Lydia Crossley (Marketing, 2006, Lonsdale) shares a story from her time at Lancaster and reflects on how important those early values have been in shaping her career in marketing.
My time at Lancaster was everything I hoped it would be, from an incredible degree at the Management School to meeting fantastic people and experiencing that sense of collective belonging and pride that is so central to Lancaster University.
When I look at what drives me today as a founder building my own marketing agency – there is a memory I have of my time at Lancaster that always makes me feel as full of passion and energy now, as I did almost 20 years ago…
Back in October 2004, I was a BSc Marketing student sat in a lecture at the old Lonsdale side of campus – with my many files and quite probably a rolled-up parka under my seat. I listened as our lecturer said he was about to announce the brands we would have the chance to work with directly in our final year marketing consultancy project:
“Each brand team will have eight places, the sign-up list will be pinned up in the George Fox building after this lecture, first come, first served, but there’s enough places for everyone on a project”.
As the brands started to be read out, a buzz of noise began to rise up with anticipation, in a room full of excited young marketers, I knew I had to be ready for action when I heard the one I wanted, “Reebok”.
I began to discreetly pack up my files and get ready to run, clearly on this occasion slowly shuffling out of a lecture was not going to cut it. As the lecture ended, I ran down the Lancaster spine as fast as my legs could carry me, to George Fox, arriving at the notice board triumphantly pen in hand, I signed up, first name on the list for the project. It was every bit like ‘The Apprentice’ as it sounds.
A few weeks later when I was sat in the brand’s head office as a 20-year-old marketing student listening to our brief from two of Reebok’s Marketing Managers, it felt absolutely worth it. The project was one of the best learning experiences I had at Lancaster and I knew then that the fire I had for marketing was one that my time at university would play a big part in.
My Alumni journey
All these years on, I might not run as fast, but I have definitely still got that fire and I’ve had a brilliant ride throughout my career. Having the determination, passion and drive for results in marketing is just as important as holding the expertise to carry it through. It was certainly a privilege to learn all that and more at Lancaster.
As a founder of my own marketing agency, Good Morning Digital, I work with some fantastic clients across the UK and beyond, from leading tourist attractions, to universities, National Parks, fashion brands, artists, retailers and more. Every day is different and that’s why I love it so much.
My route to creating a marketing agency began client side - straight from graduation I dived into my first Marketing Assistant role quite literally, for a sport and leisure organisation based in the Lake District. It was a chance to build a brand from the ground up and I stayed doing just that for over seven years, working my way through positions until I joined the Senior Management Team and became a CIM Chartered Marketer.
It was a fabulous place to start a marketing adventure and I was lucky enough to be working in sport during the London 2012 Olympics, a true one-off opportunity to boost sports participation in this country.
Following on from that I spent time in education marketing with Lancaster and Morecambe College, I discovered so much more about vocational opportunities such as apprenticeships through to leading student recruitment campaign and, as well as being a sector experience to add to my list, it was a great learning curve for a young manager leading a team.
Onwards to agency side and one of Lancaster’s own creative innovations in the city itself – Fat Media, a digital agency and a place where I was surrounded by talent and a team spirit that could and did ‘win’ almost everything, from clients to awards, to friends. Many of those friends are still right by my side supporting Good Morning Digital from the sidelines. For all marketers, spending time inside an agency is a great way to gain a fully rounded perspective of the industry.
After Fat Media, I jumped into a pair of wellies and headed off to Lake District National Park, where I stayed for over six years as Marketing Manager. My focus at the Park initially was joining the team on the UNESCO World Heritage Bid campaign – something that saw an incredible effort between 2014-17 in a marketing and communications sense - but much before that for many people within the wider National Park team, it was certainly a great moment when the status was given the green light in 2017.
I stayed with the National Park and enjoyed leading commercial marketing with a focus on digital innovation, brand storytelling and pushing the level of results in terms of revenue generation and wider engagement year on year, until taking my next step in 2021.
Taking the leap from a job I loved and starting my own business was a big decision. It was going to be either ‘one day’ or ‘day one’.
I chose the second option and I’m so pleased that I did. To be almost three years into Good Morning Digital and meeting the ambitions I set at the start of the journey, I couldn’t be more pleased with the way it has developed.
I look forward to building my team with people who share that passion for marketing and the drive needed to make it succeed. I truly hope some of those will be the Lancaster graduates of tomorrow. "Back to News