Eade

Back at the start of October, our team was joined by Thomas and Reuben; new recruits fresh out of our Footprint Academy.  Our rookies were out of boot camp and heading towards the frontlines of digital marketing, with the full support of the seasoned foot soldiers that make up the rest of our agency. Now, one month on, they are as much a feature in the office as the plants (that we really should water more often).

We sat the boys down and asked them to reflect on their opening foray into the digital battlefield…

Week 1:

With a fair amount of inevitability, week one began with HR, health and safety, and admin (lots of admin). Before long, however, they were into the job and feeling good. Thomas was soon on the road to visit clients with some of the team, whilst Reuben enjoyed welcoming others into the office.

Reuben: ‘I really enjoyed the first week. Working at Footprint Digital is my first full-time job out of university, so I had a lot to learn – mostly about how to get up before 9! We were working closely with our fellow relationship managers Hannah and Caroline, who were both so brilliant and gave us loads of support. Being dropped into the DIT event was scary to begin with, but I think it gave me a lot of confidence moving on – after all, we believe you can do anything!’

Thomas: ‘Still a little wet behind the ears, we were really thrown into the deep end early on. It was sink or swim territory, but Reuben and I thrive when it is us against the world. The presentation to the DIT was probably the hardest part, and the smile on Tom B’s face as he told us what we would be doing probably should have been a warning sign! In the end, explaining what SEO is to some really important companies on behalf of a government department was an amazing day. Starting a new job is always a little nerve-wracking, but the team made it easy. I was very happy.’

Overall, the first week went really well.

Week 2:

The second week was more of the same, as Reuben and Thomas continued to learn their roles, and the responsibilities that came along with them. On Friday, the new relationship managers gave presentations on the technical state of two client websites, giving them a chance to flex their analytical muscles. We were also visited by Liz Flavell, a business performance coach who gave a very interesting talk.

Reuben: ‘It might have been a challenging first week, but there was no time for a break and we were straight back into things in week 2. We started off shadowing Hannah and Caroline in a ‘day in the life of an RM’, which was really helpful for me to understand my role within the company. Clients’ SEO and PPC monthly reports were released the previous week, so a lot of the time was spent on calls, so I got to see my colleagues in action for the first time. The real challenge of the week came on Thursday, as I was involved in my first strategy session. These sessions are great for us and the client as they allow us to find out so much interesting information that we simply can’t get from a digital marketing audit. On Friday, I gave a presentation on one of our clients to showcase my technical SEO knowledge. This was really fun as it gave me the opportunity to put my new skills to the test. Another great week!’

Thomas: ‘The Think With Footprint session from Liz was magic, a thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking way to end what had been a fascinating week. I’d been floating on the crests of waves for most of the week, as a radio show I had been involved with got nominated for a national student radio award, which was such a rush! There was a lot to learn, and I could see the metaphorical daylight between where I am and where I want to be starting to shrink. I found the kaleidoscope of Relationship Manager training sessions this week to be so beneficial. Although we’d soon find the proof as to whether or not it was all sinking in, I felt good about it all.’

We were both starting to see the gains we were making.

Week 3:

For our third week, the team decided they wanted to find out more about us. They set a task to achieve this – making a presentation about ourselves, our strengths, and our weaknesses. We spent a lot of the week feeling our way through the technical tools and digital marketing systems, getting a bit more acquainted with them outside of the training sessions, and we were starting to get our feet under the table. Bruce from Mackman was our guest speaker on Friday, talking to us about mapping the customer journey.

Reuben: ‘Our third week was our calmest so far, but there was still a lot to do! In between sessions on CRO and a fascinating Think with Footprint, we were shadowing Hannah and Caroline in lots of meetings and calls. This was also the week of my first work trip to London, as I went with Dave to a Digital Marketing Audit debrief session, a really great experience to see the process before a client is handed over to the RMs. This week gave me a lot of respect for the work of our delivery team: Chris, Alex, and James, as they are not only snowed under with a huge amount of their own work, they are also having to answer loads of questions from new RMs!’

Thomas: ‘Week three was a great week, save for having to do presentations about ourselves (like most people – neither of us especially enjoy talking about stuff we’ve done and our achievements!) From the start, joining a new team, I was afraid of something just like this! Immediately afterwards we had the talk from Bruce, which I found really interesting and fun, and I’m not someone who is easy to please. Overall, at the end of week three, I felt that I had come a long way from square one and that I am starting to feel comfortable in my place. And to top it all, oh miracles! My New York Football Giants finally won a game! It just goes to show that, even when you are 0-6, everything’s not lost.’

The office was starting to feel a lot more familiar for the both of us.

Week 4:

Week four saw the Apprentice Challenge, our first as full team members, and we were back to familiar territory at the University of Essex. In the office, we were starting to get more involved with clients, carrying out analysis, and reviewing user testing videos. A shorter week meant a lot going on, so it was all hands on deck to make sure everything that needed to be done got finished. We were quickly learning that the average day at Footprint Digital was anything but average.

Reuben: ‘Beginning with an analysis of customer feedback videos and finishing with an Apprentice Challenge, week four was when I felt like I was coming into my own. I really enjoy the technical and research side of working with clients, I truly believe there is nothing more satisfying than being presented with a problem on a website, finding out why the problem is there, and fixing it. The trip to the university and making radio adverts on Friday was great fun; it was really enjoyable to see the team coming up with creative advertising ideas and voice acting! Thomas had somehow managed to keep his involvement with the challenge under wraps, so it was a big surprise when we were told what we were doing!’

Thomas: ‘By week four, I really felt like I was starting to fly on. The highlights of the week revolved around campus at the University of Essex, as Hannah, Alex, and I delivered a message about our master’s dissertations to the new intake at EBS, before I indulged my true love on Friday as part of the Apprentice Challenge. Getting the teams to each create a hopeful transmission in the form of radio adverts was so much fun, as I introduced them to the one I love: Rebel Radio. Now they’ve discovered how good I am keeping secrets from them means that I could soon be in trouble!’

Things are definitely on the up!

Week 5:

Both of us really started to feel like Relationship Managers in week five, as we were planning, building, and running strategy sessions for new clients that had recently joined us. Everything had been building towards this kind of activity, but we had a lot of encouragement from our amazing team. With more client interaction and a calendar that was starting to get a fair bit busier, we were beginning to get the idea of what we would be doing on a daily basis from here on in.

Reuben: ‘This past week has been unlucky for me, but I feel like it will help me in the long run. To start with I was meant to lead a strategy session on Monday but couldn’t attend in the end due to illness – a frustrating result as a lot of work had been put into developing the session. The next few day were a rush of trying to catch up the results of the strategy session and to work on developing the client’s unique next steps. Although at the time it was tough, after it was all finished I realised that it had given me a new appreciation for the role and that, despite the problems, I had been able to really help a client. This is the best result I could have hoped for and has given me the experience and confidence to push on.’

Thomas: ‘Our fifth week with the team coincided with the two year anniversary of the start of my trip to the Sahara desert, which was the adventure of a lifetime. This was a big week too, as I took the lead and ran my first strategy session. The gravity of this wasn’t lost on me, and the best bit of advice the team gave me was ‘don’t panic’. It was great advice, and it all went well. I’m starting to feel much more settled and able for the job. Of course, there are still some things I don’t understand in this fast-paced, ever changing digital world, but I think I’m far from being swallowed in the sea. Have I made a good decision in joining Footprint Digital? Yes. Things are going up and up!’

We’re finding it hard to believe that we’ve been here for five weeks already. The time has flown by, yet it is also starting to feel very familiar now. It’s amazing to see the growth we have both made since we started, but there’s a lot more to come. With a wonderful team around us to support us, things are looking really great. It’s an exciting time, and not just because the Christmas lights will be going up soon. We’re very happy to be here – and hopefully the team are pleased we are here too!

By Thomas Rowson & Reuben Marshall – Relationship Managers