Please describe your job: what do you do? Talk us through your typical day at UNRVLD
I’m Chief Growth Officer at the agency, which is a fancy way of saying I lead our new business and marketing function. Overall, I work with the teams to set the new biz and marketing strategy and processes for the group, positioning ourselves in the market to attract the right businesses and getting our approach right to help convert them into clients.
A typical day will involve tea, check-ins with some of the SMT, tea, catching up on what’s new across the agency, what’s in the pipeline, tea, recent pitches, strategy and reporting.
I work closely with our group head of marketing, Miranda, who makes my role one of simply signing off on her good ideas.
I have regular check-ins with our technology partners, talking about joint marketing opportunities, reviewing our partner tiering and pipeline and figuring out ways to work better together.
I’m less heavily involved in the day-to-day pitching these days - so can’t include it in my typical day, but I still get to roll my sleeves up every now and again. We’ve always got something we’re working on, whether it’s lead generation, responding to RFPs, setting up intros with prospects, combing our database for opportunities. So, I try to be a sounding board for the new biz team, coaching when we need to unstick a problem and facilitating the process.
What are your passions, and how have they impacted the direction of your career?
There’s no golden thread to this, I’m afraid. The two things - passions and career - are pretty mutually exclusive for me. Music is the love of my life (alongside my fiancé, of course) and I’ve been writing music for 15 years or so. My other big passion is psychology. I had an early mid-life crisis and at the age of 30 went off to do a degree in it, followed by a Masters. It was purely self-indulgent. It’s helped me develop a lot of useful skills but it would be a tenuous link to say this led me into the business development world. But it’s definitely a help now that I’m here.
Which has been your most memorable pitch win over your career?
The most memorable ones are where the whole pitch team is in sync and collaborates. I like the pitches where we built up a personal relationship with the people on the client side, so that, on the day, conversation flows and you can go off on useful tangents to explore ideas together. We’ve had too many great wins with great brands to single any of them out, but they all have those things in common.
Which three people would you invite to a dinner party?
If I don’t invite my fiancé to a dinner party that’s probably being held at our house, I don’t think she’d forgive me. So, 1. Kate - because it would be impossible to hide it from her. 2. Melvyn Bragg - he must be great value at a dinner party. He’s talked to every expert about basically every topic ever, so he must have some great facts and anecdotes. 3. Michael Jordan – he defined my childhood.
You are invited to the ultimate music concert. Dead or alive, you can watch 3 artists, who would you choose?
Prince. I had the chance to see him live and missed it. I will never get over that.
Fauré. Composed some of my favourite ever music.
Aretha Frankin. That. Voice.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
I’m definitely more into exploring cities-type holidays. So, Chicago. Waterfront vibes mixed with cityscape, mixed with lakeside marinas, beaches, open air concerts, blues, jazz, original deep pan pizza and basketball.
What would be your motto?
I don’t have any of my own, but I am a bit of a quote hoarder. The composer Leonard Bernstein said that to achieve great things, two things are needed: A good plan and not quite enough time.
That sums up life in new biz pretty well.
What have your learnings from lockdown been?
Maybe I’m not quite as bad a cook as I thought. Video games can beat Hollywood in escapism, drama, storytelling and emotion any day of the week.
Don’t put things off.
What advice would you give a marketer right now?
Experiment with new ideas. Challenge old ones. Get your head around insights and how to create them.