A Week In My Life: Adam Oldfield, MD of Force24
This week Adam Oldfield, Managing Director of Leeds-based Force24, a UK built and managed marketing automation specialist, runs us through a week in his working life. To suggest another senior media or creative figure for A Week In My Life, please email email@example.com
Monday 13 February
It’s a busy week, as we’re exhibiting at Prolific North Live. Final preparations are underway for our stand, but there haven’t just been the graphics and giveaways to think about. We’ve launched three new features this month, so for most delegates this will be a first-look at our platform’s latest technology. I spend the first couple of hours with our development team to ensure our interactive show materials are ready. Then I check in with our office manager Lauren to learn everything else is already taken care of!
There’s barely time for a cup of tea before I’m catching the Leeds train to London. Whilst some MDs have more of a back-seat role in their business, I love that I’m still hands on.
We’ve got some employee appraisals tomorrow so I use the train time to give my notes a final once-over. I seem to be at Kings Cross in no time, then I’m hot-footing it across the city for a second meeting with a potential new client. It’s a great project – a very well-established retail brand that has amassed an incredibly huge database they’re now struggling to effectively communicate with. Until recently they’ve overlooked marketing automation having dismissed how personal it could be. But a recent visit to our HQ showed them that they can actually deliver a far richer customer experience, with meaningful and humanised yet automated comms. We talk for hours and I leave with a kick-off meeting date in my diary.
I catch up on emails on the train home - as much as the wifi will let me! We’re recruiting for a new digital marketing exec, so I’m keen to see what applications have come in.
Tuesday 14 February
We’ve a batch of team appraisals this morning, something I’ve always cared a lot about. We’re as much about people as we are tech, so I’m keen to keep advancing our skills alongside our product. We’ve got high expectations of our staff – they must be self-starters, hungry learners, confident and above all capable. But there’s a strong support network too, which is why these reviews are so important.
I make sure I get a proper lunch – it doesn’t take much effort as we have an on-site chef! Then this afternoon, my mind is on data. We’re currently spending a lot of time talking about the upcoming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations), given they’re being introduced in spring 2017.
We’ve already put tonnes of work in behind the scenes to ensure our clients are going to be aware of their obligations and compliant, far before the legislation is imposed. For me, being ahead of the curve on subjects like this, must be part of the service we provide. For the next three hours, a third of our team is in a next-step workshop with our GDPR consultant.
Before I pack up to head out for dinner, I tie up some loose ends knowing I won’t be in tomorrow. It’s the first time we’ve exhibited at Prolific North Live so I’m not entirely sure what to expect, but we’re prepared and ready to go!
Wednesday 15 February
A Week In My Life: Andrew White, Head of Content, Nova ProductionsOur first day at the event. I’m encouraged by how busy the hall is, so quickly after the doors have opened. A range of people come to our stand to take the marketing challenge we’ve set – build a beautiful, agency-quality, litmus-tested email in less than 8 minutes. One guy from Manchester nails it in under 5!
A steady stream of people drop by throughout the day, some keen to have a general look at what’s new in the comms scene and others very much here with specific projects or changes in mind.
I think events like this provide a great chance for us to go and see people too, so I make sure I keep some time free at the end of the day to get around the hall myself.
Thursday 16 February
Day two flies by. There are some key themes throughout the day – efficient multichannel customer journeys, of course lots of talk about the latest digital innovations and, interestingly, GDPR. It’s clear some savvy marketers are already starting to think about this, but aren’t yet clear exactly how they’ll be affected or what to do. We reassure them of the role that tech can play to ensure compliance, and I make a mental note to start writing our advice-led library of resources, when I’m back in the office.
Friday 17 February
There’s definitely a buzz in the office after a busy couple of days at EventCity. So, whilst there’s lots of work to catch up on, I can’t help but focus on ‘what’s next’ for so many of the marketers we met.
Whilst we’ll naturally just keep in touch with some of the people we met, there are some more specific enquiries that we’ve promised to feed back on immediately. I gather a team of our marketers and debrief them on some of the customer journeys delegates built with us yesterday. We break before lunch and I’m straight into a meeting with one of our more unusual B2B manufacturing clients.
I catch up with our PR company before the end of the day. We’ve got a magazine interview next week on the topic of funding sparsity among the Northern tech scene. It’s a subject I think has long plagued the industry outside of London, so it’s something I feel passionate about. Thankfully, in the face of finance difficulties, many tech companies – including ours – have forged ahead with their product roadmaps regardless.
But not all have found this possible. I’m actually on holiday next week, so I pass the baton to our commercial director, Nick. We have a quick catch up before I leave, and agree that unless the gap is bridged and more VC interest can be attracted to the North, the region will continue to see talent magnetised to London. He seems to have the subject covered so I head off to pack for the ski slopes!