In the early 2010s, Harry Murrell was pursuing a B.A. in music at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. When a song he wrote with his band was chosen as the best of his class, he received an incredible reward: a one-on-one meeting with none other than Sir Paul McCartney.
“It was an awesome end to the experience, and he gave great advice that I felt was an amazing base for getting me where I am now in content creation,” Harry explained.
But even after graduating and undergoing such an incredible musical experience, Harry felt something was missing. While running a family music business that offers live performances, original music, and private lessons, he found himself searching for a way to earn more modern skills that could expand his career options, while at the same time engaging his love of creative expression. More specifically, he was curious to explore the process of using storytelling to convert audiences in a business context.
As a natural storyteller, Harry realized that digital marketing was the perfect segue into a promising new career. After doing some research, he decided that The Digital Marketing Boot Camp at UNC-Chapel Hill could offer him the skills he needed to make a switch.
Learning to tell stories that convert audiences
Throughout his boot camp experience, Harry worked part-time at a golf course, performing a myriad of duties both on the grass and on the operations side of the business. On boot camp days, his class would start around 6:30 p.m., at which point Harry would shift gears away from golfing to prepare for a vital learning experience.
“I was constantly in this mode of learning with a community of students who all wanted to tell their story through marketing and learn business skills,” said Harry. “It was fascinating being around like-minded people from different industries who were all learning the same thing.”
By collaborating with similarly motivated business owners who had unique experiences in different industries, Harry was able to glean a number of important insights — and build connections he continues to cherish today.
Marketing his learnings to engaged listeners
Harry relished the opportunity to dive headfirst into homework assignments and lecture presentations, which taught him the details of digital marketing in numerous contexts. For example, learning how to navigate the complex world of Google Ads was foundational in preparing Harry to master other crucial areas of advertisement analytics.
“The entire course was like this umbrella for each section of digital marketing,” said Harry. “The group projects were great, too, because no one was unbelievably good at everything in digital marketing, so we all had to give our best and learn from each other.”
One of Harry’s group projects that was a particularly beneficial learning experience revolved around social media marketing through the lens of Facebook ads. Through this project, he and his team learned how to tailor advertising campaigns to particular demographics such as age and geography. In doing so, Harry was able to clearly see how marketing takeaways could positively benefit his family’s music business.
Life as a musician had already prepared Harry to passionately express ideas to large crowds, which can be a large barrier for many marketers to overcome. But Harry believes the boot camp’s emphasis on communal education offered him a soft skill he hadn’t previously mastered, even after being mentored by a Beatle: the ability to watch and learn from peers.
“As a business owner, I’m so used to trying to do everything on my own,” Harry explained. “But working with others was a great opportunity to improve my digital marketing knowledge and learn soft skills in communication.”
Merging golf and storytelling to start a new career
Harry was keen to take advantage of the boot camp’s career services from the moment he walked through UNC Chapel-Hill’s digital doors. Under the guidance of his career counselors, Harry learned what hiring teams in the digital marketing space look for from candidates. He also curated a portfolio full of marketing projects — the very same ones he had developed in the boot camp.
As a lifelong golf enthusiast, Harry’s part-time work at the Quail Hollow Club golf course during his boot camp tenure was a fun way to make ends meet. But he soon realized the potential to blend his love for the sport with his new digital marketing skills — and point his career in an exciting new direction.
Weeks before graduation, Harry came across an opportunity that accomplished that very goal. Throughout the interview process, Harry was delighted to be able to discuss in detail the information he had learned during the boot camp. His excitement confirmed that a position as a content coordinator with the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) was right for him.
Bridging the gap between sports and marketing analytics
In his new role, Harry edits a weekly golf business magazine, co-produces a podcast, and creates original content for the company’s social media channels. He even gets to code once in a while, and anticipates being more involved with developing ad campaigns in the future.
Harry’s efforts help NGCOA offer golf course owners educational content on a variety of relevant managerial duties. For every piece of content his team publishes, Harry leverages his digital marketing learnings to analyze whether content fulfills predetermined objectives and meets key performance indicators. “I think the kinds of plans that we write up really help me think about each job differently,” explained Harry. “They allow us to be strategic about how that content will help the company grow.”
While this content coordinator position diverges in some ways from Harry’s musical roots, both areas engage Harry’s passion for creativity and storytelling. Harry believes this incredible opportunity that aligns so closely with his interests was only made possible by the digital marketing boot camp — and recalls a memory that affirms this belief.
“I glanced over at my boss’s computer one day and saw a display of one of my campaign planning projects from the boot camp, which made me really happy,” he shared. “It was very fulfilling to know that not only did my plan work, but my project was even looked at to understand my particular skills and help me get the kind of job I was looking for.”
If you’re ready to take the first steps toward a world that’s completely new to you, try UNC-Chapel Hill Boot Camps in digital marketing, product management, data analytics, and more.