INdustry: My route into marketing - Christina Miller
Our Senior Strategist, Christina Miller, is sharing how she got into the industry.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life until I was 26.
They say you’re meant to have that decision sewn up at 18 right? Well not me. Not clever enough to be a Dr and not talented enough to be an actor; I had no clue.
Even after leaving university, I still didn’t know. I’d had a great time, made some friends and learnt a lot but it still hadn’t put me any closer to a defined career path. Though after studying American Studies with Drama in Hull, and having ruled out acting, what career could I have moved straight into?
I didn’t want to go back home after uni and I didn’t want to stay in Hull, so I moved to Leeds instead and just started looking for a job, any job. I settled on an admin role; I’m very organised, so it was pretty easy and left plenty of time for going out after work like I was still at university. A few admin roles later I was well and truly bored. I was working at Northern Rail by then feeling totally frustrated with myself for not knowing what I wanted to do with my life and the way things had turned out.
Luckily for me I was a Personal Assistant at this point, and I had a new Commercial Director start who was about to reorganise her Marketing team. She had an opening for a Marketing Assistant and, knowing that I was about to quit, gave me a marketing project to do. She said it would really help her if I could take a look at it, and if I actually liked working on it then I could go for the role.
Trains certainly don’t get me excited, but the fresh challenge certainly did. I’m a big believer in being useful, and if you don’t know how to do something when someone asks but you like the sound of it, just say yes and work out how to do it afterwards. So I said yes and I didn’t look back from that point.
I got the exec role. I then thought I'd better get some marketing qualifications on the side so I could have at least some gravatas in meetings. After getting my certificate with The Chartered Institute of Marketing, I moved up to Marketing Manager. Then, after completing a Diploma with the IDM I moved on to an e-commerce focussed role.
From trains into retail into a global language company, I then made a big move agency side. Getting a Marketing Manager role within an agency structure was very unique, but allowed me to work on even more brands from sports to FMCG.
But for me it doesn’t matter what you choose (or are asked) to market; I fell for the exciting mix of where true creativity meets human understanding and then gets wrapped in a stunning (and highly organised!) strategy.
No marketing bulls*it, just looking at what real people might want or need and doing our best to be useful. Exactly what I tried to be all those years ago at Northern Rail.