We’re proud to announce that our founder and managing director, Sarah West, is this month celebrating her fifteenth year as a CIM Chartered Marketer!
It was way back in 2008 when Sarah first submitted details of her work for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) to consider.
The CIM is the world’s most respected professional membership organisation for marketing. Chartered Marketer status recognises those achieving the highest levels of both qualifications and experience within the profession.
Sarah’s initial success in becoming a Chartered Marketer came after winning CIM Young Marketer of the Year for East Anglia in 2007.
For fifteen subsequent years, Sarah has submitted evidence every spring to maintain her chartered status. In 2021, she became a Fellow of the CIM.
So, we thought we’d ask Sarah a little about what’s changed in marketing since she first gained her chartered status in 2008…
What has been the biggest change?
Blimey, that’s a difficult one to answer!
Naturally, the introduction of social media and the increasing importance of all things digital has been a sizeable shift. Fifteen years ago, most businesses already had websites but they were relatively simple.
However, the fundamentals of marketing haven’t really changed – making sure you’ve selected the right mix of marketing and have a compelling brand and message that is memorable and persuasive.
Of course, the biggest change has been in my own situation!
I’m married now, a mother of an active 7-year-old and in 2016 I launched Full Mix Marketing. From our dining room table, we’ve grown to a team of eight working with many firms across the UK and beyond who lead their sectors.
Why is being chartered important to you?
I’m fortunate that I knew I wanted to be involved in marketing when I was at school!
Once I’d taken my formal marketing studies as far as I could, and gained experience in the working world, becoming chartered was an important step. I’ve always had a great deal of respect for those who never stop seeking to develop.
Even after 25 years in marketing, there is always something new to learn and apply!
What are the practical differences in B2B marketing today compared to 2008?
As mentioned, digital marketing has made the biggest change.
Most of us reach for our phone, tablet or computer when we want to research or buy something for ourselves – and modern businesses are no different. Website have to work on a myriad of different devices and both competition and users’ expectations are much higher.
In particular, Search Engine Optimisation has evolved a lot. There were big changes in 2012 which made it harder to manipulate Google and much more about having a genuinely informative, effective and well-built website.
Content is definitely ‘king’ now! Blogs, press releases, articles and guides have so many benefits – not just for boosting your website but demonstrating to your potential customers that you really know what you’re doing.
Social media has made a massive impact but is also evolving, especially LinkedIn. It used to be a place where you posted your CV. Now it’s much more of a tool for sharing company information and giving yourself and your organisation more personality.
What hasn’t changed?
The fundamentals of marketing are just the same as they were in 2008!
Trust is so important in B2B marketing. Businesses and organisations buy the goods and services they need from companies and suppliers they have faith in.
We’re more questioning now, so businesses have to work harder to stand out and demonstrate their strengths.
In B2B, direct marketing is still an important tactic. If you know who your potential customers and clients are, then using marketing such as email, mailers, events and social media to reach them direct can be highly effective.
Having a true understanding of what you’re marketing and what the potential customer really values is still critical.
It’s given my colleagues and I the opportunity to get involved in marketing such a fascinating array of products and services, get under the bonnet and really understand what’s important in the buying process. It’s not always what you think!
What tip would you give the you from 15 years ago?
Start your own agency sooner!
It’s scary to leave a good job and begin on your own. I remember working to midnight and lying awake worrying about our clients and their marketing.
However, if you’re sure you have something of value to offer – or more particularly, you have something which people want to buy and benefit from – you can be successful.
As I do with my chartered status each year, it’s important to reflect on what you’re learning as you develop. Experience is so valuable, especially when businesses are looking to you to deliver swift results.
I don’t think I’d need reminding, but I’d remind my younger self just how important other people are. It’s only through selecting and supporting the right colleagues that we’ve been able to grow and develop our reputation as the region’s leading B2B marketing agency.
What’s next in your development?
Well, next year I’ll hopefully be back for a sixteenth time to celebrate maintaining my chartered status. Maybe we’ll have a cake to celebrate when I hit 20 years!
I’d like to find more opportunities to share my expertise outside of my day job.
Pre-pandemic, I gave a number of talks for the CIM, Chambers of Commerce and other organisations. Time is always at a premium but anytime I can help others I’d like to be involved.
Right now, it’s all about developing our team – both supporting the youngest members and our experienced colleagues who – like me – want to continue to learn and grow!