Azeem is the Digital Marketing Manager at Staffordshire University. He has spent several years working in the marketing industry, with a blend of both agency and in-house experience.
He began in a paid search focused role before moving into a multi channel specialism a few years ago and is experienced in various aspects of online marketing activity, including PPC, Social Media, Display, Programmatic, App Marketing and SEO. He has previously spoken at conferences across Europe including MeasureFest, and BrightonSEO.
1. Let’s start with you! Can you give us a quick overview of what your company does and your roles and responsibilities there?
Sure, I’m the Digital Marketing Manager at Staffordshire University. We’re a university based in Staffordshire and we’ve also got a campus in London too. My role involves overseeing and analysing the digital marketing function across several paid and organic channels, and ultimately ensuring that prospective students are aware of the products and services we offer.
2. Now there’s not an industry in the world that hasn’t been impacted by Coronavirus in some way either positively or negatively – what have been the biggest changes and challenges at your business and day to day?
I would imagine most would say this – but the rapid adoption of working from home / remote working. Previously, this is something I would only usually do when I wanted to focus on a large project with zero distractions, but during lockdown I feel like I’ve really been able to focus on my productivity and output in a different way. I’ve enjoyed it.
3. It’s going to be a different world once we come out of this, do you have any Post Pandemic Predictions for the industry…or the world?
For the industry – I would say (and we’re starting to see this already) that the office certainly is not dead. I’ve seen some very bold predictions that say exactly that, and that the entire world will be working from home, with most office spaces being sold. My observation is that businesses that adopt a flexible model, where employees are able to spend time at both the office and also at home flexibly, will succeed.
4. We’re super excited to have you joining us as a speaker for our virtual event #MarTechFest Dial Up Series 2 – what can our audience expect from your session?
You should join my session if you want to get an understanding of how to make the industry more diverse, and some of the challenges that marketers of colour face.
I’ll be exploring why this happens, why conference line-ups haven’t really progressed, and more importantly – what marketers themselves anonymously think about this very important issue and their workplaces. You’ll leave this session with an understanding of the topic, and armed with some very important things that you can put into place immediately to start to really improve the diversity in this industry.
5. What bad marketing advice do you hear too often?
“I’ve seen that [competitor name] is employing [marketing tactic/method] – we should try it too.” – Whilst I agree that you should be mindful of your competitors, I think that you should not just follow them blindly. Ensure there’s a logic behind your own strategy, and more importantly – focus larger efforts on attempting to becoming the market leader. Nobody remembers who finishes second in a race. If you understand your customers and your product inside out, you’re in a prime position to have competitors notice you, instead of the other way around.
6. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about marketing technology?
That it can be a complete replacement for humans/will replace us. The successful companies are the ones that are able to leverage both to their advantage.
7. What advice would you give to your younger self to drive your career?
Don’t blindly accept that there is just one way to achieve or reach an end goal. Be curious, and inquisitive. Dig into data more and tell your own stories.
8. Work can prove stressful in a position like yours. How do you stay healthy and energised?
I try to visit the gym as frequently as I can. Physical health and wellbeing is just as important to me as performing at a high level professionally.
9. What’s the best thing you've done to develop yourself in the last year?
On top of courses, reading, and additional learning in my own time - I decided to start my own marketing podcast – “Azeem Digital Asks” – in which I speak to some of the top names in the marketing industry and learn about them, their backgrounds, and get top marketing tips. With not a lot of formal training or knowhow, I spent my free time in lockdown teaching myself how to edit audio, how to promote, market, and distribute it.
10. What’s on your watchlist of emerging marketing trends to keep an eye out for?
I would probably say GPT3 – text generation using algorithms that have been pre-trained by crawling the internet. Looking at some of the open source data and tests that people have been doing with it, it certainly looks promising and set to revolutionize content creation at scale. Watch this space.