Lauren Kirk

About me

I'm the Marketing Manager for Wallace Whittle, an environmental building services consultancy. We design the mechanical, electrical, public health and sustainable aspects of buildings - we make them work for people and the environment! I have a team of 3, working on brand awareness, identity, messaging, social media, website, graphic design and so much more. I left school in 2006 and studied English at the University of Stirling, I graduated in 2010 and worked in PR for Capital FM, then as Marketing & Events for Stirling Students Union for 9 years running Freshers Week, all marketing, social media, website and more. My journey here included various work experience placements and many years of hospitality work! Don't knock it for getting good experience working with people!

Left school

June 2006

Senior Phase

I absolutely cannot remember my standard grades! But Highers (SCQF level 6) were English, Geography, History, Spanish and Computing and I also studied Advanced Higher (SCQF level 7) French and History.

Choosing my Destination

I always knew I wanted to do something with writing or being creative but I couldn't draw to save myself. I was at school when social media started to grow so I was obsessed with coding my Myspace profile, writing blogs, creating my online 'brand', taking photos, and making little videos - it was a fun new world. I thought the only way to make a living writing was to be a journalist so that's what I applied to do at University originally, after speaking with the school's guidance teacher. However this was around the time of the phone-hacking scandal and I decided I didn't like the vibe of journalism, it seemed to just poke around people's trauma. So instead I pivoted to English, and spoke to the guidance team about career paths. They suggested teacher, publishing and copywriting, however it was at University that I found my niche in events and social media which led me to marketing.

Extra Curricular & Work Experience

During school I volunteered to help with various events, shows, and yearbook and I did some work experience at the Stirling Observer, which was fantastic! They had me out gathering stories, writing articles, and even attending court hearings to gather info. I also created a lot of my own experience, writing blogs, creating websites, designing logos - generally creating a portfolio of my work. At University I joined the radio station as an event manager - giving me incredible experience in producing shows, running awards nights and dinners, 24-hour broadcasts, and loads more. Even now, in my current role, I'm still learning. Google has a new analytics system, so I am having to re-learn that! At Wallace Whittle, we also have a continuous learning Academy where we do courses on presentation skills, business development, etc and this is across all levels of our company.  

Skills I've developed

The biggest skill I feel is needed in marketing is the ability to adapt to fast-changing projects and work with many many different types of people. The data analysis, design skills, etc can all be learned through courses, but being able to adjust your engagement style and communication from person to person is invaluable. One day you could be presenting to a room full of students, another day you are interviewing a senior director for an article about their 40 years of service - both of those things take a completely different approach and style. Years of customer service in hospitality gave me the confidence to speak to absolutely anyone. Being a manager means you've got to balance 400 things at once, as well as looking after your staff and their workloads - I've honed my planning skills over the years using different software and methods. I've also learned that the key to good marketing is imagining you're having a relaxed conversation with someone about something you are incredibly passionate about, rather than a sales pitch. 

My Advice

You don't think you need do to maths for your future jobs, and you were right, it's of no use to you in this industry, excel does it for you - take a fun subject instead. And stop putting black eyeliner in your waterline it makes your eyes look small. 

There's no set path, especially in marketing and social media. I started with an English degree and a love for running events and writing Tumblr posts or MySpace coding (you won't know what either of those things are...) Get as much experience as you can, but make sure you're not being taken for a ride doing unpaid work. Paid internships exist, I currently have a 16 year old in my team with me for a month, fully paid, learning about all facets of marketing. And if you are struggling to find experience, make it yourself. Especially for social media and marketing, you can learn for free online, make a portfolio, run your own personal brand. I'd be more impressed by that in an interview than 'I did two weeks at xyz place and made the teas the whole time'.