Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I was born and bred in Sheffield and spent most of my life living in and around the Steel City. I moved to York with a change in job and fell in love with the place and have started family life there.
I’m an entrepreneur at heart and have been involved in digital since secondary school, earning a living – of varying degrees – through digital marketing before being forced to ‘get a real job’ which saw me move to my first client-side role.
I’ve worked for a number of travel brands, starting at Alpha Rooms and staying there for 8 years (still my longest length of service) progressing to Marketing Director and being a part of growing the business from £25m turnover to in excess of £120m. I then served 2 years at Best Western Hotels, heading up the digital team before wanting to see how the digital ecosystem – both on-site and media – interacted with offline which led me to move agency-side. I had always worked in digital. I’ve now been at All Response Media for three years and once I started here, I got to see how digital and offline media all work together.
How did you get into the digital media industry?
When I was 15 years old, I wanted to make some money and a paper round just wasn’t for me. I started dabbling in freelance affiliate marketing – performance marketing paying purely on a cost per acquisition (CPA) basis. I used a combination of natural search optimisation (SEO) progressing into paid search using my own time and money to drive traffic to my own websites and merchant/client websites.
The realisation that there might be a future in this kicked in when I returned from sixth form one day to see I’d earned almost £500 in commission!
I didn’t go to university and continued to build on what I’d started, slowly growing my affiliate income before I saw a job advertised as an ‘Affiliate Manager’ at Alpha Rooms and I thought it might be quite interesting to see what things looked like from the other side.
How did you come across All Response Media and what made you decide to go agency-side?
Working client-side, you know everything that is going on within the business, including outside of the marketing and media environments. I wanted to experience what agency-side would be like, where there’s a solid focus on just driving sales and leads for a business, and not also be distracted by the day-to-day noise of what else is going on in the company.
My original drive to see how online, offline and on-site work together remains and it’s a constantly evolving mix. All Response Media has some great proprietary tech that blurs the lines between the three both from execution and strategy to reporting and performance.
What’s a typical day like for you?
First things first, I’ll check in with the team, check client priorities and emails to see what’s going on, what’s being worked on, where are we with campaigns, what we need to work on today, etc. That will usually dictate how the rest of the day will go, with the addition of more discussions with clients.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
The variety – coming from client-side, you’re not as exposed to as much in terms of channels and media, whereas at All Response Media, working with different clients you get to see the different media channels and what works for what client. I enjoy getting to see the various ways our pool of clients work and see what channels and campaigns have benefited them, then being able to use that experience and apply it to another client. I’m always learning new tips and tricks from being able to work with a variety of companies.
What’s your favourite thing about the agency?
The people. They’re all very hardworking and dedicated. I have an incredibly talented and motivated team and I can really trust them to get the results. We’re quite a small team in Leeds so it’s very close-knit and we’re all very helpful to each other and know we can lean on each other at any time.
Tell us a bit about the Leeds office and how it’s changed since you arrived.
The digital team used to be a lot smaller – it’s definitely one of the bigger teams now. There’s also been a lot of shuffling around in terms of seating for people to get to know and work with others. Compared to London, the offline and online teams sit a lot closer together since we’re a smaller office, which is great because client campaigns can be discussed more naturally in the vicinity, instead of booking a meeting room.
What’s your most memorable moment at All Response Media so far?
Breaking my wrist at the first summer away day. We were in Norfolk – there was an inflatable obstacle course and we were all put in teams and it was very competitive.
I bounced straight off the first one and fell on some grass, missing the crash matt completely. At the time I thought I was fine and continued to enjoy the evening. In the morning something clearly wasn’t right. I made my way to the train station, ditching the rest of ARM in a self-preservation drive to get back north and go to York hospital!
Do you have any hidden talents or facts that people here don’t know about you?
I was in the same maths class at school as Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys.
Favourite thing to do in your spare time?
I have a little boy, so I like taking him out and exploring. He’s very easily entertained, even just walking down the street and in the park is something he enjoys. A lot of my time outside of work includes family time.
Where do you see the digital team and the Leeds office going?
We’re servicing a lot of more international clients now, as we’re executing activity for a couple of companies across Spain, Germany and France to name a few. Digitally, things are different in Germany than they are in Spain, for example, so we’re continuously learning new and diverse ways of working with a variety of clients across these different markets. I see that growing and our office growing also as this international client growth continues.