Case study

Managing director — Aaron Dicks

Using his degree Aaron co-founded Impression, a digital marketing agency in Nottingham

How did you get your job?

Well, I made this job for myself but I got into digital marketing by working for a marketing firm in Leeds while studying for my degree. At this point I'd already taught myself to code websites to a good degree in my spare time.

After reading hundreds of industry blogs I realised that I could put my technical expertise in web development to use, alongside the marketing I was doing day-to-day in a role in search engine optimisation.

After graduating and getting some experience in the marketing department of a renewable energy firm, I then contracted for a short while with an assortment of local businesses, co-founding Impression in November 2012. I took the jump into full time work with Impression early in 2014.

To get noticed follow industry blogs and create a small portfolio of hobby website, blogs or video showreels

How relevant is your degree to your job?

My degree is really relevant, and it's becoming more so as the company is growing.

I studied Management with marketing at the University of Leeds and it taught me a variety of related disciplines, from marketing a business, through to actually working within one as a manager.

Topics such as consumer behaviour, creating a company culture and managing finances have all proved as important as the marketing strategy that I was taught there.

What are your main work activities?

I split my time now between client-facing work, such as building websites and marketing campaigns, and running the business with my co-founder Tom. Between us we manage all aspects of the business, including finance, HR, recruitment and team management.

In terms of my client work, I spend a lot of time meeting clients old and new, layering our digital strategy knowledge over each company's objectives to really help them embrace digital marketing to make it work and get results.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My job is constantly evolving, which is really exciting. I still really enjoy doing the client work, but as we're growing I'm increasingly doing more company admin, which isn't too bad either.

I want to see Impression grow to be a very strong regional agency - perhaps beyond that too - so of course, personal ambition really aligns with that.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I actually really enjoy all aspects of what I do at Impression. It's not 'work' if you're enjoying it, right? However, by far the most rewarding part is seeing the results of a marketing campaign come to fruition.

While some paid campaigns are effectively instant - we can get some clients results within the day - many are six-to-eight month projects where results gradually emerge.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

As we're a high-growth company, a lot of pressure rests on our heads. We're increasingly going up against larger agencies in competitive pitches for work with larger brands. It's tough, but it's very rewarding when the effort pays off.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

The digital marketing job market is really growing exponentially, and will continue to do so for some time. I'd say you should really be looking to get paid work experience during summer holidays to show you've had at least a little previous exposure when you come to apply.

Other things you can do to get noticed include genuinely following industry blogs or news and maybe create a small portfolio of hobby websites, blogs or video showreels. Anything like that jumps out and shows you're serious.

Find out more

Learn about Impression.