It’s not often an agency success story in Manchester shies away from shouting about its growth and ambitious plans.
“Historically, we’ve been really terrible about talking about ourselves,” Steve Gale, chief commercial officer at CTI Group, told Prolific North. “We don’t really sing and shout about what we do, we never have done. Perhaps we should do more!”
At the digital group’s headquarters in Manchester, “no two days are the same.” There’s a buzz at the HQ after a flurry of new client wins have seen CTI begin work with big brands Prezzo, Chester Zoo, MIND and Zip World.
The office could be mistaken for the inside of a Halford’s store one week, surrounded by dozens of bikes for the launch of a new cycling brand, or on a different week you might find models walking around for a Horlicks campaign. The wheels are constantly in motion, in more ways than one. “It’s chaos, I adore it!,” says Gale.
Joining the group 13 years ago, he acknowledges it’s a “long stint” in the agency world. It’s been a whirlwind journey ever since, the group’s growth has seen it go from a handful of staff based out of one office to just over 200 staff now based across Manchester, London, Wales and Serbia.
“The company was a lot smaller when I joined. Whilst it’s been quite the journey for me, it has been really exciting to be part of it. We’re 10 times bigger. There were around 20 of us when I joined and there’s over 200 of us now.”
With a turnover of £17.5m for the latest financial year, it’s already proving to be a successful year for sales with the group’s financial year starting in March. CTI exceeded sales of £2m for March and, at the time of our interview, was on track to hit its Q1 target.
“After what was a challenging year economically for everyone, we’re pleased that we managed to maintain the previous year, rather than go backwards in light of the economic climate.
“I’m proud of the way the whole team has risen and responded to the challenges to avoid a backwards step, which I believe is an achievement especially when others have unfortunately reported losses or have sadly ceased trading. We’ve had a strong start to our new financial year and are looking forward to the year ahead.”
Trying to keep up with demand means there are “a lot of candles being burned at both ends in various different places to try and make things happen,” he explained, adding it’s a “fortunate” position to be in.
“Like so many others, we’ve had our tough patches too but it’s how you respond to those and how you come out of it that’s the most important.”