Me&MyJob: Every day is a school day in advertising
Dana-Marie McCracken, Managing Director, Blue Cube
What does your job entail?
I manage the day to day operations of Blue Cube which includes all the tasks that go with managing a medium sized business — we have a team of 20 in our Belfast office so my role includes management of resources and people, new business development and financial management.
From a client facing perspective I oversee the management of all our client accounts, develop digital strategies and monitor our creative output. Working with AV Browne [our parent agency] I also provide strategic digital direction on integrated campaigns for clients such as NITB, Invest NI, Power NI and BT.
Is it 9-5?
No, it’s flexible, dependent on what I am working on whether it’s a pitch or a client campaign. I have worked in advertising for the past 11 years so I am well conditioned to the demands of the industry, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
How did you get into this line of work?
As a teenager I helped my older sister with a series of focus groups for her Masters Thesis on advertising ethics and I got the bug.
When selecting a degree course in upper sixth I looked for something that would provide a gateway into the industry. Whilst studying CAM [Communications, Advertising & Marketing] at UUJ, the directors of a new digital advertising agency, Adculture presented a guest lecture on digital advertising.
When I graduated I applied for a research assistant position with Adculture and was successful.
Outline your career to date.
I spent a year with Marks & Spencer as a trainee manager during my placement year from university. M&S provide fantastic training and I developed great commercial and professional acumen from my year with them.
After graduating in 2000 I joined Adculture as a research assistant. Over a number of years my role grew and I became an account manager and then operations manager.
In 2004 the AV Browne Group established Bluecube Interactive to provide digital services to their client portfolio. I joined Blue Cube as operations director, in 2009 I was appointed deputy managing director and have just recently become managing director.
Tell us about your qualifications/|training.
I have a First Class Hons Degree in Communications, Advertising and Marketing. I am very privileged to have started working in the digital industry when it was really only emerging and I have seen the boom and the bust.
Training is on the job and it changes all the time as new platforms emerge and technologies change. Luckily I have a fantastic team built around me and we learn a great deal from each other — every day is a school day.
What qualities are required for your job — personal and professional?
I would say the most important personal quality required for a role such as mine is passion. I love what I do and feel incredibly lucky to work in such a fantastic industry.
That said, it can be fast paced, competitive and demanding and it is the drive and ambition that stems from this passion that keeps me going — when you are still in the office at 11pm at night and don't question why, then you are in the right job. One of the most important and often overlooked professional qualities required for this job is good writing and presentation skills — I have recruited a lot over the years and have discovered it is a rare quality.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am married with a toddler and a seven-month-old baby so spare time is family time. I am also a Zumba fanatic.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I am a farmer’s daughter with a phobia of cows.
Who has inspired you most in your life?
I have to say my parents.
My dad has always had a lot |of drive and ambition, building |a great business and giving me the belief that I can do anything that I set my mind to. My mum really is an incredible woman with a fantastic ability to get things done, and is always un-phased.