Noel Anderson studied Digital Marketing as a distance learner at The University of Salford and was part of the Class of 2020. Alongside studying for his Master’s degree in marketing, Noel was also launching his startup business, Nerd Digital, which is named after his family members Noel, Elliott, Rachel and Daisy.

Noel’s journey to The University of Salford wasn’t necessarily the conventional approach you’d expect of filling in the application on UCAS and eagerly awaiting a reply, but rather he was partnered with the university by the Digital Marketing Institute to study for a Master’s degree – which Noel says was a stroke of genius. “It combined the ultra-modern approach to distance learning that the DMI developed, along with the grounding of an academic institution, with the prestige and heritage that commands.”

The Digital Marketing Institute allowed Noel to study at Salford, from a distance, and launch his startup business at the same time putting the theory into practice. Noel said: “As I was a start-up business owner, my time was precious. However, taking the time to learn is also critical. I found the way that the programme was organised to be invaluable. The study guides, agenda, regular check-in points were excellent.”

Noel studying with an abundance of books

After leaving Salford, Noel created a digital marketing agency, which is called Nerd Digital. The operation began from his kitchen table, but now is a strong team of seven ‘digital experts’ who help clients working in the start-up sector, but also those in healthcare and working for charities, and have recently signed up TV personality, Sarah Crabtree to their roster.

Nerd Digital has already achieved great success after they won ‘Best Small SEO Agency in the South East’ at the Prestige Awards. Noel and the team have also recently launched a new product in the classic car auction space alongside Sarah Crabtree, which is shortlisted for a Chartered Institute of Marketing award for Best New Product or Service 2023.

Noel is ambitious for the future of Nerd Digital after doubling the business in the last financial year and retaining over 80% of the company’s clients. Noel said: “Our vision is to become the number one family-run digital marketing agency in the UK, that is focused on helping clients who want to make the world a better place.

“Our projects include helping people with rare diseases to improve their lives, bringing classical music teaching into inner-city schools, promoting an innovative event around rewilding urban environments, to name but a few.

“Purpose-driven marketing is what we are about. We want to continue doing this, and who knows, maybe the younger letters in Nerd, Elliott (son) and Daisy (daughter) might take it over…”

Noel felt that getting a master’s degree was really important to him. He said current and future students should seize the opportunities available to them: “It’s a privilege to be able to enter into any further education. My main message is this – follow the agenda and programme set by the institution. They know what they are doing, listen to them … don’t try to be a smart arse!”

Thanks, Noel for sharing your story with us. If you have a story to share with The University of Salford email