A Week in My Life: Heather Connearn, Executive Director - Commercial, Space & Time

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Heather Connearn has worked at independent Manchester-based agency Space & Time since 2010, when she joined as an Account Manager.

Since then she's grown in seniority at the agency, taking up her current role in July 2020. This year, Space & Time underwent a leadership shuffle and formed an executive team, which Heather is a central part of.

The agency has offices in Manchester, Edinburgh, London, Surrey and Bournemouth - working with clients which have included Caffe Nero, Fuller's Brewery and Fujitsu.

We found out what a week in Heather's life looked like...

 

Monday

It’s my first day back after 10 days in Spain so I’m suitably relaxed and raring to go. I’m up at 7am and spend the day catching up with the wider team and reviewing August performance stats for the agency and our clients.

I’ve just moved into a new role where delivering impactful growth marketing strategies takes centre stage. This encompasses everything from improving processes to developing talent.

As an agency focused on growth marketing, we take a broader view of the wider economic landscape to truly understand the context of our clients’ business. One of the verticals in which we have clients is property and it was interesting to note the first month-on-month dip in enquiries for the property sector in August for some time.

Pre-pandemic, August was the second-highest search period for new homes, however since the market has not experienced a "typical" year since 2018 we don’t currently understand in many respects what a normal seasonal curve looks like. 

To enhance our crystal-ball gazing endeavours, we’re developing predictive models for the sector; using our substantial bank of performance data to help our developer clients more accurately understand the relationship between reach, engagement, leads and sales. This adds a greater mathematical certainty to our understanding of which levers to pull and to what extent for any given brief.

While this will never obviate the need for first-hand sector experience and common sense, it’s reassuring to add some scientific rigour to our proactive and reactive planning regimen.

Tuesday

I travel to London this morning to attend an industry awards event. It’s my first one since the pandemic began and it’s a sweltering 30 degrees in the capital. I’m clearly ecstatic about having to jump on the tube!

I get a lot done on the train journey down from Manchester, despite the intermittent Wi-Fi. My focus for today is writing an opinion piece for a client-industry publication. It’s a privilege to be invited to comment on their sector. 

In the evening, I’m off to the Sky Garden with some of our team for the awards reception. It’s a beautiful evening and the views are simply stunning. The event goes really well and it's great to see some old faces and network with some new ones too. I forgot how much I had missed it.

Wednesday

It’s an early start for me today as I travel back up to Manchester this morning. There’s lots to do, starting with back-to-back calls with our business division leads (Media, Performance Creative, Technology and Training).

Our main focus is a review of our agency processes and platforms. Ensuring cross-division collaboration and that we are using the most relevant tech for each division is a full-time job in itself. With many emerging tech platforms that may or may not offer opportunities to improve outcomes for our clients, it’s essential that we stay abreast of what’s new.

Thursday

Today is all about talent; training, retaining, and progressing talent. A perfect storm of COVID-19, working from home and Brexit has provided what I think is easily our industry’s biggest post-pandemic challenge.

First off, I have a meeting with the team that manages our internal training programme, the Space Academy. Today we review our onboarding process and how we can ensure the same high standards whether it’s delivered in-office or remotely.

We also agree to adopt the content developed for our new training division and roll it out to new starters to ensure consistency of skills.

If the winter does bring another lockdown, we really want to ensure that we have a plan to provide structured training and most importantly convey the company culture to new starters onboarding from home.

Friday

I arrive early at the office in Exchange Quay. We have an all-agency meeting today, with Friday afternoon drinks! It’s good to see a lot of my team in the office whilst the rest attend remotely.

We have grown our team in Manchester over the pandemic, so we are still minimising the number of people in the office until the infection rate reduces. Still, it’s great to see a few more people coming back in and to meet some new starters face-to-face.

Today’s focus is a client meeting. I’ve worked on this account for over 10 years and there is never a dull day. They have always evolved but this year has seen a big shift in direction; a new target market and business objectives. I am presenting a three-year strategic roadmap to align their strategy to their new objectives, ensuring we are focused on delivering growth.

It’s easy to become complacent when you've worked on an account for a long period of time, particularly when you have established relationships. However, in my opinion those relationships are only so strong because the team remains consistently proactive. The meeting goes well and I look forward to the weekend and lunch at Bar San Juan - undoubtedly Manchester’s best tapas. I’m still not quite ready to leave Spain! 

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