After working at a social media agency for five years, and keen to broaden her horizons, Jill Alger joined iCrossing in November 2019 as a Social Media Strategist. Jill spent some time getting to grips with new channels – understanding how social and influencer marketing fits in with the wider digital ecosystem; and after a year with the company her job title changed to Digital Strategist, reflecting a more holistic, multi-channel approach to the industry.
Jill sits in the Strategy & Insight team, meaning that a lot of what she does revolves around delivering research and insight which is used to shape her clients’ digital strategies. Jill confesses that she has always been nosy (or “inquisitive” according to her CV), so spending her days looking at what people are searching for, tweeting about, and posting images of, suits her down to the ground. Jill works on analysing the information she fings, translating it into strategic solutions for her clients.
Jill also oversees iCrossing’s Influencer Marketing offering, with partnership work being one of her passions. From mailing out spot cream samples to bloggers during her intern days, to signing celebrities for big brand campaigns – Jill believes it’s always gratifying seeing the impact that genuine word of mouth can have in raising brands’ profiles online.
Jill provided Talking Influence journalist, Neve Fear-Smith, with some more insight into what a day in the life of her role looks like…
7:30: I reluctantly drag myself up for either a walk or a workout. Not a bone in my body wants to, but we’re not back in the office yet so my bedroom is currently doubling-up as my work space… Doing some movement and not going straight from bed to desk helps with my sanity!
8:15: Shower and breakfast time. I’m a huge cereal addict and would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I could. During lockdown I even started making my own granola but I’m sure I’ll be reaching for the Weetabix again now that the chaos of normal life is beginning to resume.
9:00: I sit down at my desk and check through emails and Slack messages. I’m lucky to be part of an incredibly close-knit team, so we’ll usually go round and check workload and gee each other up for the day/week ahead.
9:15: It’s difficult to say what I do at this point because, as cliché as it sounds, no two days are the same. One day I might be analysing search habits around sofa shopping for a furniture retailer, the next I might be building target audience personas for ladies’ deodorant.
We work with brands across a huge range of sectors and are often pitching to new ones too, so I’m constantly immersing myself in new industries and businesses. In the last year, for example, I have become well acquainted with laundry detergent pods, stocks & shares ISAs, pneumococcal vaccinations, and IPL hair removal. Never a dull day!
11:00: In addition to our direct clients, we also do a lot of work with our parent company, Hearst. It’s always exciting being involved in briefs for brands that I’ve read and loved for years (Cosmopolitan, Elle, Good Housekeeping etc…). We’ve built some strong relationships within the Hearst Corporation, so often receive research and insights requests to help expand their service offering to sponsoring brands.
At the moment I’m working on an in-depth research report covering online trends within the food & drink category. It’s been a really interesting one to work on and has thrown-up some great nuggets of insight. For example – today I discovered that since March 2020, there has been a +250% increase in search interest for ‘Cheap alcohol online’ in the UK. If that doesn’t summarise the year we’ve had, I don’t know what will…
12:00: Recently, I’ve also been supporting the Hearst Talent Network team with their influencer and partnership planning. The network is undergoing rapid expansion so called on iCrossing to help feed into consultation and measurement opportunities. These regular catch-up calls keep us informed of open projects to see where else we can support.
13:00: Time for a break from my bedroom-come-office. I must have done the same loop of Clapham Common over 300 times since lockdown began, but I force myself out everyday for a change of scenery – usually with a podcast to help break-up the tedium of the routine.
14:00: After lunch, I’ll usually dip back into whatever research and insights brief I’m working on at that moment. Our reports can be a real labour of love and often take days, if not weeks, to perfect. This is because there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ about our approach, and every data point comes with a layer of expert commentary and is accompanied with an actionable recommendation.
Once completed, our reports go through a vigorous QA (Quality Assurance) review, before being shared with the client. At which point, we bask in the glory of completion for all of 5-minutes before making a start on the next!
16:30: Pre-covid, we had monthly ‘Town Hall’ meetings where we would celebrate agency wins and receive company updates. Since WFH, these have been upped to bi-weekly calls to help us feel a bit more connected. iCrossing are also very good at surprising us with bottles of champagne, (lethal) post-box cocktails and other nice treats which have kept us suitably motivated, and tipsy, over the last year.
17:30: Wrap-up and timesheet time… the joys of agency life!
18:00: After work I’ll either reunite with my flatmates who have also been working in their respective bedroom-come-offices, or I’ll go and meet friends for dinner/drinks.
19:30: If I haven’t eaten out, I love to cook so I’ll often take over the kitchen and get experimental with the spice drawer. Dinner is usually eaten in front of some kind of intellectual viewing (Married At First Sight).
22:00: I’ll get into bed and read my book until my face is asleep inside it.
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