Careers – The Web Marketer

Dominic Ready works in web marketing for the academic publishers Cambridge University Press.

Dom at work at Cambridge University Press
Dom at work at Cambridge University Press

What did you study at University?

I studied English at Queens College, Cambridge

And what do you do now?.

I help co-ordinate the online marketing at Cambridge University Press. I’ve just taken up this job (I’ve just moved from a job marketing academic books in the humanities, also at C.U.P.).

The website is a particularly important area of marketing as people judge the company solely on how easy the site is to find, navigate and use. You also have to be aware of the other websites available, as these are all competing for the customer’s attention. It’s my job to look at what our customers like and dislike about our site, and improve it. It’s made so interesting and complex by the fact that our customers range from libraries, bookshops, individual buyers (like you or me), as well as journalists, and academics interested in reviewing our books – not to mention our authors – and all these people want slightly different things from the site. Website performance will also depend on the server and browser used, and on factors such as whether our customers are visually impaired – so there’s more to website design and structure than making it look pretty!

I’ve worked in marketing for a while, but online marketing is a new challenge – which is exactly why i wanted to do the job. I like to keep challenging myself, and to keep learning new skills. I’m enjoying researching the web and web marketing. We’re also setting up ‘mini-sites’ for special books – for example, we recently published a book that challenges many of the assumptions people make about the environment, and the green house effect – and it has generated a lot of interest in the media. People want to be able to log-on to find out what the fuss is all about, and what different journalists and scientists are saying, so a mini-site is ideal to convey this sort of information.
We’ve set up a discussion forum specially for his book, so that all our readers can also contribute to the debate.

How has your English degree helped you with your job?

Doing any degree develops a whole range of skills, which might not be tangible,
but are often all the more important in your career. I think the most important
skills I developed during the course of my English degree were the analytical
skills – being able to question things constructively. Whatever you do as a
career, it’s important to keep asking yourself why things are done the way they
are, and whether the way they’re currently done is best. You need to assess
the way that you do your job, and not assume that things are necessarily right.
When people phone up telling you that a job is urgent, step back and think about
whether it really is that important. Of course, it’s these analytical skills
which are vital for my current job, where I’m analysing our website and researching
how to improve it.

What’s your advice to young people doing their GCSEs and A-levels?

If there’s a dream job you want to do, the best way into it can often be quite convoluted! A lot of people want to work as an editor or in marketing at a particular company, and only apply for those jobs. I knew I wanted to work in marketing at Cambridge University Press, so I took a job in the customer service department there. It was a great way to learn about publishing, and about customer service in general. When a job came up in marketing, i had an advantage in already knowing about the systems used within the company, and in knowing the people in that department. My advice would be to think about where you want to be long term, and don’t worry if you have to move around a lot in order to get to that goal. If you’re not sure what you want to do long term, try out different jobs – maybe try temporary work in a number of different areas. Good luck!