The Student Room Group

Digital marketing, where to start?

I’m a 26 year old with ADHD that went into getting a psychology degree and dropped out, and then a business degree. The business degree was an accelerated programme so I quit after finishing my first year and getting that qualification. After that I continued working in my family business because the pay is very good.

Only thing is the workload is far too much for what I want in the future. I don’t wish to be self employed, I want to start my own independent life away from family and work part time in a few years.

I would like to get into digital marketing. I don’t know where to start, I don’t want to jump into a job without any real knowledge of what to do. I know I should do an internship but I heard they’re very difficult to get into, even for people that have graduated from top unis. Has anyone had a similar experience? How did you do it?
Original post by blitterflicker
I’m a 26 year old with ADHD that went into getting a psychology degree and dropped out, and then a business degree. The business degree was an accelerated programme so I quit after finishing my first year and getting that qualification. After that I continued working in my family business because the pay is very good.

Only thing is the workload is far too much for what I want in the future. I don’t wish to be self employed, I want to start my own independent life away from family and work part time in a few years.

I would like to get into digital marketing. I don’t know where to start, I don’t want to jump into a job without any real knowledge of what to do. I know I should do an internship but I heard they’re very difficult to get into, even for people that have graduated from top unis. Has anyone had a similar experience? How did you do it?

I can't comment (other than doing a lot of networking) on scoring an internship in digital marketing (they are ridiculously competitive), but I can offer suggestions on what you should study to get to grips with digital marketing.

Strictly speaking, you don't need any specific qualifications to get into digital marketing per se, but you would need to be competent in the subject. In the UK, there are 3 main places that I would look into that employers generally should consider credible (not much point in getting a qualification that employers don't take seriously):
https://www.cim.co.uk/qualifications/
https://www.theidm.com/qualifications-training/marketing-qualifications
https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/students/courses
Personally, I prefer CIM because it's internationally recognised and more widely known in the UK than the others. The others are recognised in the UK though.

The other thing I would also recommend is putting a portfolio of some sort i.e. put together a website that includes all the bells and whilstles that you would expect a digital marketer can do to it. However, I wouldn't go too crazy and spend hundreads of pounds on it e.g. up to £50 is usually more than enough. With the website, you have a stronger chance of standing out than a lot of the other applicants who only show off their degrees in marketing.

Do note, I don't work as a digital marketer, so take the above with a grain of salt.
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by MindMax2000
I can't comment (other than doing a lot of networking) on scoring an internship in digital marketing (they are ridiculously competitive), but I can offer suggestions on what you should study to get to grips with digital marketing.

Strictly speaking, you don't need any specific qualifications to get into digital marketing per se, but you would need to be competent in the subject. In the UK, there are 3 main places that I would look into that employers generally should consider credible (not much point in getting a qualification that employers don't take seriously):
https://www.cim.co.uk/qualifications/
https://www.theidm.com/qualifications-training/marketing-qualifications
https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/students/courses
Personally, I prefer CIM because it's internationally recognised and more widely known in the UK than the others. The others are recognised in the UK though.

The other thing I would also recommend is putting a portfolio of some sort i.e. put together a website that includes all the bells and whilstles that you would expect a digital marketer can do to it. However, I wouldn't go too crazy and spend hundreads of pounds on it e.g. up to £50 is usually more than enough. With the website, you have a stronger chance of standing out than a lot of the other applicants who only show off their degrees in marketing.

Do note, I don't work as a digital marketer, so take the above with a grain of salt.


Thank you for your response, it’s really appreciated.

Would the CIM qualifications actually help me do you think? I don’t want to be getting these qualifications if they won’t help me in the long run. Although I would appreciate learning more about what’s expected of me if it helps me in the workplace.

What do you mean by the website? Like am I supposed to put together a whole website of my own? Or am I taking that too literally and you mean like a web page on another site? I’m a bit lost regarding this website stuff, so I would appreciate it if you explain it to me like I’m a bit slow because I defo feel it right now 😅
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by blitterflicker
Thank you for your response, it’s really appreciated.

Would there CIM qualifications actually help me do you think? I don’t want to be getting these qualifications if they won’t help me in the long run. Although I would appreciate learning more about what’s expected of me if it helps me in the workplace.

What do you mean by the website? Like am I supposed to put together a whole website of my own? Or am I taking that too literally and you mean like a web page on another site? I’m a bit lost regarding this website stuff, so I would appreciate it if you explain it to me like I’m a bit slow because I defo feel it right now 😅

Would there CIM qualifications actually help me do you think? I don’t want to be getting these qualifications if they won’t help me in the long run
In my opinon, I think they would. However, I am not the one hiring you, and it depends on the individual employer.
From the look of things, I would say it matters more than you have the right skills and experience - the industry is more results driven than what your credentials are (it's not say like medicine where you need to do several hundred things in order to qualify for the job). There are various marketers in digital marketing who don't have qualifications and they do fine.
On the other hand, if you're looking for something to help get your foot in the door, then I can't say for sure.

Do note, there is no sole qualification or degree that is recognised for digital marketing everywhere e.g. it's not like a degree in architecture where the degree needs to be accredited by RIBA in order for you to become an architect.

Does it help that you have learnt the ins and outs of digital marketing? Definitely. What qualification you do depends on you though e.g. you can do a digital marketing qualification from a random company or did a short course on the subject. CIM is usually the more reputable than the others, so it's really down to you.
See the following for example:
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/digital-marketer#qualifications (personally I don't agree with the fact that they say you need a degree, but there you go).
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/sales-marketing/job-profile/digital-marketer
https://www.life-pilot.co.uk/job-sectors/social-media/job-profile/digital-marketer

What do you mean by the website? Like am I supposed to put together a whole website of my own? Or am I taking that too literally and you mean like a web page on another site?
Yeah, purchase a domain name (costs about £10 if you shop around) and put together a mock website (with all the appropriate widgets) that you can include in your CV. What is a better way to show you know what you are doing than by doing it on a website that you did the work on? You should make it clear to visitors that the website that you have isn't a business and is strictly for illustration purposes though, just in case the legal side of things get a bit fuzzy,
There are various aspects in digital marketing, and it's not just one term for everything (one area can sometimes require an entire team to run). These areas include:

Copywriting

Content creation

Video marketing

PPC/SEM

SEO

Sales funnels

Email marketing

Social media marketing

AI in digital marketing

Web analytics


One person doing all of the above is going to have a very hard time keeping up. Even if you intend to use AI to make things easier, you would likely going to be doing 80-100 hour weeks if you have to do everything on an ongoing basis. So yeah, I would try to specialise in one area at some point (specialists get paid more for less work than the generalist).

If you want to know how to build a website, you can google for it. The following came up on the first page of the search results:
https://www.wix.com/blog/how-to-build-website-from-scratch-guide
https://bootcamp.berkeley.edu/blog/how-to-create-website-from-scratch-guide/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acBJsjCqgtM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWA-xbsJrVg (10 minutes is a bit short, but hey)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHTARyXZ7Gw
https://digital.com/how-to-create-a-website/
https://websitesetup.org/
https://www.tooltester.com/en/how-to-set-up-my-own-website/
https://www.savethestudent.org/make-money/how-to-start-wordpress-website.html
https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/building-websites/

It used to take a team of people and highly paid experts to put together a website, but now a 10 year old can do it on the cheap within 30 minutes (depending on who you go with). It's not difficult and the learning curve isn't steep, so you should be fine after reading a few blogs and watching a few videos (like those above).
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by MindMax2000
Would there CIM qualifications actually help me do you think? I don’t want to be getting these qualifications if they won’t help me in the long run
In my opinon, I think they would. However, I am not the one hiring you, and it depends on the individual employer.
From the look of things, I would say it matters more than you have the right skills and experience - the industry is more results driven than what your credentials are (it's not say like medicine where you need to do several hundred things in order to qualify for the job). There are various marketers in digital marketing who don't have qualifications and they do fine.
On the other hand, if you're looking for something to help get your foot in the door, then I can't say for sure.

Do note, there is no sole qualification or degree that is recognised for digital marketing everywhere e.g. it's not like a degree in architecture where the degree needs to be accredited by RIBA in order for you to become an architect.

Does it help that you have learnt the ins and outs of digital marketing? Definitely. What qualification you do depends on you though e.g. you can do a digital marketing qualification from a random company or did a short course on the subject. CIM is usually the more reputable than the others, so it's really down to you.
See the following for example:
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/digital-marketer#qualifications (personally I don't agree with the fact that they say you need a degree, but there you go).
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/sales-marketing/job-profile/digital-marketer
https://www.life-pilot.co.uk/job-sectors/social-media/job-profile/digital-marketer

What do you mean by the website? Like am I supposed to put together a whole website of my own? Or am I taking that too literally and you mean like a web page on another site?
Yeah, purchase a domain name (costs about £10 if you shop around) and put together a mock website (with all the appropriate widgets) that you can include in your CV. What is a better way to show you know what you are doing than by doing it on a website that you did the work on? You should make it clear to visitors that the website that you have isn't a business and is strictly for illustration purposes though, just in case the legal side of things get a bit fuzzy,
There are various aspects in digital marketing, and it's not just one term for everything (one area can sometimes require an entire team to run). These areas include:

Copywriting

Content creation

Video marketing

PPC/SEM

SEO

Sales funnels

Email marketing

Social media marketing

AI in digital marketing

One person doing all of the above is going to have a very hard time keeping up. Even if you intend to use AI to make things easier, you would likely going to be doing 80-100 hour weeks if you have to do everything on an ongoing basis. So yeah, I would try to specialise in one area at some point (specialists get paid more for less work than the generalist).

If you want to know how to build a website, you can google for it. The following came up on the first page of the search results:
https://www.wix.com/blog/how-to-build-website-from-scratch-guide
https://bootcamp.berkeley.edu/blog/how-to-create-website-from-scratch-guide/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acBJsjCqgtM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWA-xbsJrVg (10 minutes is a bit short, but hey)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHTARyXZ7Gw
https://digital.com/how-to-create-a-website/
https://websitesetup.org/
https://www.tooltester.com/en/how-to-set-up-my-own-website/
https://www.savethestudent.org/make-money/how-to-start-wordpress-website.html
https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/building-websites/

It used to take a team of people and highly paid experts to put together a website, but now a 10 year old can do it on the cheap within 30 minutes (depending on who you go with). It's not difficult and the learning curve isn't steep, so you should be fine after reading a few blogs and watching a few videos (like those above).


Thank you so much! Makes a lot more sense. I was interested in social media marketing, do you have any tips for that? I know you’re not someone who works in the field, but you do have some good ideas
Original post by blitterflicker
Thank you so much! Makes a lot more sense. I was interested in social media marketing, do you have any tips for that? I know you’re not someone who works in the field, but you do have some good ideas

Not that much.

A lot of what I know about social media marketing is just posting stuff on social media sites. There are tips for better posts, but it's not a lot to learn. You can typically do all of this in a short course.

In terms of jobs, I have little to add other than to have active accounts that you can show off to employers to show you know what you are doing. Say, a Facebook page, Instagram account, Twitter account, or YouTube channel with some content can be useful.
Original post by MindMax2000
Not that much.

A lot of what I know about social media marketing is just posting stuff on social media sites. There are tips for better posts, but it's not a lot to learn. You can typically do all of this in a short course.

In terms of jobs, I have little to add other than to have active accounts that you can show off to employers to show you know what you are doing. Say, a Facebook page, Instagram account, Twitter account, or YouTube channel with some content can be useful.


Good idea, thanks a lot for your advice.
Reply 7
Actually, I had a similar problem and tried many various options, but for me, owning an online business is the best one. I came through company registration in the uk (https://www.hoxtonmix.com/blog/how-to-register-a-company-in-uk), and then everything changed. Even with ADHD, the flexibility and autonomy of running an online business could be a perfect fit. As for getting into digital marketing, there are tons of resources available online, from courses to tutorials. Start by familiarizing yourself with the basics and then consider taking on freelance projects or small gigs to gain experience.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Jordref
Actually, I had a similar problem and tried many various options, but for me, owning an online business is the best one. I came through company registration in the uk (https://www.hoxtonmix.com/blog/how-to-register-a-company-in-uk), and then everything changed. Even with ADHD, the flexibility and autonomy of running an online business could be a perfect fit. As for getting into digital marketing, there are tons of resources available online, from courses to tutorials. Start by familiarizing yourself with the basics and then consider taking on freelance projects or small gigs to gain experience.


I’ve heard this too, that owning your own business can really work with someone with ADHD, but I’m just not very passionate about anything enough to start a business over it. I am very creative and love thinking of new ideas when it comes to product design and labelling so I think I’d be very good in marketing.

Yes looks like I will have to consider freelance sometimes as well, I’m fine with that as long as it’s worth while in the long run
(edited 1 month ago)

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