How To Succeed as a Woman in the Digital Marketing Industry and Overcome Challenges

When you discover the world of digital marketing, it’s like navigating through a rainforest. It’s a wild ride, and the deeper you go, the more entangled and lost you can get. As women in the industry, the path to conventional and unconventional success is likely to look different to our male counterparts. The women at Digital NRG have decided to shed light on this topic for all women in business, and those just beginning to embark on their journey to success. If you’re curious about how to navigate the wild ride, read on and find out the keys to succeeding in the digital marketing industry and in business. 

The Beginning – Brief History of Women in Marketing

Looking back on the marketing industry as a whole, you’ll find that up until around 2019, marketing used to be very male-dominated. In 1971, the gap was around 40%, and even 10 years ago the gap was still at around 10.4%. As women come together to pave a path of success in the industry, we are getting closer and closer to reducing the existing gap where currently female marketers are paid on average 12.6% less than our male counterparts. Senior roles are much harder to land and our voices and concerns may be unheard, even when they are the loudest in the room. We know that the path is never easy, however with so many wonderful communities within the digital marketing industry such as Girls in Marketing, and influential people like Lily Ray and Areej A, there has never been a stronger community fighting for one outcome.

How Do We Move Forward in the Digital Marketing World?

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Quote from: Emily (Head of Paid Media at DNRG)

Tangible actions you can start discovering today:

1. Follow your core passion

Whether you decide to go down a conventional or unconventional route, the first rule to success is to really look within and find your purpose. This sounds deep, and it should be! What’s the one thing that’ll get you out of bed every morning? If you’re passionate about the Earth, you may consider marketing roles related to charities or activism, whereas if your cup of tea is around health, or cars, then dig deep for roles within these sectors.

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Quote from: A friend in the industry

2. Look for an inclusive company 

Inclusivity may feel different to people, but a couple of good signs include equal pay, female leaders in senior positions, and visible diversity across the board. The internet is a wonderful beast, and you can truly read between the lines of company profiles, social media posts, the morale of the staff and how they speak about the company. If you get the slightest bad feeling, trust your instincts and pursue other avenues.

3. Don’t be afraid to take on a mentor or a coach 

Every successful person will have somebody that is there to listen, and guide, suggest, dissolve unnecessary worries, scare away the impostor syndrome and guide you to be the powerful woman you are destined to be. Here I’m not talking about your other half, or friends, or parents; I’m referring to somebody who’s not emotionally attached to you. Emotions can veer decisions and advice in multiple directions, often benefiting the other person instead of you. Therefore, finding a mentor who has been in the same shoes as you, you look up to or have first-hand advice for you is a must so you can succeed. The constant reflection and analysis of how far you have come and how you’d like to move forward will help you keep your vision fresh in your mind every day. 

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Quote from: Freya (Senior SEO Executive and CRO Lead)

4. Challenge what’s wrong

 For so many decades, women have been silenced, adopted the role of default parent or ‘housewife’ and put their needs and ambitions to the bottom of the priority list. Influential women for many years have fought for the privilege that we hold today. At first it may feel intimidating (if so, you’re working for a company that needs a lot of cultural development) but challenging what’s wrong is a must if you are to become a successful woman in any industry and a respectable leader.

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Quote from: Amy (SEO Executive and Andromeda Cheer & Dance Co-Owner)

5. Manage your stress. Is It Even Stress?

Stress is an unnecessary emotion. A waste of emotion. For many years, even today people often misjudge and miscommunicate their emotions. They may say they’re stressed when in reality they feel unheard, upset, frustrated, like they are in an unjust situation, the list can go on (confirmed by many women in the industry). The most practical way to manage stress is to allow yourself to feel, breathe, and express your exact emotions and communicate them effectively in the workplace. Women are not ‘too emotional’, they are emotionally intelligent enough to express exactly how they feel, and educate those who this may sound alien to.

Lastly, be aware of your menstrual cycle to support your success in business

It’s still alien to so many of us why period talk is such taboo when you’re surrounded by male leaders. There are always exceptions but a huge majority of the time it is an unspoken, unheard of topic where in reality it has a huge impact on the day-to-day functions of all women. It’s what makes us ‘us’, and it deserves the respect of at least acknowledging that depending on which stage of your cycle you’re in, your productivity, energy levels, motivation, the way you come across, will all differ. (Fun fact – Men have cycles too and everyone should read more into it!)

How can you navigate your work life in line with your menstrual cycle?

Menstrual Phase: Day 1-7 – Concentrate on increasing endorphin levels which block pain receptors to feel more at ease during this time.

You may feel lower in energy, in pain, ill, and unmotivated, but as you move out of your menstrual phase, you’ll feel an increase in confidence. During this time, be kind to your body and mind and ensure that you pay attention to what your body is telling you. Similarly to your Luteal Phase, don’t schedule important meetings or life changing decisions for the first couple of days of your Menstrual phase as you may not be able to navigate these as your usual self. 

Follicular Phase: Day 7-13 –  Oestrogen levels rise

You’ll see a boost in mood and energy, you’ll likely feel more creative, inspired, focused, and ready to handle the day and be unstoppable! Schedule any important meetings, pitch days, sales meetings, demanding task & training days for this period so you can make the most of those higher oestrogen levels. 

Ovulation Phase: Day 14- 20 – Surge of testosterone

You’ll likely feel the strongest, and your most capable self. It’s the prime time to be open to new opportunities, brainstorm, and take your creativity to the next level. Try and take advantage of this time, and carry out any creative work along with those tasks advised in your Follicular Phase.  

Luteal Phase: Day 20-28 – Higher Progesterone Levels

You’ll feel more tired, find you feel exhausted quicker, and your tolerance to external triggers is much lower.

Concentrate on less demanding tasks if possible, reschedule any important meetings, take frequent 3-5 minute breaks during the day to allow for better productivity. Go outside for some fresh air, take frequent naps, be gentle and hug it out (yes, even at work!). British culture can be very prone to keeping people at a distance, more now than ever, but human connections are healthy. Just because you’re surrounded by seniors, and professionals, it doesn’t mean you can’t give them a friendly hug when they are struggling and vice versa. You won’t lose respect, if anything, you’ll gain more of it because we’re all humans!

Thankfully, there’s more and more conversation around this, be it in the workplace, on social media, books published, blogs and vlogs, or studies carried out which allow us to learn more and more about our body every day. Challenge yourself and take your cycle into consideration with everything you do, and allow yourself to see the benefits both in your career and outside of it.

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Quote from: Jade Smith ( Senior SEO Strategist) 

Are Women the Future?

In honesty, no. The future is equality. Whether we’re zooming out from a business context and into the whole world, inequality in living conditions, pay, education, amongst races etc is a fundamental cause of hardship and conflict in the world. When people of different faiths, ethnicities, sexes, sexualities and class backgrounds are truly treated equally on merit in the workplace, not just on the surface visible to the public, is when we’ll know that we’ve got there. But at the same time, let’s not take the focus away from women’s rights and equality, there is still a long way to go. Let’s just make sure that we view it in an intersectional way, so that when we’re thinking about women in leadership that goes hand in hand with rights for the most deprived women as well. 

“When it comes to success in the digital marketing industry, it’s time to truly believe in yourself, open your heart to authenticity and resilience and move forward with your purpose.

Fear is a sign that you’re getting out of your comfort zone, and seeing as being in your comfort zone means lack of progress, you should feel excited about the low-key fear. And don’t forget; passion, inclusivity, mentoring, calling out what’s wrong, stress management, and shining a well-deserved light on your monthly cycle will allow you to thrive in the body you’ve been gifted. We’re always here for a chat about everything empowerment, women in business, digital marketing and everything in between, so have a chat with us via our LinkedIn profiles.” Says Mercedesz Molnar, SEO executive at the digital marketing agency.