Cat and I have been Digital Marketing apprentices at Cameo Digital now for 10 whole months. In that time, I’ve learned a lot, written a lot, and I feel like a much better rounded marketer.
I’m able now to casually whizz around Google Analytics, creating audience segments and custom reports like it was child’s play, where 6 months ago I was staring at the screen in terrified bewilderment. I can now build and optimise a PPC campaign. I can create an SEO strategy my Mam would be proud to stick on the fridge.
Of course, there’s still a lot to learn, and I’m by no means a digital marketing expert, but I feel well prepared for the future and the progress I’ve made over the past 10 months has been in no small part due to the excellent guidance, shadowing opportunities, and the odd challenge thrown my way by the Cameo team.
However, the reason that I’ve learned so much and feel relatively confident with more aspects of digital marketing is not simply that I’ve been given facts, but it’s the approach to training that the rest of the team at Cameo have adopted that has been instrumental.
I’ve pulled together a few of the things that I think make a good training experience.
At Cameo, the set-up has always been to work from home (even before the pandemic… we were trailblazers!) and to work flexibly. As a learner, what this means is that I’m always somewhere I feel comfortable. I’m not being shipped off to a strange classroom or lecture hall, but I’m where the things I’m being taught will be put into practice, which makes a huge difference. The context of being in my own workplace helps me to join the dots more clearly between theoretical concepts and the actual practical work I do every day.
There’s always a teacher at school who’s classes we remember the most. For me, it was my English teacher, because he made sure our classes were fun, were well explained, and put the things we were learning into the context of everyday situations.
In some of the more technical areas of digital marketing, there is a lot of stuff you just need to know – for a beginner there’s a lot of unfamiliar language and complex processes. It’s far more effective to make learning those things enjoyable and engaging than, say, shutting someone in a room to cram it all into their brains.
On the job experience
For me, learning things in theory never really works. It’s only when I’m obliged to put what I’ve been told into practice that it actually sticks for me – I feel like I gain a new understanding of it. It’s a bit like learning to drive… I can pass my theory test, learn what every pedal and control does, but I’ll never really be able to drive until I’ve tootled around the streets by my house for a few weeks with a kind and patient instructor.
One of the best parts of this apprenticeship has been putting what I’ve learned into practice and being allowed (under strict supervision) to work on real life clients and campaigns. I’ve learned far more about PPC by being involved in building a campaign than I did learning about it in theory.
Everyone learns differently, and it’s important that it’s taken into account. Additionally, everyone’s experience, confidence, and existing knowledge varies, so it’s even better when that’s taken into account, too. We’re all busy people, and I don’t want to be spending my Monday morning being taught something I already know.
These past 10 months have been really great for picking apart what I know already and filling in those gaps in knowledge, experience, and confidence in a way that works best for me.
Now, I like a bit of positive reinforcement as much as the next person, but sometimes that can make me complacent. If I do a job and I’m told it’s brilliant, the motivation to improve it isn’t there – it’s already brilliant so why spend any more time on it? It’s when I’m given honest but constructive feedback that I go the extra mile, reflect on my performance, and strive to do better.
At Cameo, I think they hit the right balance between telling me I’m doing well, and pulling me up on silly mistakes, correcting uninformed assumptions, and instilling an attitude of openness and self-critique.
I’m a very lucky person to be receiving training from Cameo’s experts, not only because of the depth of knowledge and wealth of experience they have, but because they understand that good training is more than learning the facts, and that approach is vital.