We had a Q&A session with Chloe Fair, Senior SEO Strategist at Impression Digital.
A career journey that started with a travel startup, Chloe Fair, Senior SEO Strategist at Impression Digital inspires us with her story. Let’s discover more from the Q&A below:
1. Can you tell us about your personal journey and your current position at the agency?
I started my career during a year abroad working for a large travel company in Munich, Germany, which was a start-up at a time. Their SEO manager took me under their wing and I had the opportunity to learn about SEO, working in a fast-paced environment, and the importance of communicating and asking questions in the industry.
I finished my German and Philosophy degree and continued to work for the travel company on a part-time basis to launch their .co.uk site. Following my degree, I was contacted by Aaron, MD of Impression, on LinkedIn and the rest is history!
I will have been at Impression for five years in August. I’ve been a part of its incredible story, seeing the agency more than triple in headcount since joining. In this time I have also grown a lot too, I now line manage a team of SEO executives/strategists and lead on an account portfolio of global clients. Over the past two years, I have been working on growing the international SEO offering at Impression, working closely with Impression’s Head of SEO, to lead on this and deliver multilingual SEO strategies to businesses.
2. How diverse is your team? Do you believe agencies should take further actions to diversify their teams?
Impression has been taking a lot of steps to ensure it’s attracting and retaining a diverse range of digital marketers to grow our team. This has included ongoing unconscious bias training to line managers and recruitment managers as well as rolling out a new recruitment process including anonymised recruiting. We have worked with a diversity and inclusion consultancy over the past year to improve internal processes and provide training to managers and team members as required.
From a diversity point of view, there is a long way for the industry to go, but I have seen really positive progress in the seven years that I’ve worked in digital marketing. When I first attended BrightonSEO back in 2017, the line up was lacking diversity, to say the least, but they are much more diverse now, showing how females are feeling more empowered in the industry and being given more opportunities. There are some amazing communities and thought-leaders that have been key players in the shift in SEO, in particular, over the past few years.
Most notably Areej AbuAli has created an amazing community in the Women in Tech SEO community that consists of slack channels, an annual conference, multiple training and talking opportunities throughout the year, and a portfolio of women in the industry. This community has helped me personally where I find the slack channels an amazing safe space and have really enjoyed the events that have been held and seeing a diverse range of SEOs speaking!
3. Do you think there is a gender gap in the digital marketing industry? If yes, what are the main reasons for that?
There is definitely still a gender gap in the digital marketing industry and it’s my opinion that this is still rooted in gender stereotypes for men and women to fulfil certain roles. This arguably starts in schools and much earlier than the business world, but there are actions that employers can take to support equal opportunities and continue to challenge gender stereotypes.
Impression has worked with local schools and colleges over the years, speaking about working in an agency, in digital marketing and in technology. We believe that even if this makes just one girl recognise that a career in digital is an option for them, then this is a really positive step in the right direction.
4. How can we support the next generation of female marketers entering the digital marketing industry?
As the industry is historically more male-dominated, as with a lot of tech industries, it is important that businesses and agencies are mindful of this and are taking action to ensure that women’s voices are being heard in their business and ultimately in the industry.
It also starts with schools and there is so much more that businesses can be doing to support schools. Impression has worked with local Nottingham schools and colleges over the years and we will continue to do more work in the community to educate and inform the younger generations. Providing work experience, speaking at schools and even providing sponsorship and donations to schools to help with schemes is critical to providing equal opportunities to all children and to improve diversity in digital marketing.
5. 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 hate giving the ‘it depends’ answer, but it definitely does depend on whether things are more challenging for women to become leaders than men. This is dependent on a lot of factors but mostly I have found that my career path and ability to become a leader at Impression has been aided massively by the support of my line manager, head of the department and director at Impression who are all men.
When I joined Impression, the agency had a lot more male employees than females and I struggled to find many female role models on social media in the industry. I definitely felt as though I was in the minority. That being said, I quickly found that being given opportunities at Impression, having my voice heard and being respected in equal measure by the rest of the team has given me confidence over the years. I now speak at conferences and events and have worked closely with junior women at Impression to help them grow in confidence and this is something I take a lot of pride in.
That being said, there are still challenges, especially from what I see from working across multiple industries and seeing different team structures within businesses. There is still a high percentage of women in ‘marketing manager’ positions and men in Senior, CEO or Head of positions. Of course, this isn’t an overnight change and providing that we are talking about challenges and issues in specific sectors, I am confident we will continue to see more change and more diversity in senior management and leadership teams.
6. Who has been an inspiration to you in your life and why?
My parents have been a huge inspiration in my life. They are both so supportive and their encouragement is always there to help me achieve whatever I set my sights on. My dad is the kindest man I’ve ever met. Professionally, I’ve experienced times where I have faced less than ‘kind’ treatment and I have struggled to muster the confidence to speak out. Treating people kindly is something that he has always taught me. Keeping that in mind all of the time has helped me become a confident manager and leader.
7. Why do you think your agency stands out from other digital agencies?
The collaborative way that we work at Impression definitely makes us stand out as an agency, and is one of the key reasons why I have been at the agency for over four years.
Not only that, but Impression is incredibly encouraging and receptive to individuals building up their own profiles and talking about matters that are close to their heart. Impression has invested in a lot of confidence and resilience training over the past two years and it’s amazing to see women at Impression like Saffron Shergill, a digital PR executive, have the confidence to speak around topics they care for and to be given a platform for this.
8. How does being a DAN member contribute to your agency’s success?
The DAN gives us the ability to showcase our work, share our news and opinions and even recruit new talent proving it to be very valuable to us as an agency. We’re pleased to be listed among many other world leaders in the digital marketing industry.
Bonus: What has been your favorite lockdown activity to do at home?
I definitely made a few banana loaves and rearranged all my cupboards five times in lockdown 1.0 but I have really got into jigsaw puzzles in this lockdown and it’s a great way to get off screens and challenge your brain!