In the late 90’s, I taught myself HTML and began building websites. My hobby grew into a passion, which grew into a career spanning web development, technical SEO, analytics, and business consultancy.
I’ve worked with small businesses, agencies, charities, software startups, governments, and some of the world’s largest international organisations. Across all of these, I’ve helped brands to win their markets.
To achieve this, I’ve mastered (and continue to practice) the skills required to develop exceptional strategies, platforms, processes and teams.
SEO & Digital Strategy
In the perpetual wake of increasingly frequent, impactful and complex updates to Google’s search processes, digital marketers and publications are quick to proclaim that ‘SEO is dead’. Nothing could be further from the truth. For a long time, SEO has only really been effective and impactful when it’s more than SEO – when it’s applied at a broader level than a set of tactics; when it operates at a strategic and managerial level, integrating components of social, reputational, brand and paid media tactics into a larger plan and process.
This is important because we live in a world where consumers search to research and make decisions – consciously or otherwise. Purchases, consideration set developments, brand discovery and preference, and even the democratic process is influenced by search.
In my mind, SEO is the discipline (arguably, a meta-discipline) which manages this ecosystem, and the search experience. SEO is an umbrella term for the strategic and tactical management of multiple channels, tactics, skills and processes (including offline inputs, consumer research, behavioural analysis, etc) – specifically with an intent to influence and manage what the customer sees and thinks during the search process (and their subsequent actions; which is something I’ve spoken about at conferences).
Some of the most significant brand moments – discovery, preference, brand affinity – all happen in or as a result of search(ing). And when you’re operating in that top-of-funnel space, where success is about reputational management and positioning, about competitive landscapes and strategic manoeuvring, what you’re really describing are some of the more interesting and important components of brand and digital strategy creation. Search, as a discipline, becomes elevated to the grown-up table.
I’ve worked with brands and companies, using this kind of thinking, to help them to understand their markets, their consumers, competitors and opportunities, and to craft and execute strategies which create and capture consumer demand. From standalone campaigns designed to generate engagement with specific initiatives to broad, ecosystem-wide strategies, I’ve developed and deployed SEO and digital strategies which moved the needle for huge, international brands.
So whilst I’m passionate about SEO because of its impact on high-level brand strategy and performance, I still deeply enjoy rolling my sleeves up and auditing, diagnosing and improving things under-the-hood.
In fact, I’ve worked with hundreds of brands to assess, diagnose and resolve faults or omissions in their servers, websites and broader digital ecosystems (to the value of many millions of pounds/dollars), including some of the world’s largest and most successful organisations. Beyond fault resolution, I’ve designed solutions for complex technical SEO challenges which do more than simply fix issues, but rather enhance performance and capitalise upon opportunities which improve performance, grow market share, and generate revenue.
Analytics & CRO
Many organisations are shockingly unsophisticated when it comes to measuring their performance – digitally or otherwise. Even enterprise organisations frequently utilise ‘off the shelf’, generic KPIs and measurements which don’t provide insight into their outcomes and opportunities, but rather simply count digital beans. Other businesses jump at new metrics, tools and processes, and pivot on their KPIs without ever stopping to ask “what does success look like”?
Both lack a clear path from data, to insight, to action.
My experience in consulting, scoping, designing and implementing sophisticated analytics ecosystems helps businesses to understand the metrics which matter to them and the actions which they should take next. Years of workshops, consultations and analysis of the businesses and their data sets has enabled me to develop effective processes for empowering businesses to collect, understand, and use data impactfully.
The processes I’ve created for identifying business priorities, the technical and measurement frameworks required to capture data in relation to those, and the codification of target-setting and action-taking processes has transformed businesses large and small for silo’d teams working on generic metrics, to coordinated omnichannel marketers collaborating on meaningful work.
Of course, underneath these strategic frameworks sits a robust methodology for tagging, collecting, combining, segmenting and storing data from multiple sources; including phone tracking, user surveying and satisfaction metrics, and bespoke event & flow data.
I was one of the earliest adopters of Google’s Measurement Protocol, to pass offline business data back into Google Analytics, to allow for post-conversion analysis.
Other Marketing Channels & Technology
Increasingly, successful marketing must be omnichannel. In a consumer-centric world, the only channel divisions which exist are those which your organisation creates and enforces through its team structures, management and reward systems.
Concepts like the Zero Moment of Truth, (and some of the related concepts which I’ve spoken about at events) don’t allow us to operate within specific silos or verticals, but rather, require us to think about the interactions which consumers have as they discover brands and products, build and refine consideration sets and preferences, and make purchase decisions.
Whether you’re running campaigns, building a brand, or disrupting a market, channels and verticals must work together to form a seamless consumer experience. Combining skills, teams and strategies laterally, rather than vertically, creates phenomenal synergies and amplification effects. That’s why I continually stretch and expand my skillset to cover a broad array of digital disciplines – so that campaigns touch consumers in multiple locations, provide joined-up experiences, and hit harder than the competition.
I’ve designed, developed, implemented and managed multiple end-to-end, multi-channel lead generation processes in both B2B and B2C environments; from traffic acquisition to identifying and lead-scoring users, through to tracking consumers across multiple touch-points in complex user journeys, through to managing the data flow into data warehouses and eCRM platforms. I bridge the marketing-technology divide.
Web Development & WordPress
Digital marketing, at its heart, is a technical discipline. The internet, the websites which inhabit it, and the search engines and bots which crawl it are all technical systems, constructed from code and algorithms. And whilst understanding and applying concepts like consumer centricity, creativity, and business processes are critical skills (especially whilst our industry undergoes a maturation process where it moves from tactical, technical initiatives to strategic, brand-level thinking), it’s imperative that marketers consider and understand the arena in which they’re operating.
Without an understanding of how websites work, how systems connect, and how equity is earned, owned and managed, your digital marketing is just… marketing.
That’s why I feel that it’s important for me to comprehensively understand the entire technology stack, and the skills and business processes which support it. I’m proud to say that I’m capable of independently implementing a project in its entirety from start to finish – from concept and ideation (or responding to a business challenge, including understanding user needs, personas, etc), to database and infrastructure scoping, to prototyping and UX design, to back-end and front-end development, to CMS integration and beyond, into reporting, analysis, and perpetual test-and-learn improvement cycles.
Without this level of understanding, brands and teams miss out on opportunities for efficiencies, grasping new opportunities, and out-performing their competitors in terms of agility and capability – I can uniquely identify, capture, and deliver on those opportunities.
Additionally, I’m proud to say that I have an incredibly deep understanding of WordPress, to a level which far exceeds most experts in the field. From bespoke theme-development, to complete reinvention from the back-end to the front, I think, dream and breath the WordPress platform.
Only solving for today’s problems means that you never get ahead, and frequently, you get left behind.
To build distance between you and your competitors, you need to understand tomorrow’s problems. Correctly understanding, anticipating and acting on tomorrow’s landscape can provide an incalculable advantage. That’s why I’ve increasingly started to look forward – to analyse trends, patterns, and brand strategies to understand what comes next for digital marketers.
My deep understanding of what the next generation of digital brings (the new industrial revolution, and the post-digital era, just to name a few) is helping the brands I work with to prepare and to survive.
I’ve had the privilege of working with brands and clients in a wide array of sectors and verticals. I’ve helped clients in health, finance, fashion, electronics and home furnishing – and everything in-between. Whilst many of them face the same kind of strategic and organisational challenges, there are nuances to each industry which present unique challenges and opportunities, as well as by site-type and business type. I’ve learned a lot, working across a range of businesses, and my knowledge transfers between disciplines, sectors and strategies.
Speaking & Workshops
I speak regularly at conferences, meetups and other events – typically in London, but periodically further afield. I speak on a variety of topics, which align to my core skills and interests; from exploring the future of digital marketing, to building digital measurement and analysis frameworks, to deploying cutting-edge website performance optimisation.
I also periodically run training sessions and lead workshops to help digital marketers and similar practitioners develop their skills and understanding.
Information on past and upcoming events can be found on my speaking page, and I’m always looking for opportunities to entertain and educate new audiences.
Hobbies & Outside of work
When asked what I do outside of work, my response is frequently ‘more work’, or ‘other work’. Staying up to date on digital trends, developing my skills and thinking, and writing exhaustive personal bios keeps me pretty busy, both during office hours and beyond.
When I do manage to get away from the screen, I voraciously consume science-fiction and fantasy literature (see some of my favourites here). I find that exploring theoretical worlds and scenarios is a uniquely powerful tool for opening my mind to new possibilities, to different ways of thinking, and to challenge my perceptions and ideologies.
When I’m in London (I currently live in York, and commute to the capital), I make a point of attending a wide variety of networking events, generally focusing on digital trends, emerging techs, and business strategy. When I’m at home, I spend time with friends and relaxing in front of the fire.
I’m also a casual gamer, not a terrible cook, and a connoisseur of specialist gins.