I Want To Be… A Digital Marketing Manager!

Alice Judge-Talbot

Alice Judge-Talbot, as well as being super-sassy & cute with a drink in her hand, works for VICE magazine as their Digital Marketing Manager. She emailed me saying…

“I’d hope my story could be quite inspiring as I kind of screwed up at school, dropped out of Uni (getting in a lot of crap with my parents along the way…) but I came out smiling at the end of it!”

I love any girl who manages to triumph over the odds, & as her job sounded really interesting too, of course I had to interview her!

Tell us about what you do.
I work as VICE UK’s Digital Marketing Manager. My role basically boils down to getting as much traffic as possible to our two sites – Viceland and VBS TV. This is done in a number of ways – working with online and offline partners, managing Social Networking sites (such as Facebook and Myspace) and dealing with online PR. At the moment I’m developing a Facebook Application which is going to be very cool! It’s also my job to liaise with other Marketeers at VICE all over the world to make sure we’re all working in a similar way – at the moment I’m speaking to VICE USA quite frequently.

How long ago did you start on this path?
I guess you could say I’ve been on this path since I was ten! That was when my dad first bought a computer with good old 56k internet. Soon after I discovered the wonders of HTML, and taught myself using source codes pulled of the web and HTML books from the library. The first page I ever built was hosted on Geocities, then I migrated to Gurlpages and finally to a subdomain on a friend’s site – girlracer.org. After a couple of years of free pages I convinced my parents to let me spend my pocket money on a domain and I’ve never looked back – I’ve had my own websites ever since (currently at thealice.co.uk though this is only being used for testing). I would like to point out that I wasn’t a total loser when growing up – I lived in the rural British countryside and there was not a lot to do.

How long were you doing it before you made it into your career or primary form of income?
I first got paid to build a website when I was fifteen, and I continued to work for friends whilst I was in education. I finally made it my primary source of income about a year and a half ago, when I became Marketing and Sales Manager of a small Telecommunications company in Nottingham. Being a web-designer never crossed my mind – I’m not particularly gifted at design and there are plenty of people out there who can do it better than me. I’m lucky that I grew up as the internet was starting to boom as there are so many more jobs out there these days involving the internet – not just web design.

Did anything significant happen to get you to that point, or was it a series of small steps?
It’s definitely been a series of small steps. Mostly lots and lots of learning as I’m working and convincing my employers to let me have a go at bits and pieces as I’ve been going along. Luckily you don’t have to pay for a lot of Internet Marketing unless it works, so it’s never been a particular problem for my employers to let me have a go.

Do you think official qualifications are important for someone entering your industry?
Definitely not. I spent a year studying for a degree at University but dropped out because I wasn’t enjoying it. I think I’m in a much better position career-wise now than all my friends who studied hard at their particular professions for three or four years; I’m not in any debt and I’ve managed to climb quite high in my field.

The digital industry is so new and fast-moving – there are new ways to exploit it all the time. And one of the beauties of it is that you can learn it all online and on-the-job.

What do you think is the best thing about what you do?
Seriously, the fact I get to sit on the internet all day long makes me very happy. I also love working with other creative people and learning new things every day. I also love the portability of this job; I can do it anywhere I take my MacBook.

What’s the worst thing?
Umm, well there is a lot of socialising and networking with this job, and this often involves cocktails. Staring at a computer screen for 9 hours the morning after is not my idea of a good time.

Rate how happy you are with what you do out of 100 (100 being the best, 0 being devastatingly awful) on an average day.
It definitely ranges from 85-100, depending on the day I’m having. Yes, really.

Would you call yourself a workaholic, & if so, are you alright with that? Do you think that’s normal for your industry?
I’m not one of those people who works 9-5, goes home and completely forgets about work until the next morning. I love immersing myself in my work and will quite happily slog away at it until it’s done, even if that means I’m working at home or taking calls at the pub. If that means I’m a bit of a workaholic then that’s fine – I would rather do that than be bored in a job I wasn’t interested in. I think it is fairly normal in the industry – working with America means there’s only a slot of about four hours when we’re both at work so I will often email them during the evening.

What would your number one suggestion be for someone who wants to do what you do?
Hmm…. I’d say to learn as much as you can on your own time. Build your own site, market it, play with it. Even if you don’t have a lot of content to promote pick something you’re interested in and build the site around that. There is a niche for everything these days – cookery, cats, photography.

…How about number two?
Look at others around you who are successful. What are they doing right? Emulate them, learn from them.

What do you wish you had known when you first started out?
That money isn’t everything. I’m still trying to learn this!

Are there any major misconceptions about your job or industry?
That it’s full of geeks – it’s not!

What motivates you to keep doing what you’re doing?
Meeting so many new people all the time is really great… the highlight was a meeting at Urban Outfitters where I was waiting in a room of male models there for a model casting. Amazing!

Who do you look up to within your industry & why?
I really look up to the women who run websites on their own – Dooce, Style Bubble and Gala Darling to name a few!