In Episode 4 of the THIS IS HOW podcast from Season 2, we spoke to Ellis who works as the Global Head of Digital Marketing for The Mill. You can listen to the episode here but for those who fancy a read, or might be hard of hearing, the full transcript is below.
Will You’re listening to THIS IS HOW a podcast about people forging digital careers, for people who are taking the time to figure things out. Whether you’ve just left school, college or Uni or you’re already in a job, but you’re not feeling it, we’ve made a podcast series full of tips, ideas and free advice from people who’ve been on similar journeys, changed things up and gone on to work in digital roles with some of the most interesting brands in the UK.
Zoe I’m Zoe Mallett, I’m a life coach and radio show host. My coaching focuses on helping people figure out where they are, where they want to be, and then we work out how we’re going to get them there. I also have a radio show on Foundation FM which allows listeners to message in with all their problems, and my guests and I offer our professional advice and tips live on a mix with some bangers.
Will I’m Will Stowe, proudly from Hackney, an ear and shoulder to those around me. I work for SNKRS as a co-host of SNKRS Live, we have regular live streams to talk all things sneaker culture. I also write poetry, make music and throw parties in my spare time.
Zoe OK, so welcome to THIS IS HOW, it’s so exciting to have you, we’re really excited about chatting to you today. We always kick off with a little game called ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ because we feel that it really helps us get to know our guest. So you’ve prepared two truths and a lie I believe?
Ellis I sure have, yeah.
Zoe Amazing! And me and Will are going to guess which one is the lie, so hit us!
Will I’m really good at guessing these by the way. So hope you brought your A-game!
Ellis OK, let’s see how you do on these three! So the first one that I have is that I’ve been on TV live on Richard and Judy right after Britney Spears was on, also live on TV. Second one is that I was once on a flight from San Francisco to L.A. that was transporting penguins and they let the penguins walk down the aisle of the aeroplane. And the third one is that I have gone climbing with an Olympic athlete who’s actually competing in this year’s Tokyo Olympics for Team GB and climbing.
Zoe I thought the penguin one that. I really don’t want that to be a lie. That’s so sick. I feel the even the first one is a fib or the last one, but only because I really want the penguin to be true.
Will How many penguins are there?
Ellis So they’re only about three, but there were more.
Will OK. You might be a really good liar. This is kind of scary.
Zoe How high was the climbing rock frame thing?
Ellis So it’s not actually that high. So it was bouldering, which is where you’re not strapped in. So it’s like free climbing, but indoors,
Will This is very believable.
Zoe I thought the penguin must be fake, right, because what they actually let penguins, do they bring animals on the same planes as humans?
Will Of course they do, they sit in first class. What you talking about?
Zoe OK, I’m going to go with the climbing frame rock boulder, as you can tell. I don’t know I don’t know that much about it.
Will Rock boulder
Zoe Rock boulder, rock boulder vibe, thing that you, yeah feel like that that’s a fib.
Will Well bouldering ones a lie for me as well.
Ellis Wow OK. So actually the one that is a fib from me is the one about the penguins I’m afraid it is not. Yeah. Although you will be happy because it is a true story. But I just was not on that plane. My flat mate Glenn her, it’s a it’s a loose link but I do believe it’s true. Auntie was on a plane and that happened. They let the penguins run down the aisle so. Yeah. So I saw that for my own. But yeah, the climbing one was when I worked at Red Bull, we were on a photo shoot with one of the Red Bull athletes who is now going to be competing in the Olympics. And I got to go climbing on the wall with her at the same time, which was really cool.
Zoe Can you tell us more about when you were on the show, after Richard and Judy, what was happening there?
Ellis Yeah, so that was. I mean, it was a long time ago, but
Zoe How long?
Ellis Oh, I would think I must have been about 10 or 11, but it was a proper, like performance piece. So one of the, so in, I don’t know if it’s the same where you guys grew up but in Glasgow anyway. Trick or treat at Halloween is a really big thing, like all the kids go out and they don’t just knock on the door and be like, give me the sweets. You have to perform. You have to do like tell a joke or do a dance or sing a song. You got to earn you’re sweet. Yeah. And so, yes, we’d be like practising for ages before hand super excited and, um and yeah me and two friends, my neighbors, we learnt we’re going to witches dressed up and we’d learnt the witches speech in Macbeth.
Will Oh wow. That’s quite deep. It’s very deep.
Ellis Yeah, I mean mad. But the one of our neighbours was a TV presenter and caught wind of this and knew that Richard and Judy were doing like a segment on trick or treating around Halloween time. So they like broadcast it live from one of the neighbours back garden’s of us performing it. And then Britney Spears, I think had just finished her interview with Richard and Judy and then they went to Glasgow. It’s quite funny. Yeah.
Zoe Do you still have, like, a tape of that somewhere?
Ellis I have, yeah. Like a VHS of it at home.
Will So you basically went viral before the Internet blew up basically.
Ellis Exactly, exactly.
Zoe Do you remember the performance? Can you give us a little snippet.
Ellis Do I remember? I think I would I would remember it if I mean, no, to be honest. I don’t know if I remember the lines, but I’m sure if I had another few reads over, it would come back to me.
Zoe OK, let’s get to it, because we’re not here to chat about our previous viral potential blow ups, blow outs. So can you tell us who you are and what your job title is?
Ellis For sure yes, I’m Ellis. My job title is Global Head of Digital Marketing at the Mill.
Zoe And what does digital marketing like, if you can explain that? What does what does that mean?
Ellis OK, so digital marketing, I mean, my role as head of digital marketing means that I oversee the digital output of the Mill the brand, the Mill online globally. So that’s everything from The Mills website. So designing the website, building the website and improving the website to Google ads. So to make sure that like if someone’s looking for something that does, they can find it really easily on Google, right through to email marketing, online events, editorial. So lots of writing is involved. We do interviews with people who work at the Mill or people who have worked with the Mill social media, of course, which we’ve already kind of touched upon. We have 14 social media channels at the Mill, so there’s a lot to to keep an eye on. And yeah
Zoe What are those 14?
Ellis Yeah, so there’s on Instagram, we actually have five different Instagram channels, so that’s quite a big bulk of them and that’s a really huge platform for us. And then the other channels are all range from like YouTube to Vimeo to Twitter to LinkedIn. We have a couple of different LinkedIn accounts. So yeah, they all add up and then all of a sudden there’s 14 to look after. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It is a lot. And it’s important that The Mills brand is held to the same standard across all of our channels, whether it’s like a story on the website or a post on social media. Yeah. So that’s kind of I think something I missed out is to do with digital marketing. A lot of time that me and my team spend on is a creation of reels and assets. So basically creative production of what we put out online, whether it’s like a video or a still or an Instagram story, the actual production of what goes out in the digital sphere.
Zoe And we’ve heard like the Mill. I’ve had The Mill a few times. Can you explain what The Mill is?
Ellis Yes. So the Mill is, The Mill’s been around for 30 years. We just had our 30th birthday. And it is it is a global creative production studio, which basically means that we partner with agencies, production companies and brands in order to create work that goes out on all different platforms and all different channels, whether that’s like a TV ad or a music video or an Instagram filter, The Mill can make it happen basically. And I think a good way to explain the sort of different areas of what The Mill does is visual effects is huge at The Mill. Our legacy is in visual effects. And more recently, what we are doing is instead of being the, the part in the pipeline that essentially touches up and adds these amazing creative visual effects to a film or not or a music video, we’re actually getting involved right at the beginning in the creative production side of things. So partnering with brands on the strategy of what do you want to get from this campaign? And The Mill can actually then make it happen right from ideation through to the final product and experiences as well. So I’ve mentioned our filters a couple of times, but we do much more than that. We do virtual events and it’s something that is only becoming more prevalent, especially given the fact the world’s been in lockdown and live events haven’t been able to take place. So I think we’re only going to see more of that.
Will So I have to ask, what is a visual effect?
Ellis So visual effects is often referred to as VFX. So people say that verbally or written down some VFX is basically visual effects. And what it is, is imagery or video that’s been manipulated out of the context of what it initially was. So you live action is when something is filmed there and then and what we could do to a live action film is add in anything we wanted. So computer generated elements, whether that is snow that wasn’t there at the time or whether it is making like a dragon or a flying pig or whatever it may be, all of that is is visual effect. So I’ve kind of mentioned things that are obvious, like the flying pig. But at the same time, there’s subtle visual effects like adding snow. So the viewer wouldn’t actually know that that wasn’t real.
Will Is it like scenes when there’s rain and stuff like that, but it’s not actually rain?
Ellis Yeah, well, yeah, I mean, I feel like rain sometimes on shoots they will actually just get like sprinklers. But we definitely can do rain as well anyway whether, we got it.
Zoe What are some like big projects that The Mills worked on that we would like maybe know about.
Ellis It’s a really good question, I think, because probably most people who don’t work in the industry wouldn’t have heard of The Mill. But you definitely will have heard of the brands that we’ve worked with and projects we’ve worked on. So like we do lots of work in the automotive space. So adverts for Audi, Mercedes, Fords, we do lots of work with like clothing brands and sports brands. So Nike, Adidas and in the tech space as well. Like for Google, for Facebook, Netflix. Yeah, really just big brands and really exciting creative
Will You guys work with everyone.
Ellis Yeah. We’ve worked with everyone should’ve been quicker just to say that.
Zoe Is that like the big campaign that’s maybe come out recently that we’d know about.
Ellis Ah so we did actually the obviously the Olympics is a hot topic right now. And on BBC, there’s a really cool ad we did for the launch of the Olympics. So that’s going on TVs at the moment. I’ve seen that a few times. Also, we do loads of work in the gaming space. So I don’t know if you guys are familiar or into any games in particular, but we do some really cool animation work for Riot games. And this is for, not for the game itself, but we do the game trailers. So they’re really cinematic. And it’s like the teaser that goes out on social and other platforms for the fans to get really hyped about this new product, this new game that’s coming out. So, yeah, we do lots of work in the gaming space as well.
Zoe And what like with your like job in particular, what role do you play in, like, those sorts of campaigns?
Ellis So the thing about my role is the finished product comes to my team and then we have to work out what to do on The Mills side, with how to take that out to the public and let people, whether that’s like other creatives, artists, potential clients, existing clients, to let them know what we’ve done, how we did it, and that if they are also working on a creative project, they can come to us and we’ll make it happen. So, yeah, it’s definitely, it’s down to the teams at The Mill globally, to create those projects. And then we speak to the teams while they are working on them. So if, say, there’s a huge job coming up with Facebook, our teams, the marketing team will be talking to the producers at The Mill who are leading those projects to be in the loop about this project and find out, OK, what’s the amazing hook about this is a world first, is it has it got, you know, new technology that we’re using, which we can talk about on the website, on social. So, yeah, we work in tandem with the teams that create the projects,
Zoe like obviously a part of the marketing team. Yeah. And then you’ve got the like the producers. What are the other kind of like key teams involved.
Ellis Yeah. So producers are absolutely key in making projects happen. Another element to speak about within The Mill is definitely directors and direction. So we have roster directors who lead a project from a creative point of view and they work really closely with the producers to make projects happen. And then I touched on it. But the way The Mill is split out is, those teams are focused on different capabilities. So we have teams who are focused on visual effects, which we’ve talked about, teams which are focused on experiential work. So that’s all like AR filters, VR, virtual events and everything. And then we have also a colour department, a global colour department for colour grading and colour grading is basically adjusting an image like a still or moving image to create a stylistic effect. So that could be making a film black and white, or it could be puling a really cool neon colours that are seen throughout the movie or the clip to really marry the whole, marry different shots together and really elevate the final product.
Zoe How did you get to where you are today? Like, what’s been your story? What’s been your journey?
Ellis Yeah, I mean, I have bounced around quite a lot, but definitely all with a very similar thread of communications and marketing threw out, but I yeah, I suppose it all started when I did a summer internship at a company in Glasgow called Wire media, and it was paid summer internship. It was it was fantastic. It was such a good sort of intro into communications and how a creative agency works. So Wire did PR and creative strategy and things for T in the park and for Virgin and other big brands. They are now, they’ve been I think partnered up with John Doe, which is a bigger communications firm. So Wire media is no more. But yeah, I had such a great experience with that that I, I ended up seeking out more work similar to it. So I landed a job as a freelance, which to be fair, at that time, like I was at Uni at the time, I worked from home and now we all do it like over the last year, year and a half or so, everyone’s working from home. But at that time I think I landed quite a sweet deal where I could work whenever I wanted, like negotiated my own hours and worked at home. So I worked for the small digital marketing agency doing copywriting, SEO editing. So search engine optimisation and also social media on various like small brands. But for me, it was definitely like that’s where I learnt a lot of what I do know. And I work there for a good a good three years while also doing some other jobs, which I can go into as well. So I knew that I really wanted to move to London and I was looking for something down here for one of the summers while I was at Uni and applied for so many of these, like paid internships or programmes and different opportunities. So many didn’t hear back like was becoming, was despairing. And then the last one I sent off, which often is the case, was the best one for me that I’d sent off in terms of the job. And that was a role in the Red Bull communications team. So I got that, which was so exciting, moved to London and the job was really about communications for Red Bull athletes and Red Bull events. And it was incredible, like I learnt so much. And there was definitely a digital thread through that as well, because we were creating video content with the athletes. I got to travel to Prague to film something with one of the athletes. Like it was just such an amazing experience.
Zoe You talk about like the marketing, thread, what did the thread kind of start and like you said, that you moved to London. Where were you at Uni? Where were you living?
Ellis So, yeah, I would say it started in Glasgow where I was living in Glasgow and studying at Uni in Glasgow and all started at Wire media. And then, yeah, I kind of made this jump to London with Red Bull. And after that I knew that I wanted to move down to London full time properly and like seek out other opportunities there. So, yeah, I definitely was able to get a lot of good experience up in Glasgow before moving down. And yeah, it’s it’s it doesn’t really matter if you’re not in London. You can still there’s amazing companies all over the UK and elsewhere like London obviously has great attraction about, well, all of the stuff that’s going on outside of work, you know, festivals and music and all of that stuff. But yeah, I would say just get your foot in the door wherever you can and then see where you want to move.
Zoe What was it that you studied at Uni?
Ellis So actually, well, I initially went to Uni to study psychology, and I was really lucky in that in Scotland, if you aren’t gelling with your course and you don’t like what you’re doing, you’re given the opportunity to leave and then come back at another time. And that is really good. And it’s just classed as a false start. Like you don’t need to pay the fees for that year that you that you didn’t like. I know. I know. It’s really good. So, I mean, it was still a hard decision to leave, but I decided to leave that course. It just wasn’t for me. And I left I worked full time and a call center for a year, which, you know, it was it was great to still go out into the world to work and have a nine to five job. That was, allowed me to go and have fun and think about what I wanted to do, and then I decided to go back to Uni with a new course, very different course, and do joint honours, French with Spanish. So I studied languages throughout Uni. And off the back of that, I was able to move abroad during my course for one year in Spain, where I moved to Alicante and studied at university there. So I was in class with all the Spanish students learning French, which was quite taxing some days. It’s a lot to take in. But I loved it. I absolutely loved it. And then the following year I went to, I moved to France. I moved to the south France. I got really lucky with the locations because it’s like you get pulled over basically where you go. So I got to go next a beach again and taught in a high school in France. So I was teaching English to. Yeah, to various different classes. I think I had like eight different classes that I would teach English to. Yeah. And so I appreciate that is not related to marketing, but I suppose languages is communication. And for me it was just the best, best decision ever. Absolutely. Like loved what I studied and I still bit rusty on my French, but I’m still pretty confident in Spanish. And yeah, I just, I couldn’t recommend studying languages enough if you’re if you have an interest in it.
Zoe Do you think going to Uni and not study marketing, held you back at all?
Ellis No, I really don’t think it did. I don’t think you need to study. I mean obviously there are certain like jobs and roles where you have to go to uni to study that, you know, whether it’s like dentistry or law or whatever, but definitely marketing. You don’t need to study. You just need to have like need to be really interested in it and seek out the right experience in your sort of work, outside of study. And yeah, I think as long as you have the right attitude and you’re keen to learn and listen to people that you’re working alongside and working for, you’ll absolutely like you’ll pick it up in no time. I do think you need to be, you need to have an interest in writing and communication still it’s just such a such a big part of the role.
Will Did you always think this or did you like over time come to this kind of realization?
Ellis Honest, I feel like you just go through life and you don’t actually have a plan. But looking back, you can see how it all sort of adds up and like marries in together, like I, I didn’t have this role that I meant no as my end goal. Back when I was working at Wire and in PR Creative Agency, I didn’t have this role in my head when I was doing the freelance copywriting and SEO stuff. So I suppose you just need to, like, find what you enjoy and keep doing it. And then in the end, it just all kind of clicks into place.
Zoe How do you think then, like young people can I best prepare for. What digital is going to kind of like turn into
Ellis It’s a good question, I think really important, and it’s not just to do with digital, but it’s all kind of linked to advertising and marketing, isn’t it? I think they need to be following the right accounts on social media. So whether that’s like the drum or creative campaigns or certain people that they admire in that space, like I would say, LinkedIn is probably a platform that people dismiss or maybe use to dismiss. But actually on LinkedIn, there’s loads of really valuable insight, information on jobs on um
Will I was one of those people. Once upon a time.
Ellis You were? Yeah, there you go. So you’re on board now. So, yeah, I think the best thing they can do really is follow the right accounts online and do research and do digging and sign up to like mailing lists of places like the drum where they’re going to get updates on. Here’s the next big thing in digital marketing. Here’s the next big thing in AR or this new project that’s come out. That’s a world first.
Zoe Have you got any other tips for what young people can be doing to get started?
Ellis So I think one tip would be find out if you know anyone that is already in a role that interest you. Like speak to people who are already working, maybe like friends or family or just if you if you know someone that is in that role or who knows someone who’s in the role and asked to meet them and just say, like, could we go for a coffee? Can I give you a ring and ask them about the job if you don’t know anyone in that position? And I appreciate there’ll be lots of people that don’t have those contacts or even lose contacts where you can be like, oh, I just want to pick your brain for 20 minutes. I think the best thing is to keep looking for brands that you like following them, keep a close eye on what’s going live on their jobs board. And instead of just, you know, applying through this sort of automated process, actually find out the names on LinkedIn of the hiring manager for that position. So it’ll normally say you can probably work it out. Like if it’s a digital marketing role, you’d go on LinkedIn, you’d find out who at that company there we go LinkedIn again. You’d find out who that company is the best person to speak to about the role and reach out to them directly. Like I know it might seem a bit intimidating or a bit daunting, but send them a message. Say you’d like to find out more. Maybe you’re not the right person for this exact position, but there could be a more junior position coming up the road. So I think, yeah, it’s you have to kind of shoot your show and just try and make those contacts. And yeah, it’s it’s exciting. And I think on the whole, people will want to help, like people will recognise that they’ve been in that position too, and they want to. Yeah. Support other people getting into the industry
Zoe You’ve been listening to THIS IS HOW created by Nominet and Livity. Your essential resource for finding a path into digital careers with the brands that you love. Head over to thisishow.uk to listen to more episodes and discover free training and advice to help you land your dream job. You can also give us a follow on Instagram our handle is thisishow.uk to keep up to date with regular tips and resources to help you on your career journey.
Will Are there any unconventional places for learning that you’ve picked up along the way to kind of develop your skills?
Ellis So I don’t know about unconventional but conventional Google do a really good set of online courses called the Google Digital Garage, and basically it’s all free. And I would really recommend that to anyone who is interested in, like learning about search engine optimisation or any of these elements of digital marketing. So you can go type in Google Digital Garage and complete all these courses. And then at the end of it, I think they give you like certificates or things that prove that you’ve done all of that. So that’s actually a great thing. You could work on you. You could do all these courses. And even if you don’t have work experience in digital marketing, you go to an interview or you reach out to that key contact we’re talking about and say, hey, I’ve done all of this. On top of that, I’ve had this idea for your brand, on top of that X, Y, Z. I’m really passionate and excited and before you know it, you’ve got quite a good case for getting your foot in the door.
Zoe How did you land your first paid internship or your first internship? Actually wasn’t it.
Ellis So it was just basically a case of sending in CV and a little bit about why you wanted to join that company and then an interview. And they were, to be honest it obviously helps when the interviewer is really nice and friendly. But it was felt like quite an informal chat where they were just sussing me out and seeing what I was like. But definitely my internship at Red Bull, that was a lot more of an intense process. So you had to, god what was it? I think there were maybe like five questions that you had to respond to with maybe like five hundred words, responses for each. So it was like, what would you do at Red Bull Air Race event in terms of marketing and getting the news out there? So it was like giving you possible tasks and asking you how you would approach them. And then also a cover letter and CV for that. And I spent loads of time on my cover letter for the Red Bull job, like really tailoring it to their brand and to their athletes and to the role that was advertised. And then the next stage was to come down to London for a face-to-face interview where I had to do a presentation, all about how I would launch a film with one of their BMX athletes. No sorry one of their mountain biking, I should remember it was years ago. With one of their mountain biking athletes. Like, what would you do to make this big news, this brand film that they were doing and present that and, yeah, and then after the presentation, they asked me questions about the presentation and then more questions about me and how I would react in certain situations and things.
Zoe Yeah. Pretty intense. So how did you get your job at The Mill?
Ellis So my job at the Mill, honestly it, it felt like fate because I had known about The Mill for a while. Actually I’d been following them on social and just knew that it was a really cool brand. It was actually like I knew at that point in my career that I wanted to specialise. And by that I mean up until that point I’d been doing lots of different marketing, you know, had lots different marketing focuses, whether it was like events or PR or website or social, that it was just really broad. So I knew that I wanted to, like, hone in on one skill. And, um, yeah, I typed in Google like The Mill vacancy, digital marketing, and this job came up. So I thought, OK, amazing, great, I’ll whip my CV up and apply for it. So I did. And then I also did that thing I mentioned about contacting the hiring manager and emailing them to say, hey, I’m really keen, here’s my CV. I’ve also applied on the website and they got back to me to say, like, CV looks good. We’re actually pretty far down the application process with some other candidates. I think there was three other people who’d already gone through like a longer process, they said, if possible, can you please do this, prepare this task for us, but we need it by tomorrow.
Zoe What was the task?
Ellis It was actually three tasks in one all related to marketing. What would you do in this situation? What have you done that you’re proud of? And I can’t even remember what last section was, but it was like it was quite a big presentation. So turned that around and then they asked to meet me, I think, honestly I think it was the same day all happened really quickly.
Will You must’ve really impressed them.
Ellis well there we go. Must have been, I work good under pressure, clearly. So yeah. And I think maybe a few days later they said I got an email to say, yeah, we would like you to take on the job. So it was it was a whirlwind, but it was like the right thing. And it was that job where I just saw it. And I knew that, it was it was good for me and I was good for it
Zoe Was that, was the job. Global head of digital marketing?
Ellis So the job actually was it wasn’t that title. It was global digital media manager. So basically a global digital marketing manager, I think can be a bit confusing the digital media, terminology. And then basically I was in that role, I think, for maybe about a year, and during that time I got involved in loads of other projects, like building a new website. Bringing the Mills paid marketing plan to life through Google ads and paid social. And so the scope of my job was actually so much bigger than what I had been hired to do. And so, now I work really closely with our marketing heads in each studio, so I don’t think I mentioned. But the Mill has offices in London, New York, L.A., Chicago, Berlin and Bangalore. And so I’m based in London. It’s up to me to make sure that I’m in contact with all of the marketing leads in each studio to bring all of these marketing plans life, from a digital point of view.
Will I’ve always been a Londoner. I only came out of London, when I went to Uni in Canterbury, in Kent. And one of the things that I realised is that people say hello to everyone, doesn’t even matter if you don’t know them or not, but I remember the first time someone did it to me I just stared at them, and it was very rude. I didn’t realise because London just teaches you, it’s just like. Yeah, it’s really strange. It’s just like, not even like I don’t know you but it’s just like. Huh?
Ellis That’s exactly it, yeah
Zoe What advice would you give somebody who was really just starting out in marketing or they just want to get into marketing. What’s the best bit of advice you could give somebody?
Ellis So I think it’s important, or It’s not important to do this is not it’s not a must. But I think it helps if you find one thing and you really specialise in it. So you become really good at that thing and known as the sort of go to person for that. And it just it means that you really cement your place in the team. It means that if other opportunities come up in that area, people are going to think of you. And it just it helps to obviously have a wide knowledge. But to have like maybe one or two things that, you know, you’ve got and people know you as the go-to person.
Will What does The Mill look for on a CV to, like, kind of really stand out?
Ellis It’s a very good question. I think it’s it varies from department to department, from team to team, like. So I can probably only really speak to the marketing team.
Will Lets say if me and Zoe was looking to join your team. What would we need to have in our CVs?
Ellis Honestly, and this is a good thing, there’s no rules. You do not need to have gone to study marketing at college or Uni or whatever, you don’t need to have 5yrs+ experience in X, Y, Z. It’s more about how you present what you’ve done and how you make what you’ve done relevant to what we’re looking for. I would say for someone to stand out, I would go above what the job application asks for, and by that I mean if we’ve said, and also this is just me this is not me talking from behalf of The Mill, but it’s just something I think could be useful. If they’re asking for a CV and cover letter, like pretty standard stuff, what you could also do is if the role was for digital marketing, you could do a bit of analysis on The Mill’s channels online and do like a one-pager of, here’s your channels, here’s what I think works really well but here’s what we could do to make it better. And you can apply that to any role. And I just think for me, if I saw that and someone was like, oh yeah, I’ve got my CV, cover letter, fine – but here’s what I would do and what I would bring to the team and what I would help with, I think that’s quite a good edge.
Zoe What sort of what sort of person in terms of like characteristics would suit a marketing role?
Ellis Well, I think someone who is very organised, you do have to be organised, although it’s not a very exciting word. I think it’s so important, like we have so many different digital platforms to think about. And then within the company, we have so many different teams to think about, about presenting those teams online, like the artists and the people. So we have to represent them. We have to represent the work. And we also have to talk about what the mail does, whether that special effects or augmented reality or, you know, there’s just a lot of different marks to hit in our communications. And it’s the same in most brands will always have key messaging that they want to land online. And so in order to make that happen and to make it fair and balanced and like have good cadence, we need to be really organised. And I have a huge Google doc spreadsheet where we map out what the year looks like, key calendar moments within the year and we fit our campaigns like our marketing campaigns and our comes to that. So I think, yeah, you really need to be organised and you need to be I think you need to be approachable and friendly as well, because the marketing team really need to embed themselves inside the company with the people who are making the work and who are designing and producing. It’s the same in a brand, for example, like a clothing brand. The marketing team need to have great, good contacts, strong contacts with other people in that clothing company, so that when they want to talk about a product or an event, they can get what they need from that person. And likewise, it works both ways. You know, you need to be really good communicator and be able to build strong relationships with people across all departments.
Zoe Do you think there was like a maybe like a skill or like a characteristic you maybe didn’t have at the beginning that you were able to work on and kind of grow?
Ellis Hmm. I think speaking up in meetings, I think that’s something that I’m sure most people like find hard, especially at the beginning, you know, just being in a meeting and not knowing what to say or being scared that you’re going to say the wrong thing or not thinking about what you actually wanted to say until you’ve left the room. And just, yeah, when there’s loads going in and lots of information to process, it can be really overwhelming. So definitely that’s something I’ve got better at in meetings. And that just comes from knowing what you’re talking about. Because when you feel nervous about when speak up, it’s because you’re doubting, oh I don’t know if I’m sure, but also it’s about knowing what you’re talking about and not being afraid if what you’re saying is wrong, because who cares if you speak up and it’s not right and someone will say, oh, actually, that’s not the case, fine we move on like it’s. Yeah. So I think it’s a mix of both isn’t like confidence about what you’re what you’re saying, but also confidence that if you get it wrong, it really doesn’t matter.
Will So just imagine you are going back in time and you know, we’re taking you back to that situation where you just left Scotland and you’re looking for a new job in London. We’re your potential employers we’re about to interview you. You’re going to talk through your CV. So from the very top, if you could start off with, you know, your career highlights.
Ellis Career highlights so landing the job of global digital media manager at The Mill was definitely like a massive highlight for me. I think for one, I had never worked in a global role before. It always been a UK based company. And to me it was really exciting. That now I was, first of all based in London and second of all, working with, working really closely with people in Chicago, L.A., places I’ve never been before. So that was definitely a really special highlight for me. It was it was a good feeling and definitely can’t emphasise enough how much I enjoyed the role and how much I have enjoyed it, so it was definitely the right thing for me.
Zoe It’s a pretty big highlight. What has been your best piece of work?
Ellis Best piece of work. So it would have to be one from earlier this year. So basically in March, when the UK anyway was still pretty much in lockdown. We hosted a global virtual event on YouTube, which was called The Future of Creative Technology, a week long event. We had, I think, 10 original talks. We released five new podcast episodes. We released a white paper. And so my role in that was leading the digital marketing campaign. And the main focus of that was to drive sign ups to the event to make sure that people actually came and attended this virtual event that we were putting on. Now, it was a free event, which I think is great. Like it’s, we wanted it to be accessible to anyone. So, yeah, for me, the big success was that we got three and a half thousand people signing up and the engagement rate for the talks was brilliant, like most talks were watched three quarters of the way through, which is amazing because on YouTube, as you know, people will click on and leave. So, yeah, it was, is like a massive highlight from my time at The Mill and I think the whole team were all really proud of it.
Will And what is your best failure?
Ellis So best failure would have to be, when I dropped out of Uni, because at that time I didn’t know what I was going to do. Like I didn’t have this plan to study languages. I didn’t have a plan to work in digital marketing. And I just yeah, it’s like a scary thought because you’re like, oh my God no, like what do I do next? I’ve got no clue. Like, I’m a failure. What you know, how am I going to come out of this? I’ve already dropped out sort of thing. So that was definitely it felt like a really bad thing at the time. But at the same time, I knew in my gut that it was the right thing for me to leave. Like I just, I knew it was the right thing to do. It worked out really well in the end for me. And I also wonder if I had stuck out at that course, would I have spent my summers, you know, trying to get my foot in the door with communications and marketing and you just don’t know. But I’m really glad how it all worked out.
Zoe And what would be your dream project?
Ellis Dream project? So this one the first thing that pops to mind is Spotify wrapped. I just think it’s such a clever digital campaign that they’ve done that really just makes people like me love the brand and it brings people and music and like your experience together and sort of marries it through the app. So, yeah, I think creating and leading a campaign like that where you’re taking like, insightful data and turning it into something really creative and fun and enjoyable. I think that is, yeah, that’s that would be really cool.
Will And then the final one is why should we hirer you?
Ellis So you should hire me because, I thrive in fast paced environments. I welcome new challenges and I’m known in my team for clear focused communication. While being able to drive multiple projects forward right through to the end, while also looking out for my team.
Will Heard it here first Ellis means business, She’s not a joke.
Zoe What do you think Will?
Will I think she’d get the job you know. I think she’s in, I think she’s in!
Zoe You’ve got the job!
Will It comes with a car as well.
Zoe And a house, a company house.
Ellis Stunning. Thank you.
Zoe Ellis it’s been so good talking to you. Thank you so much for your time. You’ve given us so much information, so many tips and advice. And I’m sure all of the listeners are going to take so much away from our chat. So thanks again.
Ellis Thank you. It’s been so great talking to you both.
Will We’re going to be looking out for some of your work as well.
Zoe I don’t think you’re allowed to tell us. Is there anything that’s coming up?
Ellis I can’t tell you. I’m afraid you’re going to have to follow @millchannel and you’re going to have to wait and see. But, yeah, we have some really exciting projects coming down the pipeline. So I would recommend that you give us a follow on Instagram and yeah, you can see what the Mill is up to.
Will You’ve been listening to THIS IS HOW created by Nominet and Livity. If you’ve enjoyed this conversation and you’re feeling inspired to develop your own digital skills, head over to thisishow.uk where you can find more information on all other helpful tips and advice shared on today’s podcast. As well as trying our new, THIS IS HOW quiz to uncover more about what you’re good at and what job roles could be a good match for you.
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