Creative Data Academy: Rebecca Dunnâs Experience | DMA

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Creative Data Academy: Rebecca Dunnâs Experience


For the first time, the Creative Data Academy was hosted in Birmingham, one of the largest city economies in the UK! With over 500 applications this year, the IDM whittled it down to 30 students for the first Birmingham cohort of next-gen marketers, who are considering a career path in data.

The 3 days were packed with industry experts from McCann Central, Blueberry Wave, Boots (Walgreens Boots Alliance), Proctor + Stevenson, Jaguar Land Rover, Thames Water and Harvey Nash.

Day 1 kicked off with a practical challenge set by Walgreens Boots Alliance where we had to analyse a customer data set from the Boots baby category. Each team were tasked with presenting their findings from the data whilst providing marketing recommendations on how they can reach first time mothers.

We then set off to visit McCann Central to gain insight into agency life. We were lucky enough to hear from a number of people (recently graduated to senior level) at McCann including Sheldon Tarpey and Maxwell Petitjean who were kind enough to share their background and career journeys with us. More importantly, we got tonnes of great inside-advice on key tools and skills we could start exploring with to help prepare us for the data workforce. The day was finished off with a tour around McCann’s (as you can imagine) quirky yet creative office space, visiting and talking to a range of different departments that they have under their roof. Afterwards, we headed back to base for pizza, beer and wine – the perfect end to an incredible first day.

Steve Mattey from Blueberry Wave started off day 2 by giving us a play-by-play on how Martech is used in communications planning in addition to the role of data as an enabler in this demand-driven society. We were then given another creative challenge where we were fed information every 15-minutes, teaching us how our Marcomms strategy can change as we receive more data.

After a short lunch break we looked to the future, in particular, the role of strategy in the age of AI marketing from Kevin Mason, the Strategy Director of Proctor + Stevenson. This was followed by Clive Benford, the Head of the Corporate Analytics Programme at Jaguar Land Rover who walked us through the Internet of Things, AI, machine learning, as well as understanding of how data is used within the majority of the JLR organisation. Day 2 was finished off with a remarkable evening full of canapes, drinks and networking with some of the best in the data and marketing industry.

With GDPR being at the forefront of everyone’s minds it was only right that we spent the last day of the academy getting clued up on privacy and ethics with regards to data, led by Gilbert Hill. We then heard from Michael Tyrrell and Chris Seel from Harvey Nash who helped us all pin-point exactly how we can go about securing a job in data and marketing, covering everything from key skills, CV’s, LinkedIn profiles whilst dishing out tonnes of tips to help us stand out from a competitive graduate market.

Key takeaways from the 3 Days:

1. Ask the right questions

Data provides you with an abundance of information so it’s important to know what questions to ask and to ask the right questions to turn numbers into tangible insights.

2. Be inquisitive

As well as enthusiastic and adaptable. Data skills can be taught but these things can’t. The importance of soft, transferable skills was the one thing that was consistently mentioned across all of the experts.

3. There’s a place in data for everyone

You don’t need to have studied maths, statistics or computer science to work in data. Data needs ‘left-brainers’ and strategic thinkers to interpret the data and tell the story. There are plenty of paths to be explored and roles that may not even exist yet.

4. Never stop learning

It’s so important to self-teach, enrich your understanding and your skillsets. There’s a wealth of information and online resources available to help you get to where you want to go.

It was so refreshing to see a real diverse group of students studying everything from history to cyber psychology expressing an interest in marketing and data. This reflected the backgrounds of some of our speakers who shared their insights on how they ‘fell’ into data having studied everything from Geography to Linguistics, reassuring all of us that it’s possible to side-step into new roles as they emerge.

You can find Rebecca on LinkedIn here:

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