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Practical Marketing Skills: Susan Farrow

Susan Farrow from SmartMatching attended the Practical Marketing Skills and later went on to complete the Digital Fundamentals course achieving a Level 3 CIM qualification.

This course is delivered through the Smart and Inclusive Leadership project, which is funded by the European Social Fund. Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is pleased to offer free (fully funded) places on this course to support employees of small and medium businesses that are based in Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire.

This project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).

Susan Farrow (left) and course leader Di Tunney at our marketing networking event on 30 June 2022

It made me more strategic in my marketing plans, rather than my usual way which was to dive in and give it a go! Usually, we just needed marketing material done, but this just gave me a great framework to use.

Susan Farrow, Project and Operations Director at SmartMatching

Below is the written question and answer session with Susan Farrow from SmartMatching taken from a networking event held by Nottingham Trent University on 30 June 2022 to celebrate our ESF-funded marketing courses. Susan was part of a cohort on the Practical Marketing Skills course and then progressed onto the Digital Fundamentals course and achieved a level 3 CIM qualification.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?

I am Susan Farrow, my business is SmartMatching and we are partly ESF funded. We help unemployed individuals to get the skills they need to get back into work. Then we also match them with organisations, so we are able to find the jobs they want, with the organisations that are looking to recruit. In a nutshell what we do – and we’re also looking to commercialise that, which is why I’m looking to improve my marketing skills.

What first attracted you to the Practical Marketing Skills course?

My background is mainly corporate and I’ve worked with marketing teams before but my role was very operational, sales and customer service based. I used to complain about the lack of leads or the quality of them, but fast forward to now and working for a small organisation (there are only six of us), it’s now down to me to generate these leads so it’s a very different story!

I thought I knew what marketing was all about but I wasn't sure, so I did some research and there are a lot of self-confessed marketing gurus! I looked at all the webinars and was completely overwhelmed with them, but I came across this program at NTU and because it's got a foundation in academia and is delivered by two experts running SMEs themselves, I thought this course would be beneficial for me - especially because I haven’t done anything academic for a long time.

My initial thought was to do the Digital Fundamentals short course first because that’s where I thought the need was. However, when I spoke to the experts, they explained the Practical Marketing Skills course and its foundational element, and we decided that the latter course would be a better fit for me. Having done the assessment for the Digital Fundamentals course as well, there were definitely elements of the Practical Marketing Skills course that helped me – so it made sense to do it in that order.

What one thing would you pick out and say you especially liked about the course?

It helped me to start to consider the marketing environment that SmartMatching is in and the impacts of the micro and macro environments – especially with the pandemic. The course really resonated with my business being a service, I realised I needed to think about the people, the process and the physical evidence, as it was something I hadn’t considered before. They were the real standouts for me!

How much time would you say you invested into the course?

It was a morning a week and it was really enjoyable because I got to meet other people in different organisations. Some were business to business some were business to customer, some were selling products and some like us, were selling services so that was really useful for me as well, as I got to learn from my peers, as well as my tutors. It was very interactive, so it was worth that investment a morning a week. Outside of that, I did about an hour a week to reflect on what I’d been given, and then the weekend before the assessment, I made sure I went over everything to make sure I knew everything ready for the assessment.

What benefits would you say it had for your business?

Well, it made me more strategic in my marketing plans, rather than my usual way which was to dive in and give it a go! Usually, we just needed marketing material done, but this just gave me a great framework to use and it helped me to understand the concepts that I needed to consider to be more planned in my marketing campaigns.

You went on to do the Digital Fundamentals course, but what would you say to anyone about the first part of this programme?

Definitely sign up for the course! I got an awful lot from it and was able to apply what I learnt immediately to our business. Definitely do the Practical Marketing Skills course first because it gives you that foundation to do the Digital Fundamentals course on top.

How to access the support available

If you are interested in our marketing courses and would like to find out more, please take a look at our marketing courses page.