Next up in our series of ‘Day in a life’ is John McMurray-Williams, Account Director, here at Innovate.
John is the Digital Marketing guru in the office, having previously worked for many years at one of the UK’s leading search marketing agencies. He is passionate in sharing his knowledge with those businesses who may be looking to get started in the digital world but don’t know where to begin…or offer advice to those who are working on digital campaigns but feel like they could do with a boost in traffic.
John works on new business, as well as ensuring current clients are serviced and maximising their marketing as much as they can be. Once John has sold a project, it comes into the studio for the team to take over!
How did Innovate Creative begin?
Well, as it happened…. Stuart and Brad were auditioning to be in a boy band together and I was just a face in the crowd. However, through a chance meeting by the vending machine, we uncovered a whole host of mutual creative energy and decided on building an agency together.
Before we founded Innovate Creative, Brad and Stuart had set up a business, Innovate Websites. The sole aim of this company was to provide small, local businesses with a quality web presence. I got involved in this business after leaving full time employment and taking a short break…..before the abject boredom of doing not-a-lot started to take its toll.
Over the course of time, we developed our offering to better reflect our combined skills including digital marketing and graphic design. This approach allowed us to reach a bigger audience and have a greater impact on the customers we worked with.
With this new approach, we formed Innovate Creative and have now worked with dozens of companies helping to improve the performance of their websites, digital campaigns and the quality of their marketing material.
What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office?
Generally speaking, the first thing I do is have a coffee, run through any outstanding emails and then get to work on developing current relationships and bringing new customers into the business.
On a Monday morning we have our team meeting, whereby we run through current projects, current progress and upcoming milestones.
The team may say otherwise. They’d more likely say I waltz in, start asking about 403 questions and leave.
Talk us through your day-to-day tasks…
Each day and week is massively varied in this industry and things move incredibly quickly but my core focus day to day is:
- Uncovering opportunities to work with new clients
- Working with current clients to spot marketing opportunities that we can help them with
- Go to Waitrose – c’mon who doesn’t like their Sushi?
- Meeting with prospects and current customers
- Devising lead generation and marketing campaigns to attract new business to our agency and to maintain awareness among our target audience
- Prospecting for new business via targeted campaigns and through new and existing partner agency relationships
What’s your favourite thing to do each day?
Laugh, smile and enjoy the life I have. The world is full of disasters, terrible news and all sorts of nonsense so being happy is a choice, and I take that choice every day.
Quite simply the moments when I speak to incredibly happy customers who are achieving massive success through our work and of course, the buzz of winning new customers. It’s a fantastic feeling, to see the results of your hard work and there’s no better reward than a happy customer in this industry.
If that sounds cheesy, no apology. It’s true.
On the other side, I have a fantastic relationship with my business partners, Brad and Stuart. We’ve known each other for half our lives and having these two men around me every day make the ups even better and the downs so much easier.
Tell us about a project you’re currently working on. What do you like/what don’t you like about it?
We’re currently working on a website project for an interesting, global niche business who supply print related services to a range of worldwide customers.
What sets us aside from other agencies is the process we go through in creating a new website. The client has absolutely loved the interview and workshop phases we’ve undertaken with their teams enabling us (and them) to truly understand who visits their site, what their motivations are and how we need to cater for those needs and wants on the website.
By conducting this level of work prior to any design is undertaken, we can ensure this business goes from having a website that acts as a digital ‘proof-of-existence’ to one that works as a marketing tool, complimenting the sales efforts within the organisation and more. Value for money and return on investment.
In addition to this we’re just about to kick off a big digital campaign for a local skip hire company using landing pages, Google AdWords and display retargeting to drive more business to them from a local and regional audience.
What kind of challenges do you face day-to-day?
Well the M27 can often be a challenge first thing in the morning however, my 80’s playlist helps to ease the burden of grinding to a halt by the Hamble exit every day. But I guess that’s not what the question is asking….
From a business point of view, the world of digital is still so new to many people who still see their website as something that simply tells visitors who they are, a bit about what they do and where they’re based. When looking for a new web design agency, these people just want more of the same, a bit of a website facelift and something that works a bit better on a mobile phone.
It can often be challenging to guide these people in a better direction towards investing in their website, so it provides significant value to the business and its marketing efforts.
One of the challenges I have personally is slowing down and relaxing. There’s so much I want to get done, so many new ideas and not enough time. The trick is to plan, work out what’s important next and just focus on things bit by bit. When I was 25 I thought 37 was old, but now I realise I’m still young with decades ahead of me. We don’t have to get everything done tomorrow, eh?
What TV programmes could you not live without?
Well 20 years ago I’d be saying the Hollyoaks omnibus on Channel 4 on a Sunday morning. But my student days are now well behind me.
To be honest I’m not a massive, religious TV watcher as I spend many an evening networking, running, socialising or reading a good book. Over the last few months I’ve read The Compound Effect, Miracle Morning, The Jelly Effect, Questions Are the Answers, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**K (don’t be fooled by the title) and Built to Sell.
That said, I love a good box set and The Wire, Ray Donovan, The Sopranos, Trust, The West Room and various David Attenborough programs spring to mind.
I like a good trip to the cinema and am sure to check out Vice – the film about Dick Cheney starring, the brilliant Christian Bale.
What’s the best thing about working at Innovate Creative?
Every day I’m delighted by the effort we all put into delivering fantastic work for our customers. The range of personalities in the room works well.
On top of that, I’d love to say Stuart’s tea making skills, but he constantly plonks a cup of lukewarm dishwater on my desk for me to grudgingly slurp. Cheers mate.
On a more serious note, it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to own a business. So… for me, one of the best things is waking up knowing I’m now doing what I always wanted to do. This is just the beginning. I’m 37 years young, and excited about the future.