Mark is on a Lloyds Banking Group Higher Apprenticeship in Marketing. What has he discovered so far?
First thoughts – ‘A world of opportunities’
“I initially saw Lloyds Banking Group as just high street branches, but it’s much bigger than that – there’s a world of opportunities here.
“I like moving around, going places and discovering new things – and I get the same feeling from this apprenticeship.
“This is because the marketing campaigns are very varied, and they often have a social media aspect to them – all those new channels with massive potential for development.
“If my apprenticeship were a post on a social media channel, I’d like it. No, actually I’d love it. And I’d definitely follow it.”
Explore – ‘Different apprenticeship levels’
“Like many other A-Level students, I automatically applied for university.
“This was because my school didn’t explain much about apprenticeships, so they weren’t really on my radar as a career option.
‘But once I read about apprenticeships, and discovered there were different levels, I started to think differently about them.
“I came to the conclusion that a higher apprenticeship would be the same level as a university degree.
“You can even say that an apprenticeship puts you at an advantage, because it provides substantial hands-on work experience that university can’t.”
Surprise – ‘Banks do marketing’
“I was surprised the Group offered apprenticeships in marketing and advertising. For some strange reason I didn’t think financial companies did marketing.
“I thought marketing was for chocolate bars and cars and jeans – consumer goods like that.
“But when I looked more deeply into financial services as an industry, I realised that marketing has a huge role to play.
“That was when I suddenly decided to stop my university application, and to apply instead for a Lloyds Banking Group Higher Apprenticeship in Marketing.”
Discovery – ‘Marketing is everywhere’
“This apprenticeship has opened my eyes to advertising on the street, on the radio, in social media. Marketing is everywhere, when to really start to look.
“When I’m out and about I think a lot more about the marketing strategies behind the slogans, the posts, the tweets.
“Back in the office I apply this thinking more deeply, as I pore over the marketing data that our campaigns generate.
“Data is essential for helping us to understand our target market better, and we use it to challenge our creative agencies to come up with even more successful campaigns.”
Key moment – ‘Launching my first campaign’
“My most satisfying moment so far was pressing the launch button on my first marketing campaign.
“The idea was simple, but getting to it took months of hard work. You have to research, analyse, plan, brief, review, amend, test and finally launch the campaign idea that the research data suggests will be most effective.
“Most people don’t realise how much work goes into getting a marketing campaign right.
“It’s very exacting. We want to make sure that your customers choose the right product, and obviously your wish is for them to choose your product and not a competitor’s – that’s business.
“When the results data started to indicate that the campaign was doing well, I felt like I’d really achieved something.”
Strengths – ‘Run with the process’
“I’ve discovered that I’m good at picking up on processes and running with them.
“Lloyds Banking Group is so complex that it needs these processes to keep its marketing messages clear, consistent, ‘on brand’, and doing the right job.
“Learning to work effectively with these processes, often with tight time and budget deadlines, I’ve actually tackled quite a sizeable challenge.
“The consequence? I’ve become better at understanding how people tick and what makes them buy something, and at appreciating the marketing tools that get their attention.”
Challenge – ‘Think about the thinking’
“New challenges always excite me, which is why I’m soon to be embarking on a 320-mile cycle ride. I bet along the way I’ll be thinking about where in the Group I want my next marketing job to be.
“And when I see one of those huge advertising posters, I’ll definitely be thinking about the thinking behind it – just like I do when I see those tiny little ads on Facebook.”
Advice – ‘Don’t think it’ll be easy’
“My most important piece of advice is to work hard in school, because apprenticeships aren’t an easy option compared to university.
“There’s a lot of competition for places, which is good, and Lloyds Banking Group has invested heavily in some of the best apprenticeships on the market.
“People here are very approachable and supportive, almost always willing to help with your development where they can.
“If you want to be led and inspired by some great people, you could go far on a Lloyds Banking Group Apprenticeship.”
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