Katy Ellis, account executive at experiential marketing firm Amplify, shares her journey through the games industry and offers her tips for applying for jobs.
How would you summarise your role?
Working in an account team at Amplify is all about bringing brands to life and turning consumers into fans through experiences, events and social media, all whilst making meaningful connections with the target audience. We work across all kinds of projects, be they one-off events, long-term strategic campaigns or simply a stunt.
What are your main responsibilities?
In my role I get to work across the full spectrum of project management, from the initial briefing and pitch stage, to strategic planning and creative development, right through to the live activation days and debrief, all the while developing a strong client relationship.
How did you get your job?
I've been lurking around the video games industry for a few years now, starting off at European games publisher Rising Star Games as a social media marketing assistant and later writing for reviews for Nintendo Life, then gaining the role of assistant editor at Push Square.
I've always been interested the marketing side of the industry and heard about Amplify through their work with PlayStation at the PS4 launch. After that I made up my mind that I had to work there and posted my CV to our MD Lee Avery. I was in a capsule hotel in Japan when I heard back from Lee and started my first day in the office two weeks later.
What special skills or qualifications did you need?
We work at some of the biggest gaming events in the world, including E3 and Gamescom, and our clients are some of the largest names in the gaming and technology industries with PlayStation, Turtle Beach, Sony Mobile, Google and Activision, just to name a few. This means that having an intrinsic knowledge of the industry and consumer trends is pretty crucial for my role. In terms of qualifications however a degree in marketing isn't essential, as long as you can prove how hardworking, organised and level-headed you can be, even when working under serious pressure. All the rest you can learn as you go, but keeping positive and having a can-do attitude is something that has to come naturally.
Describe a normal day. What do you do?
At Amplify there really is no such thing as a normal day. My first day at Amplify was spent in the back of a taxi with some of the lovely guys from the PlayStation UK team checking out central London venues for a launch event. Most days are generally spent in the office, planning every tiny detail of an event, but I'm frequently jumping into meetings with clients to chat through the latest plans, creative and logistics. Then again I've had days where I've been helping to present ideas to Google at their HQ, managing the Turtle Beach stand and event staff at EGX and sampling unreleased PlayStation games – all in the name of research of course.
What are the best and worst parts of your role?
The best part is definitely the live event days. Events like EGX, Paris Games Week and Gamescom don't happen overnight, and managing a project right through from the brief stages to the activation is definitely one of the most rewarding experiences. I worked very closely with Turtle Beach on a project last September and felt like a proud mum when it all came together. Obviously a lot of work goes into getting everything perfect for the big day, which can also sometimes be the worst part of the job – work hours in the experiential marketing sector can at times be very long, but when you work on exciting projects, with brands you love and arguably the best colleagues in the business, you always find yourself having a great time!
What tips would you give to someone applying for a similar position?
Find a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. There will always be people out there applying for the same position with more experience or qualifications than you. In my case I have a rather individual CV, which is designed to reflect my personality, experience and creative flair. Put yourself in the MD's shoes, it's easy to overlook an email with a ‘Job Enquiry' subject header in your inbox when you're not particularly looking for someone, but post that CV to their desk and it's hard to ignore.
What tips would you offer someone applying to work in the same field?
Demonstrating your passion for the role, clients or sector is so important during an interview process. If you can show how much knowledge you have around the clients that you may work with and keep up to date with industry news, as long as you have the right skillset, your genuine enthusiasm for the role and upcoming projects should sell itself.
What are your long-term career plans?
I absolutely love the games industry and the people within it and want to work with Amplify for as long as they'll have me. My aim in the long-run is to be the absolute best that I can be at what I do, helping and inspiring other young people who want to make their names in games and marketing. I was lucky enough to have been supported by the wonderful Sarah Burns (then Leus) from Rising Star Games in the beginning, who had the belief in me to get me to where I am now and crucially advised me to get into Twitter – I would love to one day do the same for another young person.