Here is the latest in our ‘Love Your Job’ blog series; where we ask employees at recruiting member companies about the jobs they love and how they got started in their career – sharing insights to help inspire you.
Next up we have Gavin Willis from Search Seven Ltd – a digital marketing agency specialising in search marketing.
Gavin Willis – Managing Director
Tell us a bit about your job and responsibilities?
My role at Search Seven as owner and managing director is to ensure the team are happy and have the support they need to effectively manage their campaigns and client relationships, whilst being the main point of contact for new business enquiries, commercial discussions with clients and developing and maintaining partnerships with agencies and suppliers.
I am responsible for providing the delivery team with all the business insight they require to help them formulate and deliver excellent search campaigns for our clients. Being a small agency, I also handle the invoicing, admin and office management duties to ensure the team can focus on their client work whilst I concentrate on providing a stress free environment for them to deliver great results for our clients.
I engage in networking events, although not as many as I would like due to assisting with the delivery work when we get busy, and I am actively involved in organising our charity events, which although is very time consuming is a real pleasure and a very satisfying part of my role.
What might you be doing on an average day?
No day is the same in our agency, although I would be checking in on accounts to see how we are doing against targets. I would assist with delivery work if required, and assist with developing upsell opportunities or working on presentations for a forthcoming review meeting.
I would be speaking to potential clients about our approach and working on proposals and presentations that outline how we can help improve the online exposure of their business. I would handle all the incoming phone calls, with most being either new business enquiries or questions about IT, recruitment and other operations based queries.
Lastly, I try to would remain positive at all times, to ensure the team are working in a fun environment that they can enjoy and thrive in.
What are your three favourite things about your job?
I love leading a team of committed colleagues who are motivated to do well for the company, and being involved in shaping their career progression. Employees should feel like owners of a business, and I make sure we are transparent in everything we do and that everyone has a say in shaping what we do as an agency.
I love that we get to meet clients from all different industries, learning about new products and services all the time and having new experiences that help me, and the rest of the team to develop.
I also love that we are an ethical agency, with a passion for hosting charity events on an annual basis, whereby we contribute up to 7% of our profits to local charities and community projects each and every year. The satisfaction of engaging the community to help support charities is great, and it really is the driving force that inspires us to be successful.
Which projects have you worked on that you are most proud of and why?
In terms of internal, Search Seven projects, putting together the ‘S7 Charity Pledge’ from day one, giving up to 7% of our profits to charity every year, was a big risk given that 9/10 start-ups fail within 2 years, yet it has been a great success and it is always a very proud moment when we host one of our charity events, with this years ‘S7 Teds Trophy’ event being a charity football match at the AMEX stadium.
The forthcoming event is going to be a real landmark occasion, as we celebrate reaching 5 years as an agency and surpassing 1 million turnover, and will be great to raise more money that we can donate to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, via the Rockinghorse appeal.
In terms of client projects, there have been some fantastic campaigns that we are very proud of, including our paid search campaign for Sussex Cricket T20 which continues to deliver excellent results on a yearly basis, largely contributing to the sell-out crowds in 2016.
This campaign features targeted search activity, display activity in terms of re-marketing and Facebook Ads which were based on targeting cricket and sport enthusiasts that live locally.
We also work with many charities, mostly national and global, and giving them advice and helping them to re-structure their Google Grant campaigns is also very satisfying. We give free initial advice to all charities, and offer a heavily reduced rate for any on-going work that we do with charities.
The Search Seven company re-brand was also a proud moment, seeing our old brand identity being revamped with a more energetic and professional design, which better reflects what we are about as a company.
What is it exactly about the company itself that you enjoy?
Everyone who works here really cares about getting great results for our clients, and being part of a team that is passionate about their work and motivated to do well, really does make the company a fun place to be.
The company has a great ethos, and places passion over profit which is refreshing in the digital sector, yet the work we put in to our charity events and efforts also helps us to stand out from the crowd, and is the driving force behind our success. I love the fact that we have regular outings as a team, from going to gigs, quiz nights, sporting events, challenge rooms, day at the races etc. which makes work fun and not just results driven.
We have built up some excellent relationships with clients, partners and suppliers and our work and commitment to providing a great service has also being recognised, including winning an award for best professional service in Hove and being shortlisted at other prestigious Award ceremonies. This was very satisfying, although not as satisfying as handing over our cheques to charities every year after our S7 Ted’s Trophy charity events. This beats everything else hands down.
How did you get to where you are now?
Before I ventured into the world of digital marketing, I was a manager at a restaurant for a few years both during and after studying a BA Hons degree in Corporate Communications at Solent University.
I then got the opportunity to work at a fantastic agency called Propellernet, also based in Brighton, where I started off as a PPC executive and within a year I was managing my own small team, and over 20 clients.
I soon grew into more of an account director, whilst still doing delivery work at the same time. After just under five years at the agency, an opportunity arose whereby I proposed that I managed the smaller clients as a consultant, after seeing the agency grow rapidly and working with international brands on big retainers. Propellernet agreed this would work well for them as they had a trusted partner to refer the smaller clients to that will take care of them and deliver results for them.
I started with just three retained clients and now we have over 24 retained clients, as well as frequent project work, and we are an award winning agency.
I always had a desire to work in marketing, and I owe so much to Propellernet who gave me the opportunity to develop my skills and provide me with a great working environment to enjoy my job, whilst being a part of a great culture.
I have several business advisors that I meet with regularly to provide me with advice (many from Propellernet) and this in invaluable when trying to grow a business and has helped me immensely.
What advice would you give to younger self about your career path?
Be daring. Believe in yourself and have the confidence to achieve something that will make you happy.
Don’t go it alone. Surround yourself with great minds and people who have great experience and wisdom that you can learn from. There is so much knowledge and experience out there for you to tap in to.
Stay positive. It is not an easy ride to grow a business, with many challenges and hurdles to overcome. You have to stay determined and positive at all times. You need to lead with a smile on your face and ensure you provide a happy environment to increase productivity of the team. Build a strong and happy team and they will help you to build the business.
A big thank you to Gavin and Search Seven Ltd for some great advice and inspiration – interested in finding out more about working there then check out their latest job advert on our site here.
Also don’t forget for the latest and greatest digital, tech & media roles in Sussex check out the Wired Sussex Jobs Board now or get them sent directly to your inbox by signing up for job alerts here.