Laura Lightfoot joined us back in October 2018 as our first ever Marketing Apprentice, taken on to drive our brand growth forward. Here she reflects on her first year in the industry, chatting about her top moments from working in tech.
As I sit here and try to condense a whole year of learning, challenges, wow moments, oh no! moments, lots of alien language (Javabean? Apparently not a new brand of coffee!) and a whole load of fun, I can barely believe that this is just the beginning of my journey with Apadmi.
Let’s start back in October 2018 – I was a nervous yet excited 19-year-old, unsure whether I’d get the job I wanted, heading to the Juice Academy’s Bootcamp selection day.
Some unusual tasks (even more unusual competition) and a pitch from over 15 digital employers later, my brain was fried. But, my heart was set on three awesome companies – one of them being Apadmi, pitched to me by CSO Marcus Hadfield.
Little did I know I’d be starting work as their Marketing Apprentice in 4 days time.
I’m not going to go on about what we do, or the (awesome) clients we work with. Instead, I want to share what it’s been like working in the technology industry (including a few pre/misconceptions), as well as some of my favourite moments from my first year at one of the UK’s leading mobile development companies…
A Marketing Apprentice across two industries
Apadmi wasn’t what I signed up for when I put myself forward for the Juice Academy.
I didn’t really know much about technology at a commercial level, or app development (bar an extensive use of transport, shopping and fitness apps) so to be offered a role in a technology business was quite a shock.
Although it was an unusual prospect for a Marketing Apprentice, it turned out to be a real eye-opener. Not only have I had tonnes of experience in marketing, the chance to work on huge brand stories and creative campaigns (where my ideas really were heard), but working as part of a smaller business meant I have had the chance to do a lot more.
So far, my eyes have been opened to PR, digital design, copywriting, SEO, campaigns – and plenty more besides. Plus, I have a wealth of tech knowledge sat around me that I can tap into whenever I need it – particularly useful when you find yourself talking about the digital skills gap, or changes in the creative industry.
I realised that working as a Marketing Apprentice doesn’t just mean joining that one industry – it means you need to be a master of many. You can’t just launch campaigns and hope for the best, you need to think about your audience, the key messaging, the response and what you want to achieve – and then integrate that with our brand.
At Apadmi, there’s always so much going on, so many different clients, in so many different sectors. Our targets are always growing and we’re always thinking of ‘what’s next’, in-line with the ever-expanding digital industry.
As a young person, new to the field, I’ve tried to gain experience in as many areas as possible, purely because it’s the easiest way to expand my skill-set, confidence and abilities.
From joining MPA to present at their Native Creative event and running multiple events for Apadmi, to creating articles for Manchester initiatives and representing Apadmi at meet-ups, I’ve truly developed an all-round awareness of the industry – and off the back of it, developed an admiration and appreciation of an industry that I saw myself in.
We’re not just mad about mobile – we care about making things different (and better) for our users, creating groundbreaking experiences for people through digital.
A few year-one highlights
First week, double Dominoes…
Maybe it’s just an insight into the foodie that I am, but to be faced with the luxury of not one, but two(!) dominoes lunches in the space of my first week, I knew I was onto something good.
The night before the first epic lunch, some of team Apadmi had celebrated two wins at the 2018 MPA Awards for ‘Best Digital Campaign’ with Argos and ‘Digital Agency of the Year’, so a celebratory dominoes was in order – what better way to meet my new peers.
I’m sorry, who are you?!?
My first month soon passed and the Apadmi Halloween quiz night was here. Panic.
What on earth would you wear at such short notice? I’d heard various bits of office gossip relaying the standard of past Halloween get-me-ups and it was clear I had some tough competition.
Luckily, I managed to transform into the iconic Wednesday Addams overnight (thanks to a friends wig and black eyeliner for lipstick). Let’s just say, next Halloween, I won’t be spending the whole day wearing eyeliner for lipstick if I have 4 meetings and a conference call in my diary. I was not a happy Wednesday Adams…
Intro the C word…
Right Laura, let’s get cracking. It’s never too early for our Christmas campaign.
Erm… It’s October? Our 2018 Christmas campaign, designed to raise awareness of the unsung Christmas classics and do something positive for charity, featured a Spotify playlist of the unknown Christmas hits named Apadmi’s Alternative Christmas Jukebox.
We managed to raise £1,000 for Children’s Cancer Charity Kidscan and raise the profile of Apadmi across a range of networks. I soon began to realise that albeit stressful, the time of the year where Christmas came months early would soon be my favourite.
Apadmi Marketing Events Management ™
Contact us now for expertly-planned events in an area near you…
No. I’m joking. We’re an Apadmi-only luxury I’m afraid.
A large part of my year has been taken up with event management, which has been one of the best experiences of my journey so far. Those of you who follow Apadmi closely will know that this year we turned 10. And of course, celebrating a decade of business requires one hell of a party. Hello next project…
For the next couple of months, myself and my colleague Caroline were immersed in 10TH BIRTHDAY planning – for those of you reading that attended, I really hope you enjoyed it. Lots of sweat, but gladly no blood or tears, was put into it…
From flash mobs to customised cocktails, live poetry from Mike Garry to cupcakes, live singers and Clint Boon DJ’ing and a menu designed to avoid every allergen under the Sun – I think it’s fair to say, we pulled off one HELL of a party. This will always be one of my precious memories; I’m extremely proud of myself and Caroline for creating such a brand-focused celebration which reflected the fantastic 10 years Apadmi has had.
Further down the line, we also hosted our 2nd Apadmi Voice Tech Event in partnership with our friends from Amazon – a big stress if you’re not quite sure just how much wine & Shindigger is enough for a Thursday night, and how to reboot a crashing Macbook 10 minutes before kick off!
Of course, after that we went straight into our SailGP live screening – a first for the Apadmi team! Big thanks must go to everyone who joined and supported us at both of these events.
It’s not all fun and games…
Although I’ve presented a pretty golden view of the industry so far, it’s fair to say there have been moments where it’s been tough. Balancing my apprenticeship and the demands of a full-time job has been difficult at times, but it’s made me more hardworking and adaptable in the long-run.
Our digital industry is diverse, and there’s a level of expectation that digital teams have to meet in order to keep up with the demand. As a marketing apprentice, you’re going to hit brick walls and have moments where you doubt your skillset, but it’s about turning them into opportunities.
Looking back at when I started at Apadmi, I now think that my skills were pretty limited – but I didn’t let that put me off.
If I needed help, I asked for it, and I got it.
If I came across a new area, I took time out to do the reading and develop my understanding.
If I was ever unsure, I’d ask others for their opinions and use that to drive my growth forwards.
But no matter what industry you’re involved in, you’ve got to invest time in yourself to realise your weaknesses, work on them and fulfil your potential – although it’s particularly prevalent in the digital industry, where the game seems to change on a daily basis.
Now – let’s fast-forward!
There are plenty more stories I could tell. Let’s just say smoked mackerel for lunch is a big no-no in an open plan office.
Staying out ‘til 5am after 3 hours of karaoke at the Christmas party wasn’t one of my finest moments either – and I still don’t know what a Javabean is, or sure if I’ll recognise everyone at Halloween this year – but if Apadmi is involved, I’m willing to give it my best shot.
Over the past 12 months I’ve become a thinker and a problem-solver. I have a valid and valued opinion. I’ve helped people to grow and in return they’ve helped me learn.
I’ve done things I never thought I’d have the courage or brains to do, made life-long friends and connections who will help me when I’m in need. It’s been a massive learning curve, but I wouldn’t change it.
I’m proud to be Apadmi’s first Marketing Apprentice – and to be paving the way for young people in this industry.
Thanks Apadmi – we’ll speak again when I’m two…
We don’t just have a Marketing Apprentice – we’ve got two software apprentices starting with us in the new year, and there are plenty more career opportunities within Apadmi as we continue to grow. Don’t forget to check them out here.