It is always interesting to find out how successful people have got to where they are, often their career ladder has parallels with your own. In this post I interviewed Cherry Advertising’s Digital Technical Director Jon Harvey to discover how he entered the digital marketing industry, what the challenges and responsibilities of his role involve, and most importantly what the rewards are.
How I Became A Digital Technical Director
How did you enter the industry?
I got digital marketing completely by chance; on a work placement during my last year of secondary school. I was placed with a local mortgage broker (with the ambition to go into the financial sector). At the time all of their mortgage applications were processed by hand – the sheer volume of paperwork was staggering.
Why did you enter the industry?
We identified a gap in the market on my work placement at the mortgage broker – we could process so many more applications if we got the client to enter all of their information online; we could even filter a lot of them by calculating the LTV (loan-to-value) during the process and allocate them to the brokers internally dynamically.
This fascinated me, there was a lot of money to be made and the “dotcom boom” was still in full swing at the time… We all thought we’d be millionaires within a few months… It’s comical to look back and think how different things are now!
If you were to sum up your responsibilities in a sentence what would you say?
One sentence? Woahhh I’ve got to justify myself in just a few words? How about:
“To take the geekiness out of technology and humanise it for people who don’t talk in 1s and 0s”
Seriously… I’ve worked across a lot of market sectors in my 20 odd years in digital marketing… Finance, entertainment, music, film, retail/commerce and now I’m working with some of the World’s largest pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to formalise their digital strategies both on and offline – yes, taking digital “offline” is something that really excites me.
I look after a small team of developers and work closely with both our clients and internal strategists to figure out the technical aspects for them, suggest improvements and try to push some boundaries whilst we at it.
What would you say are the most rewarding bits of your job?
The most rewarding aspect of what I do is definitely teaching younger devs how to code. It’s amazing the buzz when they see things start to work and then go off and do some crazy stuff that us old veterans would have never thought possible.
What are the biggest challenges in the role?
Clients who don’t understand the difference between digital and dead tree (print); who think a pretty design is the end product.
It’s phenomenal the number of times you end up having to explain why things take more time. The initial visual design is just the beginning – it’s what happens after that that’s really exciting.
Some clients get it… Those are the ones that push boundaries and make it exciting for both us and them! Some need a bit of hand-holding and that’s cool… Others just refuse to understand – those are the guys that will end up having to justify why their competitors are winning to their bosses.
To date what are you proudest of in your career?
I’ve had some great moments (and some not so great! LOL) but proudest? I guess winning awards is always nice but I’d say the proudest moments are when you see someone you’ve trained, taught, mentored, winning awards – that’s what makes you really proud.
What is your biggest career mistake?
I don’t really see “mistakes” as such – you should aim to learn from everything – anything that’s ever gone wrong has only helped to make me a better technologist in the long run.
What does the future hold for you?
A huge lottery win, a boat and a villa …Somewhere hot.
When you started your career did you have aspirations to be where you are today?
I don’t think so.
When the dotcom bubble burst, and I realised I wasn’t going to be a millionaire by 21, I just always strived to be better tomorrow than I am today. I don’t think you can look too far into the future in this industry – it’s constantly changing – that’s what makes it fun!
If you are interested in a career as a digital technical director, or other roles in digital marketing get in touch with me to discuss your options. Call 020 3116 0000 or email email@example.com
About Jon Harvey: Jon’s role as Digital Technical Director at Cherry Advertising involves planning and managing the delivery of various digital campaigns across a plethora of platforms including tablet and mobile applications, websites, asset management systems, complex data analysis and statistical tracking.
Cherry Advertising are a London based agency specialising in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.