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15.05.16 / Architects of next: Meet the marketing future, today / Sedge Beswick, ASOS

You don’t meet many people called Sedge. Nor many people like Sedge, for that matter. Social media, trainer-obsessive, Northern fashion gadget heads don’t come around too often. But they’re undeniably cool.

Sedge could easily be the face of the emerging generation of senior marketers, who focus on evidence, people, and therefore results at scale. Her current role, as Global senior social & community manager at ASOS, is testament to that, having shaped and grown a social marketing programme which provides benchmarks for effectiveness and evidence-based creativity.

She began studying Fashion Marketing and Communications BA Hons at Nottingham Trent before beginning working life at Red Bull, embracing mobile at Three UK, before beginning her ASOS stint. It’s probably not coincidence that all are brands lauded for their consumer-orientated, content-focussed and socially-driven marketing programmes.

Understanding the user mindset takes many forms. Whilst her gig-going, sneaker-collecting lifestyle is certainly attuned to some of the ASOS demographic, she notes “ Personally, I just like trying things and learning what works, what doesn’t, what consumers relate to and switch off from.“ The blending of personal and professional is something a newer marketing generation often showcase as a positive, away from the traditional work/personal distinctions. She finds serious motivation in “getting more people working in our industry and helping students to realise the job opportunities and potential that’s out there to kick off their careers in the right way”.

There are frequent platitudes made about how fast moving social media is. Sedge has lived some of that firsthand: “Well, when I started it was all about Facebook and blogging… now look at the social ecosystem! The platform that fascinates me the most right now is Snapchat – market share/monetising from the off is pretty groundbreaking for a social network. The way they’re taking unconventional approaches to brand presence(s) is significant. As is the fact Facebook is learning and taking successful features into the biggest platform of all with features like User codes and Live streaming.”

When it comes to myths which need debunking, she’s clear: “The idea that YouTube is for video is overly simplistic. Video is more fragmented than it’s ever been and an interesting one for people working in social – just think about the following: Snapchat, Instagram – Boomerang, 15/60 second videos, Hyperlapse etc… Video provides huge challenges and opportunities, but can’t be simplified just to YouTube (great as it is).”

People often discuss the role of side-projects as routes for people to exercise their creativity beyond just their day jobs. “I’ve always firmly believed in it. I do some mentoring/lecturing on the side, I wrote a book (140 Ultimate Twitter LOLs) and started a social slogan clothing label (@SRSLYsocial) .” That sort of passion is what makes a difference when it comes to depth of understanding in driving creative, user-led social approaches. As is a personal routine which lives and breathes social over the trappings of traditional corporate life: “My day looks something like: Instagram > Snapchat > Twitter > Facebook > Email > Instagram (then Instagram 701 times throughout the day) “.

Perhaps a fitting conclusion to underline the generational shift she represents is when pushed for the thing which frustrates her most: “trying to run meetings whilst everyone is scrolling their Instagram feed”. The future’s not coming, it’s already here. And the face of its marketing probably looks a lot like Sedge.

If you want to get ahead, read/do:

  • Top twitter follow: amznmovierevws
  • Top Instagram follow: Danmedhurst or thecoolhunter_
  • Productive habit: If you see me chewing my hair… i’m on fire! Other than that, it’s white paper and post-it notes… everywhere!
  • Unproductive habit: Trying to get all of my emails below 12 (the fold on Microsoft) before doing any actual work… gets me every time
  • Favourite brand: Nike. Nike. Nike. BUT, socially, Tastemade (if only I could cook!)

This is our #ArchitectsOfNext series, where we aim to inspire others with firsthand insight into how people shaping innovative digital engagement models think and deliver their work.

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