ARMLife Interview with Sophie Martell
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I’m originally from Ascot and went to the University of Gloucestershire, based in Cheltenham, where I studied Marketing Management and absolutely loved it. After graduation, I saved some money and then went off travelling to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. After 5 months I ran out of money and my dad said, you need to get a job Soph!
When I was back, I started applying to a few different places and came across All Response Media. I went along to the grad day and now here I am 6 years later!
Did you start working in the social team straight away?
There was no social team at the time. We just had the digital team, it was quite small back then, with only 8 people and now it’s across most of our offices with about 45 of us!
I started as one of the newest Digital Executives. We were focusing a lot on PPC and display in the beginning and trying to grow our knowledge of online media. I was already working under one of our Associate Director’s, Maria Yiangou, who I still work with today. It was around the start of 2016 when we started to dabble more into social media at the time of working with giffgaff, and we saw there was this huge potential for us as an agency as well as for clients to start using it more. At the time I was still focusing mainly on display, Maria then came to me and said, “you are loving social how about working on growing that service?”. She gave me the opportunity to come away from display to move into social and build a team. I took the opportunity and it was just me and one grad back then. Eventually, more people joined and now we’re our own team of 4.
What’s a typical day like for you as Social Account Director?
Firstly, I make sure my team are delivering what they need for that day. The way we work is by consulting across all the social accounts. We’ll check in on different client accounts across the various sub-digital teams. Each day for us is different and with social it’s always changing and evolving so we’re constantly learning and adapting to a new format, algorithm change, etc. thus we regularly need to be across that. We do have specific clients we work on too, predominantly OnePlus. We also integrate lots of technology and look at ways to be smarter in the way we’re buying activity on social.
We speak with the offline teams as much as we can as well to see where opportunities are to help with their clients and improve their social media, therefore there is quite a bit of consulting work involved. We developed a tool called Social Sync that we were working on last year as we know about the popularity of dual screening while watching TV, therefore we knew there was potential for social and TV to work together.
What’s great about working with social media is that it’s always developing, and we get to test out different ways of what works best with numerous types of clients.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
Working with my team, they’re amazing, as well as having a new challenge every day. My job is not mundane at all, I’m constantly adapting and it’s super exciting.
What’s your favourite thing about working at All Response Media
Definitely the people. I’ve been really lucky that I’ve met amazing people here that I see outside of the agency all the time. Of course, the away days are always so much fun and just an awesome time! Also having the ability to work at your own pace and constantly being challenged, as well as getting to work so closely with senior management. Until recently our team sat next to our CEO, Andy Sloan and CSO, Colin Gillespie. I know not every company would have such close interactions with the most senior people in the office.
How do you see social media evolving or changing this year?
I think the biggest changes that are going to happen will be a lot more integration with offline media. I think Facebook and Instagram will become a lot closer with TV in the way they are measured and analysed within the same TV plan. Instagram will take over every platform – it’s already grown significantly. I think WhatsApp will potentially grow massively too and make its way into the market. I believe that will be the biggest change in social media going forward.
Last year there was a lot happening around privacy with GDPR and Cambridge Analytica and I believe moving forward there will be better processes in place to stop bad activity happening in the future.
What’s your most memorable moment at All Response Media so far?Creating the social team of course – that was incredible and it’s pretty unheard of in agency life. Meeting some great people and spending many evenings at one of the local pubs altogether, going bowling and taking a bowling ball back to the office to play there, most of the away days – there are just too many memories to list!
As you’re running your own team, how do you motivate others?
I’m lucky with my team in that I don’t need to give them much of a push, they’re already really passionate and motivated on their own. They’re younger and live and breathe social media if anything I learn lots from them. We catch up daily and at the end of the day we’re also friends and I know they will come to me if there is ever a problem. We’ve created quite a relaxed environment and I’m mindful of keeping them in a good state of mental health and I always just want to make sure they have the support that’s needed. We’re very open as a team and constantly communicate.
If you could work in any other team, which would it be and why?
I would probably go to a TV team, I already work quite closely with people in the offline teams and I think I could learn even more from them. I love watching TV personally and for me it is the most exciting offline media.
What’s your favourite thing to do in London in your spare time?
Apart from drinking and eating in the many bars and restaurants, I love the Regent’s Canal walk. It’s amazing, you start from Maida Vale and end up in Angel. I try to do it every year and I’ve really seen how all the areas have changed over the years. I live in Brixton so there’s always lots to do around there.
If you could compare yourself to any animal which would it be and why?
I would probably be a Parrot. They’re quite chatty and sociable. They’re really colourful and I always pride myself on being a happy and fun person. They also normally live in hot places such as Florida which is my favourite place to take a holiday.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you have and why?
I would make sure I have a large salami selection. I’m a bit of a salami connoisseur. I would also have my boyfriend there and a fishing rod. One of the things I love doing is going fishing with my dad, so I think that would not only be useful for survival but also something fun to do to pass the time.