How did you get into digital marketing?

I always liked the idea of working in the media. My first role in the media was with ncjMedia, or as they are better known, The Chronicle and Journal in Newcastle. I worked across various teams there and that really whet my appetite for digital marketing. I was amazed that you could directly figure out the return on investment through analytics and from then I was hooked.

I moved to a firm called Mediaworks which at the time was a small but scaling business with big ambitions and I really learned a great deal specifically about SEO. Then I moved into wider digital marketing aspects of paid Google Ads and social media before going on to start, and recently exit, my own digital marketing business, Digital Allies. 

Who or what inspires you?

It may be cliche but my wife and two children. I love to spend time with them, and they teach me things about the nuances of digital for their so-called Generation Alpha. I never grew up with digital as a child (I know, I’m getting on!) so helping them navigate the incredibly tricky minefield of ‘always on comms and devices’ keeps me on my toes.  

What advice would you give to anyone interested in getting into digital marketing?

The best thing to do in my opinion is to get stuck in and gain some experience. Then specialise. There are many great qualifications available, such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing courses, and they are a vital part of career development, however, I would juxtapose these qualifications with some hands-on real-world experience. It really helps a CV stand out when sifting through many that get sent.

There is a significant shortage of skilled specialists across the more technical aspects of digital and development, as well as data specialisms so I would suggest focusing on these for long-term career prospects and earning potential. 

What is your favourite part of your job?

The thing I love most about what I do is the variety of clients and people I get to work with. From businesses that manufacture rolls of tape to start-up businesses delivering innovative new ways of doing things, to the more established businesses. I find helping them and more importantly, teaching them how to do digital well is probably the most rewarding element for me.

Everything I know is on the internet. There is nothing you can’t find out. The key is in being able to decipher what’s important and apply it in a pragmatic way and in doing so generating a positive impact is a real kick for me!

 What has been your most memorable moment to date relating to your business journey?

The most memorable moment must be meeting Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis. At the time I worked with a client called Value My Stuff who gained investment on Dragons’ Den. They had gone through a major business refocus and I met them as part of the business relaunch, which as a Dragons’ Den fanboy was a brilliant moment!

 What are your favourite magazines?

As much as I am a digital marketing advocate, you can’t beat the touch, feel, and smell of a freshly printed magazine. I like to read the local specialist publishers as we have a great scene with Luxe Magazine, Northeast Times, Portfolio North, and Northern Insight.

On a more national level, I tend to read car magazines such as What Car? and the Radio Times every Christmas.

 What does the future hold for Steven Parker?

That’s a question I’ve been pondering for a while. I love what I’m doing right now which is to help organisations at every level with their digital marketing plans.

Add in some mentoring for the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, associate work for IA Growth, non-exec work with Seller Presto, lecturing for the Chartered Institute of Marketing through NESMA, along with my work over at the Beacon of Light it’s a packed and varied mix of work that I’m really enjoying.

I’ll carry on with that for now and who knows what will happen, but I do have the itch to grow a business again
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