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The Wrap: Richard Gregory, Director, Tech North


Each Friday in The Wrap, one of the North’s leading media and creative figures will be giving us their take on the news covered by Prolific North over the last seven days.

This week it’s the turn of Richard Gregory, Director of Tech North.

I find myself writing The Wrap on the train back from London following four days in the capital ‘banging the drum’ for the Northern tech industry with our colleagues at Tech City, and at a number of ministerial roundtables. I’m looking forward to being back touring the North next week!

gregoryReflecting on this week’s news, it’s great to see coverage of some of our rising tech stars. Liverpool entrepreneur Annie O’Toole’s Juxdit just relaunched their ecommerce site for crowdfunded products, with a specific focus on emerging consumer tech. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Annie on a number of occasions and she’s a real force of nature; I’m sure the new site will boost Juxdit’s revenues even further.

Meanwhile, FinTech startup Due Course, have appointed Click Consult to help continue their impressive growth story, off the back of a successful investment round, that included funding from the founders of Zoopla and Lovefilm. That’s pretty impressive for a business that only started trading last year.

It seems to have been a good week for agency wins, with R O Eye picking up work with Jessops  and Havas PR signing UK start-up Deliveroo. The latter article highlights the additional benefits of a strong UK tech sector. Not only do these businesses grow quicker than many others, they support the rest of the economy by appointing agencies, professional services and much more.

As we head into awards season it’s great to see The Northern Marketing Awards went off with a bang, including a much deserved award for my old agency, Latitude. Having been involved in the the judging process before, I can attest to the scrutiny that goes into picking the winners, so they should all be proud of their achievement.

Talking of former agencies, I must congratulate fellow Poulters alumni, Richard Taylor, on the growth of his branding agency, Brandon. Scaling an agency requires the best people and it looks like Richard has made a strong appointment there.

There’s been a lot of buzz around the rise of the chatbots (indeed we commissioned one for SAScon earlier this year) but it seems the Press Association are looking to trial them on reporting shorter pieces of news. I’m sure the journalists smell danger, but as AI technology continues to advance, I feel this is just the beginning.

Obviously, I can’t close The Wrap without referencing Martin Corrigan’s opinion piece on the difficulty of attracting talent to traditional media roles, given the allure of digital marketing. The skills shortage is an issue for most sectors currently, so he’s certainly not alone in his concern. Perhaps the solution lies in developing more hybrid roles.

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