Ben Yelland talks us through the learnings and reflections, including adapting to the remote working world, of his first year in industry since graduating from university.

Two days ago I celebrated my one year anniversary at White Marble Marketing. Not only was this my White Marble anniversary, but it was also a celebration of my first year in the industry, in marketing, and in full-time employment since I graduated from university. Therefore, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you – and any other graduates reading – my learnings and reflections from my first year in marketing, looking at the do’s, the don’ts, and how I adapted to a remote working world as a newbie to the industry.

Although it has only been a year since I received my diploma from Coventry University, it feels like an entire decade has gone by, which goes to show what an amazing and peculiar year it has been. Before I jump into my learnings and reflections, I think it is a good idea to set the scene and walk you through what has made my year so memorable.

My journey began on a warm summer day in August 2019 when I received a phone call from Benjie Elston congratulating me on securing an internship at White Marble Marketing. The internship seemed to pass in the blink of an eye as I settled into my new company, came up to speed with the different areas of the business and touched upon various consultancy projects. It was later, in March, that I became a permanent member of the team and began a strange part to my journey: remote working.

Being new to the industry and working life in general, I was initially apprehensive about working from home. However, everything seemed to come together quite nicely. Microsoft Teams allowed everyone to stay in touch, regular meetings on Zoom lifted team spirits and of course, eliminating the long commute to work gave me back hours of the day that I could now spend with family.

Six months on and we are now at the beginning of September; offices, restaurants, schools and pubs have all started opening back up, injecting a little ‘normality’ into our socially distanced society. So what have I learnt in the last year?

Being a proactive self-starter goes a long way

  • Starting at a new company or entering a new industry can be daunting, but instead of waiting around for tasks to fall into your lap, show your initiative and try to get involved in as many projects as possible. Even if you feel like you are out of your depth or lacking in industry knowledge, keep pushing yourself to be involved in more projects as it shows your determination to succeed and do well.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

  • We have all been in the situation, at one point in our lives, where we have been assigned a project and have absolutely no idea of how to approach it. Instead of pretending you know what you’re doing and potentially getting it wrong, ask questions or ask for help. If your manager doesn’t have time to help, then ask others in the business; for the most part, people do want to help and will feel encouraged by you specifically asking them for help.

Involve yourself in as many meetings as possible

  • This is a great way to immerse yourself in company culture, learn more about the industry and get good insights into how to interact with clients or approach projects. For me, this is something I found very beneficial when starting at White Marble, as it enabled me to understand all three areas of the business, and learn what other people’s skills and responsibilities are.

Don’t underestimate the impact of digital technology

  • Covid-19 has changed the way we talk to clients through the realisation that we can communicate with clients almost as effectively through digital channels. We have seen the same happening throughout the industry, as many companies have undergone complete digital transformations and shifted their traditional communication practices to digital means. It is evident that this industry is becoming more and more digital, so always try to further your digital marketing knowledge where you can.

All in all, it has been a fantastic first year here at White Marble. I have learnt so much in the space of a year as everyone has been very warm and welcoming, while I can also see – and appreciate – the time and resources  White Marble has invested in my career and progression.

All that aside, one last piece of advice before I finish would be not to overdo it at your first work Christmas party!  People have long memories and the retelling of stories gets ever more creative!