OMD’s Chief Digital Officer Sian Whitnall: “Your Career Learning Needs To Be A Constant Evolution”

OMD’s Chief Digital Officer Sian Whitnall: “Your Career Learning Needs To Be A Constant Evolution”
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It may not feel like it now, but, soon, hopefully, COVID-19 will be a distant and sorry memory.

But as we twiddle our thumbs waiting for a vaccine, there’s probably no better time at the moment to “vaccinate” your career than upskilling. Because, let’s face it, that Netflix binge can wait.

And if you work in marketing, keeping abreast of the myriad of new technologies, ways of working and processes is like a hungry bear that needs constant feeding.

Thankfully, Open Colleges offers an easy, affordable and accessible array of courses to keep the modern marketer at the pinnacle of their game.

You can check out Open Colleges’ huge range of general marketing and social marketing courses here.

Since it was launched in mid-2018, some 520 people have enrolled in the Diploma of Social Media Marketing course, while there’s been a 29 per cent spike – some 1349 students – in the take-up of courses across the business portfolio since the start of the pandemic in March.

In our ever-changing, advancing world, where technology moves at an astoundingly fast rate and the jobs our children will be stepping into are nothing more than a concept at present, how do you make sure marketers are ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow?

It can be a tough question to answer, especially in the wake of our changing COVID-19 economy.

But the answer lies in developing your general capabilities and key competencies for a 21st century world.

One adland heavyweight who’s a strong advocate of constantly upskilling your career skills is OMD’s Sydney-based chief digital officer, Sian Whitnall; particulary in the ever-evolving marketing and digital spheres.

According to Whitnall, it’s simply impossible to know everything; however, what continued learning does is it enables marketers to have the right conversations with experts within your organisation that probably do have the answers.

In a video interview with Open Colleges (which you can watch in its entirety above), Whitnall describes her career learning arch as an “art” as, she adds, “nobody is a finished article”.

Whitnall explains: “In my role I’m a generalist, I’m not a specialist and that means I need the skills to ask the right question to get the information I really need.

“Learning needs to be a constant evolution. I need to be always upskilling myself and the way that I do that varies depending on the tasks.

“There are some tasks where you have to go back to the textbooks but there are other times where you need to tap into your network of peers. I really value the network of people that I surround myself with and it provides an opportunity to really dig into problems with specialists that you work with,” Whitnall says.

Whitnall’s advice for young and aspiring marketers is three-fold. One: hone your communication skills to be able to relay complex information simply. Two: be curious; ask plenty of questions. Three: Ambition is great but it’s also about tenure and experience.

“[Young marketers] can climb the ranks quickly but you’re going to be missing out on a whole lot of learning and steps along the way,” Whitnall explains. “I don’t think I understood that starting out and now looking back at it I wouldn’t be where I am without the experiences I had along the way. So, temper your ambition and make time for experience.”

Another advantage to upskilling is it makes you job ready no matter the employment conditions.

According to McCrindle Research, the average Australian will stay in the same job for 3.3 years before moving on.

This trend is influenced by a number of factors, but it also reinforces that fact that continuous upskilling is what’s needed to stay relevant. This, combined with the rate technology evolves at, is why it’s more important than ever to future-proof your career.

Education and study are the best ways to ensure your skills remain relevant and that you’re staying ahead of the curve.

Open Colleges offers a number of online courses across a range of fields—whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time, are switching careers or want to upskill and get a promotion.

Sian Whitnall concludes: “When digital marketing is as its best is when it’s not thought of as digital marketing. My own personal belief is that digital is just one part of the marketing ecosystem and everything has to work together to get the best output and outcome.

“So some future trends to look out for is that technology will continue to be an enabler and consumers do not think by channel and so marketers can’t be defined by or pigeonholed into a channel either. So there’s going to be this bigger shift to more holistic thinking and technology is going to be the biggest driver of that,” Whitnall says.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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