A Day in the Life of a Digital Marketing Specialist

Updated: Nov 15, 2019

Hey there! My name is Samukele Ncube. By day I am a Digital Marketing Specialist for a large home-builder in Ottawa, and during the evenings and weekends, I am the Co-Founder of a community group, Find Your Tribe - where I use my digital marketing skills to grow our community of People of Colour and allies in Ottawa.

I always like to say I stumbled into digital marketing by accident. I studied International Business during my time at university. This decision was made, mostly because at 18, I didn’t know what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. I figured the “business” part of my chosen degree would allow me to discover my passion later in life, and the “international” aspect of it would allow me to do whatever it was that I loved, all over the world!

Needless to say, it was a very practical decision at the time.

As part of my International Business degree, it was mandatory for me to take a foreign language (I chose French) and as part of that learning, I had to complete a year abroad, living in the environment where the language I was spoken. I chose Paris, and it was such an amazing experience to be able to spend a significant amount of time there and be able to study in a different schooling environment. It was also one of the most pivotal moments in my life and when I got the rudest wake-up call.

Up until my third year when I went abroad, I hadn’t been very involved in extracurriculars at school. I had pretty much been coasting by, trying to get good enough grades to go abroad. Suddenly, I was in classrooms where most of my peers had these amazing internships under their belts with large companies like Coca Cola and L’Oréal, and there I was with barely a few months’ worth of retail experience. As one would expect, I was freaking out.

This experience really lit a fire underneath me and I promised myself that I would get s**t together and grab any and every opportunity that came my way to build on my resume in my final year once I returned to Canada. And that’s what I did. For the next year, I did some freelance writing, social media management, website management as well as email writing, which really allowed me to grow my skills outside the classroom. At one point I had three part-time gigs on top of my full-time course-load, which wasn’t easy, but it allowed me to stay true to my promise.

Once I graduated in 2017, I looked back on all my work in the past year and the common thread that tied them all together was Digital Marketing. I was fortunate enough to have mentors in my corner who were able to help me work on my resume and provided strong references. With their help, I had two full-time digital marketing job offers within two weeks of graduation.

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in digital marketing, I’ve written an additional piece on what you can do today to start building your personal brand and put yourself on the right track to land a career in digital marketing.

Now that you know a bit more about my background, let’s get into what a typical day looks like for me as a digital marketer:

07:45 – I wake up and get ready for the day. I don’t have a morning routine (it’s something that I’ve been working on for some time now but I love sleep too much haha!) But I do try to always make my bed and leave my apartment in good order before I start my day.

08:25 – I live about 15 minutes away from work, so leaving around 8:30 gives me enough time to get to work before 9 am. Fortunately, my employer gives us flexible working hours, and we have the freedom to arrive any time before 9, but I am not a morning person so I usually get there just before 9 am.

During my commute to work, I usually chat with my mom and check in with her or I read a book. Lately, I’ve been reading “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, which has been a great resource in helping me step out of my own mind and practise being present more often.

9:00 – Once I get to the office, I usually start off by checking my emails and actioning any urgent items in the first hour. I also take the time to create my to-do list for the day around this time and tackle any more challenging tasks. I find that my mind is clearest in the morning, so any activities that require creative thinking or problem solving, I save for the first thing in the morning.

10:00 – A lot of my work as a digital marketer in my current role is project-based.

I work with my team to strategize on how we can enhance our website and we create action plans for each project and get to work on them. My current role is pretty different from my past roles when I worked with startups, in that we have a lot of partners who we work with to get things done. For example, we have a creative agency who we work closely with to get all of our creative assets, and other agencies that we work with for various things.

As I worked with startups in the past that have significantly smaller teams, I was usually responsible for a lot of the tactical items – creating and deploying emails, creating digital ads, writing blogs, etc. I was very intentional at the beginning about starting out in these roles so I could learn a lot and fast, and it’s nice that now I get to flex some different muscles in my work by being more on the strategy and project management side, and knowing the tactics has definitely helped me understand the strategy side of things.

12:00 – I sometimes use my lunch break for phone or in-person meetings for Find Your Tribe. It’s pretty convenient that my Co-Founder and I work in the same building, so we sometimes meet over lunch to strategize about upcoming events and how we can better serve our community through the professional development events that we host.

13:00 – After lunch, I usually continue working on the digital projects that I have on my plate and attend any afternoon meetings I may have set out for that day.

17: 00 – Depending on what time I get in, in the morning, I will usually leave around 5pm.

If I have any after-work meetings scheduled for Find Your Tribe, that is where I head to after work, or I head over to any professional or community events that interest me. They are usually great opportunities to meet people and network. Over the summer I probably attended at least once a week, but between now and the rest of the year and I am probably going to wind that down to about once a month – both for my own self-care and because it gets really cold during Ottawa winters and being outside is a struggle!

17:15 – If I don’t have anything going on after work, I usually get home around 5:15 pm. Once I’m home, I’ll have my dinner, take a shower and unwind by watching a show. My go-to's are usually all the ish’s (Black-ish, Mixed-ish, Grown-ish), Insecure, and Game of Thrones, but since all of those are either done or on a break, I’ve been making do with Archer and Family Guy.

After a couple of episodes, depending on the day, I will usually create and schedule the bi-weekly newsletter that we send out to our email list for Find Your Tribe, and also schedule some posts for our Facebook group as well. Around this time I will also respond to any outstanding personal emails and, thereafter, start to wind down for bed.

21:30 – As I mentioned earlier, I do love my sleep, so I’ll usually be in bed by 10 pm so I can be well-rested the next day

About the Author:

Sam is a digital marketer and speaker who places community at the heart of all her work. She is also the Co-Founder of Find Your Tribe, an Ottawa-based community hub that provides professional development opportunities for People of Colour and Allies through networking events, panel discussions and workshops.

As a strong believer in collaboration over competition, her goal is to use digital tools to bring people together, particularly marginalized and underrepresented groups, so that they can connect with each other, learn and grow together. No matter which hat she is wearing - be it digital marketer, community builder, or public speaker -her goal is simple... to use the power of digital marketing to form connections and build community.

© 2018 by nnyasha.

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