I was asked recently by Aimee Farley-Higgs at Headturner Search to take part in their Worcestershire Talking Heads. They ask people in the local business community to share some of their background, achievements and motivator /demotivators.
- How did you get into this industry?
Definitely not by design! I have a science degree, so initially thought I would go on to a masters in genetics and cell biology, only to find this probably meant moving to the US when I was engaged to be married. I worked for 2 years as a chartered accountant to learn more about business and enjoyed the practical, management accounts side but later realised that stocks and share options bored me to tears. So I was lucky to get a position at Black & Decker in their European headquarters, initially doing market research and pan-European marketing activity (remember all those multi-lingual instruction leaflets, anyone?) and then moving into other brand marketing positions in jewellery and in health and beauty.
It’s a great feeling to walk into a prestigious store like Harrods, Selfridges or your local supermarket and see your own advertising or promotions at work! I learned a lot about good marketing practices – being responsible for sales and profits and getting other people in agencies or in your own company to do things under your direction when they don’t report to you. Not many women in their twenties can spend such large budgets and be held accountable for them.
- What do you enjoy most about being in the business?
I love the variety that comes from advising many different business owners and the freedom to choose who you want to work with. Recent work with the Worcestershire Business Accelerator as a core advisor and with the Changing Futures Fund for Worcestershire charities meant meeting many more local organisations and delivering changes in a brief period. It’s challenging but very rewarding. The best days are those when you can celebrate a successful outcome for a customer, perhaps when they gain a new key customer or do well at a trade fair or get a PR article placed in an influential publication.
- What top 3 words/ phrases describe you best?
Independent, confident, integrity
- What would you say would be your biggest achievement to date?
Being recognised for our contribution to our industry. Aardvark Marketing have won 4 Technology Innovator awards in the 3 last years for Best SME Marketing company, Best Marketing Automation, Excellence in Marketing Management Services and the Social Media & Content Marketing Specialists. These awards from the international Technology Innovators CV Magazine show that it’s possible for a small business to make an impact.
I find it very difficult to say ‘no’ and give more free coaching sessions to charities and start-up business owners than is good for my own business! Right now, I’m mentoring in the Birmingham Accelerator Hub, I’m on the Policy committee at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and the Reducing the Cost of Doing Business committee at the Hereford & Worcestershire Chamber.
At work, the thanks of my customers and learning new skills. Tom Stanhope at VideoTrack is helping me add vlogging to my regular blogs (you can see my efforts on LinkedIn or on our YouTube channel). Otherwise I’m a home loving girl who enjoys a good laugh at a family meal or a quiet afternoon with a book, a glass of wine and some sunshine in the garden.
That’s easy – IT! There are always new advances in technology in the marketing world and I’m bombarded by companies trying to sell me their own new software. It’s easy for a business owner to buy a new system, much harder for them to realise the benefits when they have several systems that don’t necessarily talk to each other, making it hard to work out what the return on investment is. I spend hours trying to get hold of technical support people and understand how I can fix problems on behalf of my customers. Oh, and please don’t mention the words’ ‘GDPR’ or ‘Making Tax Digital’ to me unless you’re feeling brave!
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m not much good at crystal ball gazing but I hope I’ll still be enjoying working for Aardvark Marketing and managing a larger team.
- What is the best USP about your current business?
We are outsourced sales and marketing specialists who work as an integral part of each senior management team. Unlike most marketing agencies, who concentrate their expertise on one aspect of marketing, we’re like an independent financial advisor – able to recommend strategies and activities that will deliver the best return for our customers regardless of whether this is digital wizardry, digital advertising or good quality PR, direct mail or trade fairs.
- What is your favourite local restaurant and shop?
For a coffee and cake in town, Mac and Jacs deli on Friar Street, for Friday night fish & chips, the Crispy Cod in Barbourne and for a family meal, Wildwood in the Crowngate where you can enjoy some people watching as you eat. Favourite shops are always bookshops!
You can read all the other Worcestershire’s Talking Heads here https://www.headturnersearch.co.uk/blog/
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