Building more than 150k followers across social media in just 2 years, it’s easy to say that Girls in Marketing are a community to watch. Founded by Olivia Hanlon in 2019, the Girls in Marketing team has now grown to 5, all women and each as passionate about the community’s mission to empower and educate women as their Founder.
So who are the Girls in Marketing? And what does the future look like for this rapidly growing community? We spoke to Olivia and the team to find out more!
Hi girls! First of all, could you tell us a bit about how Girls in Marketing started its journey?
Girls in Marketing began in 2019 – I literally had the idea when I was sipping my Starbucks one Sunday. I was working in-house as a marketer at the time and I really struggled to connect with other women in the industry. I wanted to find people who loved marketing as much as I do, but who I also related to. There wasn’t much out there geared towards women on a more casual, friendly basis. So, I started the community that I felt like I needed in hopes to find genuine connections in the industry.
In the last year alone you’ve grown into a team of 5 – all of whom are women! Was an entirely female-led community something you always envisioned?
To be completely honest, I never envisioned I would even have a team of wonderful people around me – so no! It was women who naturally gravitated towards the businesses and all of my team members began by volunteering with me. It was their pure passion and love for the community that stood out to me, and I loved being able to give these young women an opportunity to learn new skills and find their feet in the industry. Women should always support other women, and I’ve made sure we lead with that notion in everything that we do.
What does a typical day entail for the Girls in Marketing team?
Without sounding too cliche, no day is ever the same! Every member of the team is always working on something different whether it be creating new projects, resources or finding ways to spread the word about an accessible education in marketing.
Generally, we spend one morning a week going through weekly tasks and goals before cracking on with our to-do lists. We have lots of balls in the air; our Marketers Making Moves Programme, our Ready, Set, Freelance Programme, the development of new courses as well as our Members Society. From creating content to handling our wonderful brand sponsors, there’s always something that needs to be done!
In the evenings, we’ll usually join one of our events being hosted within the Members Society. We love networking with our community and chatting with them about their marketing journeys. Our live events are a nice way to switch-off and remind ourselves of the importance of our work.
Have there been any particular hurdles you’ve had to overcome as a young female founder?
Weirdly, the biggest challenge I face as a young female Founder is ageism. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who have asked “Who do you work for?” or “Who’s your boss?” When I confess I’m actually the business owner and I work for myself, people always look so shocked and taken aback! It’s quite obvious that people underestimate me because of my age. As a woman in her early twenties, a lot of people will assume I don’t know anything about business or I couldn’t possibly have enough experience.
It’s sad that people are so surprised to see young women as successful business owners and female founders. We should be encouraging this to be the norm! For every surprised face we get, it just spurs us on to continue the work we’re doing and fight the battle of inequality.
How important are digital skills in the marketing industry? And which digital skills do you think women in marketing are often lacking?
Digital skills are essential when it comes to the marketing industry, which is why we’re so passionate about sharing our knowledge. Research conducted by World Skills UK highlighted that only 48% of employers in the UK believe young people are leaving full-time education with sufficient digital skills. Unfortunately, there is also a gender gap at play too. Considering the increasing demand for digital skills in the workplace, it is absolutely vital we are tackling this issue.
Within our community, we’ve found it is the technical and practical aspects of digital marketing that young people are finding it hard to learn: setting up websites, tracking metrics, understanding search optimisation. All these things require using certain tools and techniques that you can’t learn unless someone shows you how to do it and you put it into practice.
Girls in Marketing aims to allow young talent to feel confident entering the workforce with a new set of practical skills that benefits employers, as much as it does young people. Whether it be through our Marketers Making Moves programme or our Members Society, we aim to offer free and/or affordable resources that help improve digital skill sets amongst women in the areas. We’re truly committing to helping close the digital skills gap and uplift young digital marketing talent. They’re the future of the industry!
What advice would you give to someone that’s just starting out in the marketing industry?
Soak up as much as you can, but stop before you feel overwhelmed. There’s a huge expectation that aspiring marketers have to know absolutely everything. The reality is, it takes years and years to build an understanding of marketing and find your speciality. It’s an ever-growing industry and it would be impossible to know everything as you enter the workforce.
The most important thing is that you make the effort to upskill, network and learn as much marketing knowledge as possible. Whether it be through resources, events or local networking opportunities – find a way you feel comfortable learning new skills and build on what you’re already passionate about.
Also, try experimenting by creating your own opportunities. Run a TikTok account, set up an Instagram, or start a blog. All these things can teach you valuable digital marketing skills and give you a foot up when the time comes to apply for a new role.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years time? What are your business goals?
We’re working on so many exciting things at the moment and we could never predict what the future holds!
We definitely want to do more work with students and young people to spread awareness of marketing as a career pathway, as a lot of people don’t hear about it until university. We’re also working on new platforms to help increase job opportunities for women, as we recognise this is particularly important for marketers across the board.
It would also be amazing to host in-person events too, and meet more of our community face-to face (and give them massive hugs!) In the next 5 years, I hope we will have grown our team and our amazing community even more. We just want to continue helping as many marketers as possible, empower women and continue creating a safe space for people to come together.
Where can our community find out more about you?
If you want to stay updated with everything we get up to at Girls in Marketing, you can sign up to our mailing list and follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram. We’re always launching new resources, events and programmes so make sure you keep an eye out!