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ARMLife Interview with Daria Smith

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I’m originally from Moscow, Russia, but I moved to Dubai at 13 years old to complete my GCSEs there. At 16 I then went off to boarding school in the UK to do my A-levels in Framlingham. I decided to stay in the UK to go to University in Canterbury and did a BSc degree in Marketing. After completing my degree, I decided to push myself further, and pursue a master’s degree. I came across a degree in Marketing at Brunel University. It was more focused on branding and PR, in comparison to my bachelor’s degree, so I decided to go ahead and enrol there.

How did you get into the media industry?
I actually became really interested at a young age. In Dubai, they have their own Media City area, and during in my GCSEs I had a week of work experience to complete and I was very keen to get to do it in media. My mum drove me to the Media City, and I started to knock on doors of all the offices in advertising, TV, publishing, etc. I got very lucky as a production company specialising in making music and advertising videos took me on board for my week of work experience. I got to see a number of client meetings and learn about video production. I loved it and that was what made me want to study marketing later on. I already knew I was interested in media and that’s what I wanted to do.

How did you come across All Response Media?
After completing University I moved to Norwich where my parents now live, but I really wanted to get back to London, so I was looking for a job here and came across All Response Media. I was applying for agency roles as I felt it would be the best suited for me since it’s a fast paced environment and we have the opportunity to work on different accounts. On the day I had my interview it was my Dad’s birthday and he said it would be the best present if I got the job and I did! It will be my 3rd year next month.

What’s a typical day like for you as Senior SEO and Content Executive?
I found for the past year I’ve been getting more involved in conversion rate optimization (CRO). I’ve managed two clients for their CRO – changing design variations on the site and carrying out heat map tests. I will analyse the results of all the tests of the heat map analysis, user journey, etc. and then make sure the findings are implemented on the site. I also help with a few client’s SEO, looking at keyword ranking, reporting and outreach activity to bloggers and influencers. I oversee all aspects of SEO and CRO for clients, including the technical side. Since last summer I have also started to be more involved in new business pitches, and I see myself doing more of that type of client-facing activities.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?
The team and the people as well as the whole atmosphere of All Response Media. My team have helped me develop so much in my role here, and the social life of the office has been really fun. I like how open it is and I feel comfortable talking to anyone and everyone no matter what level.

I also love to see how my hard work pays off in the positive results of the clients I work with.

What’s your most memorable moment at All Response Media so far?
I always enjoy the Christmas parties and away days. I like how they keep it a secret and how you find out on the day what we’re doing. On my fist away day, we all went to Norwich. It was quite nostalgic for me to go back there now having a job and with my colleagues. The second company away day was in Dublin and that was awesome too, especially since I love Guinness.

Another memorable moment was being part of a new business pitch this past November and winning the client. It felt like I had reached a new step and it was exciting for me to see how far I had come now that I had my first client win. It also felt really good to see everyone who had supported me and train me to see that and be proud.

What would your advice be to anyone starting out in the media industry?
Show your interest and ask lots of questions. When you do know something demonstrate your knowledge. That’s something I made sure I did when I first arrived at All Response Media and it really helped me develop.

If you could work in any other department or team which one would it be and why?
I would work in the marketing team! I did all my studies in marketing at University, and I know it’s something I enjoy already. Looking at the company’s website performance is similar to what I do with clients. I also think it’s interesting getting to carry out these ARMLife interviews while getting to know everyone around the office.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you have and why?
UV sunscreen protection because safety first! The second one would be my own Wilson from Cast Away, ha! The third would be a notebook and a pen so that I can write about my island adventures. It would be my diary on a deserted island. Hopefully then when I get back, I could sell it as a book.

If you could compare yourself to any animal which would it be and why?
I see myself most like a monkey – My Chinese zodiac sign is the monkey and I think how it’s labelled is a good description of myself – cheerful, positive and cheeky.

What’s your favourite thing to do in London in your spare time?
I love exploring the city and visiting new areas, it’s one of the best things about London. However, I do love going to Soho – I just love the bars and cafes there, and there are always new places opening up there.