Face to Face with Head of Organic Media
Introducing Christopher Fry, our Head of Organic Media. Let’s find out some more about his job, how he got here and his likes and dislikes as a digital marketer and manager.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
My role has three key pillars: team management, company strategy and active campaign management.
For the first, I manage our amazing team of organic media (also known as SEO) specialists to help them develop, reach their potential and deliver fantastic campaigns for our clients.
Secondly, I work closely with the other department leads in our Strategy Team to make sure we stay aligned to client needs and expectations in an ever-changing industry as well as inputting into our HR initiatives, led by Heather, to keep our people motivated and happy.
Learn what digital marketing really entails beyond shiny Instagram campaigns and find the channel or channels that appeal to you
Finally, I work directly on a number of our key accounts, designing and leading integrated digital marketing strategies.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Creativity and analytical logic in equal measures; active listening; ruthless prioritisation and hyper organisation; strategic long-term thinking; thick skin and a sense of humour; the drive to try, share success, learn from failure and keep on trying.
How did you get where you are today?
From pursuing a career in screenwriting in my youth, I fell into marketing, which proved to be a perfect blend of creativity, commercial savvy and understanding of audiences that the film world teaches you. Thereafter, hard work and the desire to keep learning and growing, trying new channels, sectors and audiences, making friends, getting results and being known to be the person who will help you get things done.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
ThoughtShift has a great blend of people who are focused, friendly and always happy to help each other and our clients. I also love our strategic review meetings with clients where we get to dissect the work from the last period and plan ahead for the next – it’s a thrill and I love the chance to get closer to each client’s business.
What sucks? Coming from a client-side background, the agency environment has always been a challenge. I love to be immersed in a client and know everything I can (see above!) so having to sacrifice that in the name of variety was a real learning curve.
What kind of goals do you have? How do you measure your success?
My goals are around retaining and developing our people and keeping our clients happy. While we have many ways to measure this, my personal measures are seeing my team happy and growing in their careers and when clients see us a natural extension of their team – when we really have their trust, we can achieve great things.
What are your favourite tools to help you get the job done?
Hmmm, we use a lot of tools and the combination of them is where the magic happens. But my desert island tool is Search Console. It’s free but criminally underused and I love the very real insight it gives you into what people are searching for and how Google is presenting you – aligning those two is the key to search marketing for me.
How did you get into this role, and where might you go from here?
I joined ThoughtShift nearly 3 years ago as Digital Marketing Architect, keen to use my knowledge of audiences and creativity across a broader array of sectors, clients and challenges. With eCommerce growing exponentially – and an online shop is the world’s second trillion-dollar company – digital marketing is essential for any company, but having worked across the offline marketing mix too, I know how the full puzzle assembles. Building on this, I was soon entrusted with some of ThoughtShift’s key accounts and when the Head role opened, I leapt at the opportunity to keep growing and embed my knowledge in ThoughtShift.
Do you have any advice for people who want to work for a Digital Marketing agency?
Oooooooh, so much! But my top tips would be:
- Learn what digital marketing really entails beyond shiny Instagram campaigns and find the channel or channels that appeal to you.
- Agency years are like dog years compared to client-side work so be prepared to work hard, work fast and learn a lot. If you love to learn, an agency will build up your experience quicker than you can imagine.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Part of learning is that someone teaches you – and we’re all about that at ThoughtShift.
Describe a typical day?
There’s a typical day?! I try to plan each week on Monday – and then replan every day as things move around! But, I’ll typically be working across my own campaigns reviewing work, building strategies or talking to clients; supporting my team with training sessions, ad-hoc support and our regular catch-ups; supporting our Sales team with insights or ideas for potential new clients; and following industry trends to keep our processes up-to-date or create new ones.
What advice do you have for people who want to get into Digital Marketing?
Practically, look out for digital marketing internships and apprenticeships. To convince the employer you’re right, as above, first try to understand what digital marketing entails and what appeals to you about it. Technical skills can be taught, and experience earned on the job, but the key skill is the ability to understand audiences and combine data and empathy to reach them effectively.
If you can demonstrate that with an understanding of what the channels are and how they work together, you’re going to be well on your way.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Do it now!