Marketing Design

What do you do for a living?
I was an account director then commercial director for a graphic design and marketing agency based in Edinburgh. The agency designed and produced corporate identities, exhibition stands, brochures, point of sale items, university prospectuses, websites and lots of other marketing materials.
How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?
I became interested in working in a marketing agency during my time studying at Napier University - I did a general commerce degree specialising in marketing and French. During that time a large advertising agency came in to talk to us and we had to work on a pretend project with them. This sparked my interest.
What was your journey to reach the role you are in today? 
I chose to do a general business degree that allowed me to also keep my interest in languages. The majority of my Highers are language based.
At Napier after my degree I chose to do the Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma (this was not as part of course it was an extra case study that I sat in my own time).
However on leaving Uni I started off in more of an IT based job and then was a recruitment consultant for 3 years - before starting at a sales promotion agency in business development. So it took me a number of years to eventually get to where I wanted to be!
Talk me through a day in your life... what sorts of things would it involve?
I would take briefs from a client - perhaps for their new marketing campaign, an advert or brochure (face to face or over the phone). I would proof read the visuals provided by the designers in the studio. I would brief design and web team on new projects. Present project ideas to clients and take their feedback. Invoice clients for work carried out to date. Work on mailing ideas to generate new business for the agency. Work with more junior members of the team on their accounts and projects, providing input and advice. Attend brainstorms for new projects where the account manager tells the team the brief and we all think of ideas (sometimes a bit wild and wacky). A real mix of administration, client facing and team work.
Was it your planned career when you were 18?
I wasn't sure but I did think I would work with my languages. As part of the Napier degree I worked in France for 6 months in a bank as a stagiaire (placement student). It was after this that I realised that although I enjoyed it, I was happier working in the UK in the short term.
What did your mum and dad want you to do?
Teacher or something secretarial
What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
It would probably have helped me to have taken more business focused subjects at school - such as accounting or economics in my later years. Not essential but would have given me a head start for my business degree.
Keep your options open - not everyone who ends up in marketing has a specific marketing degree - a general business degree gives you a good basis and you may change your mind once you are at Uni.
One point to note - when I worked at KLP (a large sales promotion agency) lots of the account team were not graduates - they had just worked their way up - some of them from being sales promotion boys and girls at events.
What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?
You could work for any organisation in their inhouse marketing department. Everyone requires marketing from a small business to large banks (who employ hundreds of marketing personnel).
I could have also chosen to specialise in an area of marketing - such as sales promotion, direct marketing, PR, digital, events.