Volume five brings us an incredible contributor, Charlotte Day, Creative Director of Contentworks Agency. We’re joined by Charlotte as she speaks to us about her creative journey through marketing and how she’s leveraged her skills into the field of fintech. The most poignant element of this conversation, aside from her pure brilliance, is our key takeaway phrase for women deserving to ‘be in the room’.
This episode brings humour, lots of personality and genuine experience to uplift those working within numerous industries and roles. Charlotte’s wealth of knowledge has brought a lively interview, offering advice on topics such as career transitions, marketing, female empowerment and more. Watch the full interview here:
Could you start us off with a top layer about yourself and professional journey thus far?
My background, and actually my real love, is in English literature. Prior to hitting the corporate marketing space, I was busy writing for local newspapers, magazines and my own blog. I reviewed restaurants, theatre productions and also wrote some fiction. I was, and still am, usually found with a notepad and pen writing creatively or with my face in a good book! When I got into content marketing back in 2005, I began to take my writing skills and apply them to a digital marketing environment. I began writing for leading social media and content sites which furthered my published resume and also forced me to deeply research topics like SEO, Social Media Strategies and to follow top brands in the marketing space. The readership was advanced level so my knowledge and writing had to be too. In 2012 I entered the finance world as a content writer and spent a lot of time on finance, forex, stocks and trading courses, tutorials and training sessions. I progressed to content manager, social media marketing manager and finally in 2017 Head of Content & Social media for an established finance brand. It was at this time that I knew I had the skills and industry knowledge to team up with another industry pro and open a marketing agency specifically for the financial services space. We had a deep knowledge of the financial regulators, content to compliance/ legal process and the publishers in the industry. Now our agency Contentworks is nearly 5 years old. We work with leading finance brands, fintechs and tech providers to deliver unique and engaging finance content.
A lot of the time people don’t realise that they can transition into a new industry, and think you have to study it. How can we widen the scope so people know you don’t have to be a STEM specialist to enter the world of fintech/financial services?
I think the first thing to note is that the financial services space is now made up of numerous roles that didn’t exist 50 years ago. Roles like content manager, HR manager, social media manager, digital manager, SEO specialist and digital analytics. These specialisms are enough on their own, and we can adapt and learn the financial knowledge afterwards.
I work with clients who remember Wall Street back in the 70s before computers. It was pretty much the guys on the trading floor, their bosses and some secretaries. Today finance brands are competing in the digital landscape and there are roles available for individuals who do not have degrees or experience in finance. Finance companies are getting better at widening their scope to seek out creatives, but I think a lot are put off by working for a finance brand. The two barriers would be the belief that you need to have a deep knowledge of finance or that it would be very boring as a sector. Neither are true.
There’s often a conception that there’s no creativity in finance. How would you encourage others who are trying to shine creativity into something like fintech?
So, let’s get past the “boring barrier” and why people think that about the industry. The finance industry is heavily regulated for the protection of investors, savers, and traders. That means no “make money fast” messaging or “win a Ferrari if you deposit”. Secondly, the industry is only just onboarding creatives and creative agencies like ours so consumers might be accustomed to the previous quite boring and bland messaging. But I see the finance space as an exciting opportunity to flex your creativity within the rules. It’s a challenge. Plus, money is such an important factor to pretty much everyone. It’s the key to your dream vacation, ideal home, retirement fund and security. It’s also a space where most people are lacking education and the challenge is to provide this in a fun, engaging and non-condescending way.
What do you think the key is to being a successful woman in financial marketing, and a successful female leader?
Being confident in your own abilities and your right to be there is key. There’s no need to apologise for asking “silly questions” or for “being bossy”. You’re curious and in control, and there is nothing bad about that. I know many successful female leaders and the ones that get the best results share some similar traits. They have a deep knowledge of their subject area – for example marketing and therefore know the challenges and workloads of their team. That also means they can step in to help team members or objectively review work. They prioritise their work/life balance. That means leaving work on time, having a life outside of the office and taking care of their mental health and physical wellbeing. And lastly, they are great communicators providing clear direction to meet targets efficiently or push back on unrealistic ones.
I always take a look at myself, and question ‘how am I doing with this? Can I improve myself?’. But I do think that one of the keys to success, especially in the finance space, is being confident in your right to be there. You have every right to be there. And sometimes female stereotypes, such as being bossy, can hinder that confidence. Once you’ve established that, we can home in on the skills that we have as women – our communication, excellent ability to coordinate teams, juggle tasks and more.
Do you have tips and advice for other entrepreneurs who wish to venture out on their own?
You need to take the initiative. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, seek them out and make them happen. Once you realise the worst thing you can be told is No, then you will lose the fear. And walking the talk is important too. Having a great portfolio of work, an active blog and work published in PR sites is often worth more than on paper qualifications – certainly in the marketing space.
What advice would you give to women and girls who want to further their STEM knowledge to build a career that uses other skills, such as HR, marketing, admin, and more?
Love this! Here are my three tips:
Remember the history of women in finance – Take strength from the great women who led the way in the finance space. Muriel Siebert the first woman to hold a seat in the NYSE in 1967. Or in 1953, Lilla St. John – the first Black woman to pass the New York Stock Exchange licensing exam. These are just 2 of the hundreds who boldly stepped into the space and made their mark. Imagine how much harder it was then and they still succeeded. Today we have a much more equal playing field, training and job opportunities that we can take.
Learn to love learning –When you start out, it’s essential to be open to constructive criticism, feedback and new ideas. Follow inspirational women in your space, ask for advice, attend their webinars and read their articles. Embrace learning and change. When you work in the finance space or any area within it, there is constant change. New digital technologies, new regulator rules, new company products to learn news to adapt to. Every day is a learning day but being open to that will just make you better.
Do what you love – No really – do exactly what you love and don’t water it down. This comes from identifying who you are, what you love and what you don’t enjoy. Matching your skills and passion with the right position is key. Similarly, don’t stay in an environment that doesn’t meet your positivity and growth. Happiness is key.
With the rapid digitalisation of our current world, what trends and innovations in financial services marketing are you most excited to see?
I’m really excited to see people and brands being more authentic. For many years we saw financial directors appearing each quarter in a suit and awkwardly making a statement. Now we’re seeing teams taking part in charity initiatives, honest dialogue and hilarious TikToks. LinkedIn is a space that has really evolved in the past 2 years largely due to people working from home and the humour and bloopers that ensue. In terms of tech trends, I see things going away from paid, targeted advertising and back to authentic content. We’re also seeing finance brands address real consumer issues and streamline their fintech solutions to meet actual customer needs. Today’s finance consumers, especially in the Millennial and GenZ spaces want honest dialogue, competitive pricing and fintech that really works for them. Unlike previous generations who stayed with their bank out of loyalty, today’s consumers want to see performance. And that keeps everyone thinking forward and fresh!