Women’s Day is when we recognise women of all ages, in all industries. To commemorate this day as an agency, a few of the women at Arc Interactive have decided to share the good, the bad, as well as some words of advice for any young woman looking to enter the digital marketing industry.
Sharing their experiences in this article are Nonhlanhla Makamba (Community Manager), Zanthè Agrela (New Business Manager and marketing team lead), Ora Moneoang (Copywriter and Community Manager) and Zapriana Atanassova (Copywriter & Community Manager).
Nonhlanhla: The creative aspect of this industry helps me thrive. It requires me to always think above the line, beyond current events, and deviate from the norm sometimes to inform, intervene and influence current trends and thinking.
Zanthè: The digital marketing industry is ever changing and requires you to be always on- always on top of your game, always on top of industry trends, techniques and to constantly be relevant. This inspires me to always aim higher, aim for more, and aim to be better at my job to ensure I’m giving my all to my work and my clients. In an over-saturated market, you need to stay relevant and on top of your game, making clients want to work with your agency over all the others out there.
Ora: Since I've stepped into the creative industry, I've been inspired by women. There are so many stereotypes about how women can't work together. But I look at the women that I've worked and continue to work with, and I realise just how much we're changing that narrative. And that's a good place to be. I'm honoured to be a part of that evolution.
Zapriana: This is an industry that’s very dynamic and always presents opportunities to learn new skills. It’s also an industry which requires you to wear different hats depending on the task at hand, so I’m always pushed outside of my comfort zone, which keeps things exciting.
Nonhlanhla: The perception is that women can’t cope in a high-pressure space where decisions need to be made even in unlikely circumstances, while producing exceptional and inventive work. This isn’t a perception held by men only, but by some female peers as well.
Zanthè: I think the same challenges are true across the board for all industries affecting females and that is ensuring that there is equal pay offered between men and women in the same role in your specific industry. Secondly, managing the challenge of how you balance life being a wife, an active mom (without letting someone else raise your kids) and a professional in your industry; specifically in industries that often require long hours and overtime.
Ora: I struggled a lot with getting agencies to realise that I had something to offer. So getting your foot in the door can be quite challenging, and I'm learning that staying in once you've found your place inside isn't a walk in the park either. Because this is such an evolving industry, if you struggle to move with it, you're going to get left behind.
Zapriana: This industry can be very demanding in terms of your time and attention. Many young women struggle to set firm boundaries, and take on enormous amounts of work to “keep the peace” in their workplaces. Closely linked to this is a hesitance to ask for what they’re worth in terms of salary, benefits and so on. It can also be an industry that presents you with moral dilemmas, in terms of the products you’re promoting or the advertising methods you may feel pressured to use.
Nonhlanhla: Do not be intimidated by the number of men in the industry or by their grunts. Instead, lean on your feminine energy, even if it is easily patronised and underestimated. Your strengths lie in your feminine strengths such as being adaptive, resilient and dynamic…all the characteristics needed to be creative. Also never apologise for it. Often the people who make history, swim upstream.
Zanthè: Work hard, banish the thought of handouts and expectations and have great work ethic. I once read that "work ethic is the one thing that speaks for you when you aren't in the room" and I think that is so powerful to remember to always do things properly and to the best of your ability and not opt for the easy shortcut or be sloppy in your work. Women are the future, women are powerful, women can break the glass ceiling and then lend a hand to help other women do the same.
Ora: Be resilient. Sometimes our biggest downfall as female creatives is being okay with taking "no" for an answer. Be okay with starting from the bottom and working your way up. There's so much to learn from the industry. Allow yourself the privilege to learn and grow.
Zapriana: Stand your ground and know your worth. Learn to say no, set firm boundaries and don’t stay silent in any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Aim to find a work environment that appreciates your talents and respects your input. Finally, prioritise your mental health- it’s easy to burn out if you aren’t taking care of yourself, and this can create a negative spiral in both your professional and personal life.
To all the young women entering the digital marketing environment, we hope these insights have been helpful for you and that this Women’s Day leaves you feeling empowered and energised.
10. 15. 2020