In September 2020, 10 learners from across Guernsey started their journey with Squared Online: a Digital Marketing and Leadership course developed with Google, powered by AVADO and delivered through Digital Greenhouse.
The fully funded places for Guernsey residents were made possible through the Committee for Economic Development’s SMART Guernsey programme, which seeks to support islanders and local businesses to develop the skills needed to succeed in a digital world.
Five months since the course began, we caught up with Marketing Executive Emma Harris to hear about her journey so far.
Hi Emma! Can you tell us a bit about Squared Online?
The first thing to say is that the Squared Online Course is unlike most digital courses – it’s hugely collaborative and takes a real hands-on approach.
It’s also guided by industry experts, and covers five key modules: Embracing Change, Customer Centricity, Digital Channels and Technologies, Data, Analytics and Insights, and Creating Change.
Each of these modules is based on individual and group activities, as well as weekly interactive live lectures, all delivered over a period of six months.
What interested you in the Squared Online course initially?
Having worked in marketing since finishing full-time education in 2016, most of what I know about the industry has been picked up on the job, or through online research and short courses. But Squared Online presented an opportunity to build on my existing expertise, and develop my understanding of digital marketing strategies, theories, and frameworks – which I found hugely exciting.
After hearing about the course, I did some research and got chatting to the team at the Digital Greenhouse to find out more. Squared Online seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, and from there I registered to take advantage of the scholarship on offer.
It was important for me to strike a good balance between work and studying – and Avado’s approach to continuous assessment and coursework rather than exams worked well for me. Squared Online was developed for people who work full time or have other commitments - so the combination of classes, live webinars and group project work has been much easier to fit into my busy schedule than some of the alternative courses out there.
The content is also very up to date, and the interactive nature of the live classes mean you can ask questions to expert guest speakers who are at the very top of their game – whether that’s about the theories and strategies outlined in the course, or campaigns they might have worked on.
The course also won a number of awards so that also gave me further confidence when making my decision to take up a place.
How has your journey with Squared Online been so far?
I’m not going to pretend that it hasn’t been challenging at times – it has been. But I can also say that it’s been 100% worth the work.
For anyone balancing studying and other commitments, it can be tricky to keep on top of things – especially as you’re learning to manage your time with people in your group who are just as busy as you. But the flexibility of the course really helped, and working with my teammates on our group projects further motivated me to work hard and keep up with the weekly tasks and lessons.
It’s also this collaborative approach that provides a fantastic opportunity to learn from others. The course is aimed at all levels, and our group is made up of people across the world, each with their own experiences, expertise, and skills.
In that sense, learning isn’t limited to hearing from industry leaders during our weekly live classes. By working closely with an amazing mix of people, from Marketing Directors to recent grads or even non-marketing professionals, the opportunity to learn from the experiences and insights of others is also fantastic.
Another feature that makes Squared Online so unique is that it doesn’t just teach you the content, but also encourages you to apply the course learnings to your own organisation. This encourages everyone to reflect on how they can directly leverage their new skills at work.
What does a normal week look like for you?
I work for Karl Taylor Education, an online education company – so that takes up most of my time! My work week mainly entails managing our social media, which can involve anything from content creation to moderating online communities as well as customer service. I also spend time working on ad campaigns and ad strategies, search engine optimisation (SEO), and other marketing responsibilities.
Outside of my 9-to-5, I volunteer as a Director on the Board of the Youth Commission for Guernsey and Alderney.
What have been the highlights of your Squared Online journey?
On the whole, taking part in Squared Online has been a very positive experience. One highlight has definitely been meeting up with some of my fellow group members and learning about their experiences in the digital marketing world. As I’ve mentioned, we’re a hugely varied bunch with lots of different backgrounds, experience levels and specialisations, so it makes for some fascinating discussions.
As I work as part of a small team in my day job, being able to collaborate with a bigger global network on all our group projects has been a real highlight. It’s truly a team effort, and handing in the final projects and receiving positive and constructive feedback has really made all the work worth it.
With your increased digital marketing and leadership expertise, what advice would you share with other businesses or marketers operating in a more digital world?
The most important thing I have learnt so far is to ensure that your marketing strategy covers your customer at every stage of their purchasing journey.
Early on, Squared Online establishes how you can apply customer journey frameworks to map customer needs and the moments that matter to them – from the initial introduction of the brand, through their consideration stages, all the way to after they purchase.
It’s so easy to get caught up on focusing on the stage just before someone buys from you that we tend to forget how important – and complex – the whole customer journey has become.
Emma Harris is a Marketing Executive for Karl Taylor Education, where she has worked since leaving full-time education. Working on campaigns, managing social media channels and various other marketing projects, Emma loves the variety of a job in Marketing.
Outside of her 9-5, Emma sits as a director on the board for the Youth Commission for Guernsey and Alderney where she hopes to also be able to utilise her new skills learnt through Squared Online.
To learn more about the Squared Online digital marketing course and other opportunities available under the Committee for Economic Development’s SMART Guernsey programme, visit Digital Greenhouse.