GROW is home to a diverse community of tech, digital and creative start-ups encompassing a broad range of talents, skills and services – and although women are underrepresented in the tech and digital industries (also coworking spaces!) we’re pleased to have our fair share.
Charlotte Cummings is Marketing Manager for Donate The Change, an innovative ‘tech for good’ start-up helping charities overcome the challenges of the digital era.
With a breadth of marketing experience from experiential and immersive events to planning digital and multimedia communications strategies, we caught up with Charlotte to find out what it is like to work in a creative, digital role in a forward thinking, fintech company.
Hi Charlotte, what made you choose marketing as a career?
I’ve always been a creative person and been interested in the ‘power of the brand’, so when I was looking for courses to study at university the idea of business and marketing appealed to me. It turned out to be a good choice as I really enjoyed the course and decided to start my career in marketing after graduating.
Can you tell us about your career path and what led you to work for fintech start-up, Donate The Change?
My background is in events promotion and experiential marketing, which is focused on brand awareness and immersive brand experience. I was looking out for new opportunities in marketing when I came across Donate The Change through my personal network. They were looking for someone to support their marketing activities so the role suited me perfectly. I could also really identify with the company’s mission and culture.
What do you like about working for an innovative fintech company?
It’s great to work for a company that has such a positive focus at the centre, we are passionately working to make society better through the use of financial technology and it is great to be part of something like that. There is a fantastic team at Donate The Change, which makes coming to work really enjoyable. We like to have a laugh but we are also really determined to make a difference and get our solution established in the market.
It can be exciting to work for a start-up because things can change quite quickly, so you need to be proactive and also get stuck in to different areas of the business to make sure things get done. This has been really good for me to get exposure to all the different job functions within a business which you might not always get insight into if you are working in a bigger, more established business where things are not so fluid.
Marketing strategy is becoming increasingly focused on digital platforms and multimedia channels – what channels does Donate The Change use to reach its audience?
Definitely - our society is becoming more and more digital and the way we ingest content is increasingly online with the average person spending more than 24 hours in a week online. Therefore it is crucial to include digital marketing in our company’s strategy. We use a range of platforms and channels and think that social media and digital marketing through email, paid ads, content and blogs will be key channels for us. Working alongside charities, we hope that they will use digital platforms and multimedia channels to share their involvement with us to their supporters.
There are many aspects to Digital Marketing, from content creation to SEO/SEM and data analysis; there’s something for everyone, creatives, techies and business ops! Given the digital skills gap, do you think digital marketing is a career which lends itself to returners or those looking to change career and upskill?
I think there are lots of opportunities within digital marketing and there are always chances to develop new skills. It is quite accessible now for people to dip their toe into digital marketing because technology is much more user friendly. Anyone can create their own website and upload content; use marketing automation and email marketing platforms for free to create their own campaigns; or create digital ads (Facebook, Google, Twitter and more) and even get timely guidance on how to improve results. With the right attitude and desire to learn I think that digital marketing is a career that lends itself to returners or those looking for a new direction.
There’s a misconception that most roles in the tech industry require specialist technical knowledge, contributing to the digital gender gap - yet there are opportunities for creative and other non-technical skills or services, just as in any other industry. How do you find being in a more creative role in a technology driven company?
I am a smartphone user and I am computer literate but I am by no means a technical specialist. But actually whenever making content for people it is important that it is easily understandable and doesn’t include lots of jargon. Therefore even if the business is built on very technical capabilities it is the marketers job to make it easily digestible and accessible. Depending on your audience you may need to learn about some of the jargon, but there should always be support in your organisation to give you some background if you require it.
With Donate The Change the parts the end user would want to know are very different from the technical application of it. ‘API call’ or ‘NFC” doesn’t mean a lot to everyday people but so long as people can understand the product, trust that it is secure, and it functions as expected they’ll be happy so we focus on communicating that to our audience rather than technical application.
I can understand why women in particular may be put off applying for roles in the technical industry as it might not always seem as glamorous, however I think it can be just as rewarding and provides the opportunity to stand out as a woman in marketing. The marketing skills are transferable across industries, so I don’t think people should be hesitant to jump into a tech business that they perhaps do not have specialist knowledge in.
What would be your advice to someone considering a career in digital marketing?
Don’t be afraid to try digital marketing. There are loads of applications out there for people to give things a go and many resources to teach you all about digital marketing. But for the most part, marketing is all about trial and error, with any campaigns you run you can tweak and change to optimise your results.
When you’re not marketing ‘technology for good’, what do you enjoy doing :-)?
Outside of work I like to socialise with my friends, watch theatre and films, and to keep fit I like to play lacrosse. There is a part of me that is also a thrill seeker and I have done off-piste skiing, canyoning, a bungy jump and a tandem skydive.
After university I did a bit of travelling and I would really like the opportunity to do more in the future. I especially enjoyed Japan and wouldn’t mind going back for the Olympic Games in 2020!
How would you spend your perfect day :-)?
My perfect day is on a fresh powdered snowy mountain with blue skies and my skis on. I would enjoy a mulled wine in a mountain bar, and then enjoy a meal with friends in the evening.
Thanks Charlotte for sharing your insights about working in a creative, digital role in financial technology. We hope others will be inspired to explore new roles and opportunities in the tech industry they may not have considered possible – there are thrills to be had!