Case Study: Digital and Marketing Director

Paul became interested in marketing while employed as Sales Manager for a commercial print company, he soon capitalised on this interest, seeing the importance of emerging trends of Digital Marketing.

Paul now has 10+ years experience in marketing, predominantly in the travel industry and is Currently Digital and Marketing Director at Travel PR, a small specialist agency.

View Paul Bondsfield's profile on LinkedIn


What attracted you to a career in Digital Marketing?

I would be lying if I said it was a masterful deliberate move to be honest. Digital has just become such a big part of marketing that it’s hard to avoid. However, the immediacy of Digital Marketing and the ability to measure and respond is hard to beat – and that the lack of which can be frustrating about the offline world. Now, I am using my experience to help smaller clients of Travel PR to push further into the digital world. The cross-over between PR, search and social media is getting bigger and bigger – it’s all about content and communication now.

Tell us about your route into Marketing?

It started in New Zealand when I was working for a commercial print company as sales manager. The most interesting clients were advertising agencies and magazine publishers and I worked closely with them to create marketing propositions in print – and that sparked an interest. However, I also realised the company I worked for needed an updated brand and market position in order to gain new and more lucrative clients. The company supported me in a two year post-grad marketing Diploma in Business at Auckland University and my marketing career was born. Soon after I was poached by one of our clients – an integrated advertising and marketing agency and eventually ended up working for a travel group, creating a new luxury travel brand and launching a new website for inbound and outbound tourism, back when not many were in the digital game. Since then I have stayed predominantly in travel with an adventure operator, Explore Worldwide, an international retailer, Flight Centre and now Travel PR, a small specialist agency.

Briefly talk us through a typical day as in your current job

Hah! There isn’t one – but I guess everyone says that. Currently I work with my own clients, so there is a lot of checking releases, media for coverage, following up with journalists etc. However, I also consult across all of our clients on digital matters, so I’ll often be analysing various websites, checking Moz and GA for background trends and writing reports. I have also become Mr Digital in the office and often answer digital related questions from the team. Lastly, I am working on a strategy to move us from a traditional PR space into a digital communications space.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced throughout your marketing career and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge has been keeping pace with developments in the digital marketing world. Juggling time between actually doing the job and learning about what’s new is tough. I find audio-books are great though and listen to them in the car on the way to work each morning. The increasing requirement (rightly so) for businesses to achieve and understand ROI on marketing spend has been a big change too. Setting expectations has been key – the temptation to provide far too much information or for boards to ask for detail that’s not relevant is ever-present.

What would you describe as your biggest personal strengths and assets that have ensured success in your career?

Adaptability – in a word. The changing face of marketing from print/analogue to digital has been swift, but I feel I have kept ahead of the game and not held on to the past too firmly. However, also not being a total digi-head has helped. Having worked in organisations ranging from just a handful of employees, to one with thousands, I can say I am able to adjust and fit in wherever is required and still do a good job. Communication skills are always key – whether to colleagues and clients directly or the ability to frame communications that customers will not only read, but react to.

If you could give a single piece of advice to someone looking to get into their own marketing career what would it be?

Make sure you market yourself as well as you can. Whether it’s a simple CV, your LinkedIn profile or your own website – do it well, think about your audience and be sure that you would be happy and proud for the Marketing Director of your dream company to see it. If you can’t get that right your chances of getting on will be minimal.

What advice would you give to someone looking to move into a more senior position in Marketing?

Take risks – but managed risks. Be bold with your marketing, whatever level you are currently at. A shrinking violet will remain unnoticed, but someone willing to stand up and try to do things differently, to challenge the status quo – and be able to qualify those risks and rewards – will have a far better chance to move up the ladder. Talking of wooden structures – don’t burn any bridges either. Everyone is a potential opportunity for advancement, whether they are your boss, a client, a supplier or someone reporting to you – treat them all with respect and professionalism. One day they may be in a position to help you out. Lastly, network, like crazy. In person, on LinkedIn – just do it.