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From our Depsters February 26, 2019

From client facing specialist to happy generalist


Fieke Ripping, Head of Marketing NL at Dept, swapped careers simply by asking. After working for multiple companies in various positions, she started at Dept five years ago and it has been a great fit ever since.

Behind the scenes

Before Fieke started working at Dept, she worked as a PR consultant for one and a half years. Even though her daily tasks were quite interesting, it didn’t feel like the right match. She didn’t like that PR felt like a guessing game, it was hard to grasp the impact of your efforts. She pondered whether she was fit for working in the spotlight, such as directly with clients, or whether she preferred to work behind the scenes making the magic happen.

‘I decided to take the risk.’

A new opportunity arose when the owner of Expand Online offered her a traineeship as an SEA consultant. Expand Online was known as an online marketing agency, focused on campaigns, Google Ads, social media and SEO. Fieke had little experience with online marketing back then and was responsible for clients from day one which made her job challenging. “Yet, I decided to take the risk!” she says.

Looking back, she describes many of her projects as exciting and liberating as you are in charge of every aspect. Yet, that also means a lot of responsibility. One case, related to Air Traffic Control, stands out to her as it was an enormous learning opportunity where she was able to coordinate with two other agencies. ‘Within the intensive collaboration with the Air Traffic Control, we worked with a very ambitious target. However, at the same time, we got a lot of opportunities to test innovative digital marketing solutions across an array of different channels. Together with other agencies and the client, we basically got the chance to make adjustments in many digital elements, such as the website, advertisements and even the recruitment process.’

A merge that brought a change of winds

When Expand Online merged with TamTam, Fieke started working with Marjan, who at the time was a marketing manager. Though Fieke already had some marketing experience, the focus at Expand Online was on performance and data. When she worked with Marjan, Fieke learned a lot more about branding and visual identity. This opened a new door of opportunities for Fieke, who started working part-time with Marjan and Marlien. ‘When TamTam and Expand Online merged, I met Marjan, the Marketing Manager at the time. From the first introduction onwards, I noticed that I was always looking forward to those limited marketing hours.’ She thrived in that environment and wanted more.

After taking a personality test provided by HR which confirmed that Fieke’s strong suits were better suited for behind the scenes functions, she approached Marjan asking to be a full-time member of the marketing team. ‘I had never thought of switching careers, however, after meeting Marjan and working with her I realised that this was truly the perfect job for me. I shifted career paths and I have no regrets about doing so.’

‘Once I realised I could just initiate a horizontal move myself, I did.’

Day to day business

After two years in the marketing team, she grew to the role of the Head of Marketing in the Netherlands at Dept. This means, she now operates as the team leader; coordinating a team of people to ensure that the weekly aims match the overall company strategy. She also ensures that the Dept style and brand image is consistent internationally on all marketing channels. ‘It really feels like we are doing the work together to make Dept a better company. It’s about the team, the people you work with that can make the difference.’

‘Three years ago I had 50 colleagues, now I have a thousand.’

Dept is a fast-growing company. ‘Three years ago I had 50 colleagues, now I have a thousand.’ Fieke comments. In this fast-paced environment, Fieke feels at home working a challenging yet rewarding job. In addition, she enjoys the working environment and her colleagues. Proven by the daily smirk on her face.

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