A Q&A Session With Lauren Robinson, Marketing Executive at Graphite Digital

Marketing Executive at Graphite Digital, Lauren Robinson joined our IWD Q&A series.

We had a chance to talk with her about how her digital career has started, what her current job description is, what Future Talent Programme at Graphite Digital is for and more. Scroll down to enjoy reading the full Q&A:

1. Can you tell us about your personal journey and your current position at the agency?

I started my digital career by joining Graphite Digital as an Apprentice in 2018. I had always known I didn’t want to go on to university after college and had a passion for media and marketing, so an apprenticeship at a digital agency was a perfect fit. I absolutely loved having the opportunity to learn whilst working as I was able to implement the theory that I was learning in real-life scenarios at work. This style of working really helped me grow in my role and develop my understanding of marketing.

After graduating from my apprenticeship in 2019, I was offered a full-time job as a Marketing Executive at Graphite and took on a Certificate of Professional Digital Marketing CIM course alongside my role to help me grow further. Over the past year, I have been able to take ownership of many aspects of Graphite’s marketing and have been entrusted with running large projects, allowing me to push myself and continue to develop my capabilities.

My current role spans across the entire marketing toolbox. I am responsible for supporting the agency’s growth and helping to form and implement our marketing strategy. I manage everything from our website to content, PPC, SEO, social media, email, analytics and more. I really enjoy being able to get involved in every aspect of our marketing, encouraging consistency across all of our channels to create a seamless customer journey, from awareness right through to acquisition.

2. How diverse is your team? Do you believe agencies should take further actions to diversify their teams?

The Graphite team is continuously becoming more and more diverse. We are aware that the tech and digital industries have been predominantly male for some time and more needs to be done across the industry to increase diversity. The Graphite team has expanded at an incredible rate over the past couple of years and have an incredibly talented team made up of an even split of men and women. The agency always hires the absolute best person for the role, no matter their gender, ethnicity or cultural background. The next goal is to support more women in moving up to more senior roles in the company.

3. How can we support the next generation of female marketers entering the digital marketing industry?

I think that it’s so important for young women to identify with strong and professional female leaders within the digital marketing industry. More awareness needs to be made about the job roles on offer for digital and how women are achieving great things and thriving in their roles.

The Graphite team and I have worked for a number of years to engage with schools, colleges, universities and other youth institutions to talk about digital and our experiences, creating awareness and answering questions.

We have a whole Future Talent programme dedicated to inspiring young people and act as a helping hand for anyone wanting to make it in the digital industry. I know that for me, seeing more female role models in a digital career from a young age would have given my confidence a huge boost. We have already had great success stories from our programme, an example being a young woman who engaged with us who has since gone on to work in the technical team at American Express.

We also made a booklet for International Women’s Day this year, showcasing some incredibly inspiring stories about amazing women across the globe.

We hope to encourage and inspire more digital agencies to undertake similar initiatives.

4. Considering the industry dynamics, do you think it’s more challenging for women to become leaders in the digital marketing ecosystem? Why/why not?

I do think that it is more challenging for women to become leaders in the marketing industry, but I don’t think this is an issue that is isolated to just marketing, it is across industries. Whilst there has been great progress, I believe that there is still a way to go before opportunities are equal.

There are so many qualities that women have that make them extremely valuable assets to any marketing team. For example, a quality that has been traditionally identified as a weakness in women is empathy. However, I believe that bringing empathy and an understanding of people’s needs to a marketing role is essential in creating a seamless customer experience, engaging potential customers/clients and working to understand your own company’s objectives. I also believe it is an extremely important quality in a leader, in order for your team to respect you and perform their job to the best of their ability.

5. Who has been an inspiration to you in your life and why?

From the moment I started my professional career in Marketing, my Marketing Director at the time, Kerry Manley, has been a huge inspiration.

She gave me an incredible start to my career and has truly helped pave the road ahead for my future in marketing. She has taught me almost everything I know and has been a constant source of support. Kerry consistently helps me to grow my understanding and confidence in both a personal and professional sphere, even since not working together. She has been a brilliant mentor, an incredible role model and is a true friend for life! I believe that women like Kerry that help to mentor and support younger women starting out in digital are invaluable and are paving the way for women’s future in digital.

The famous quote ‘Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.’ can also be applied in the workplace, raising the next generation of leaders in the digital industry.

6. Why do you think your agency stands out from other digital agencies?

Graphite’s passion for helping people and wanting to make a difference in any way possible is second to none. As mentioned above, our Future Talent programme has made many young people aware of the opportunities on offer within the digital industry and helped many take their first step in their digital marketing careers. Our programme consists of work experience, school/college visits, workshops, Digital Days, mentoring and more!

We are also very passionate about fulfilling our Corporate Social Responsibility and donate a percentage of both our time and our profits to create awareness and support incredible causes. All of these activities are very close to our Managing Director Rob’s heart.

7. How does being a DAN member contribute to your agency’s success?

Since becoming a DAN member, Graphite’s referral traffic has increased by a considerable amount each month. We have also really benefited from being named in DAN’s blog post ‘Top Healthcare Agencies in the UK With Best Strategies’ as we were able to share this recognition on our social channels.

Bonus: What has been your favorite lockdown activity to do at home?

I have really got into cooking from scratch! Having moved out of home earlier this year, I now have my own kitchen to make a mess of without getting moaned at. I enjoy experimenting with new cuisines as well as the classics.