“…there’s a real story shaping…”- An interview with Daniel Frye
“…there’s a real story shaping and it’s about giving people a chance, giving businesses a chance.” – An interview with Daniel Frye
By Stella Nicholls
I recently caught up with Daniel Frye, CEO of Grow Marketing. We sat and chatted over a cup of coffee and a biscuit, in an office decorated with the attention to detail that is the product of a creative mind. Just as well, as creative minds are what it takes to run a marketing business that is in touch with the vibrant city of Exeter and surrounding areas. Daniel Frye and Llewellyn Nicholls started the business just over a month ago and have certainly hit the ground running with the amount of enquiries, meetings and people that they have been involved with so far.
Here is an inside peek into Dan’s vision for the company.
SN: Dan, what made you choose marketing as a career?
DF: To be honest, I didn’t choose marketing, it chose me. I actually studied theology at St. Stephen’s University in Canada where I met my wife. Having asked her to marry me, I realised that I needed a job to pay for the wedding and so moved back to the UK and started working in warehouse making trampolines. I fell into a job selling newspaper advertising shortly afterwards, starting in recruitment. The role awoke my imagination and I quickly became passionate about it; the rest is history, my career started to write itself. I stayed in media and my passion for media grew into a passion for marketing, digital marketing, social media and all that that involves, as the newspaper industry had had to evolve from publishing and media into marketing to become more holistic.
SN: Is there a difference between advertising for a company and marketing them?
DF: There is a massive difference. With advertising if you are selling a particular product then you just need to know the benefits that that product provides to a customer but marketing is not only understanding the benefits of products or specific marketing platforms, it’s understanding the business and it’s ambitions and also the commercial aspects. Sales and marketing are so closely integrated with each other and when you see companies where those two elements are detached, you see a very disjointed branding and sales approach. When the two are working together, you find companies with the same message via their marketing, via their customer service and via the way they handle their customers when they walk through the door. Marketing is everything, from how you pick up the phone, to the way your uniforms look, to how you present the final product, even how you talk to your customers. It is every part of your business, your identity, what the world sees when it looks at you. Advertising is a part of the whole picture, a slice of the pie. It’s a very effective part and it’s the part that drives the sales but marketing has to run through everything you do. It’s Strategy, it’s your business, it’s your brand.
SN: You’ve started a company called Grow Marketing, what do you think makes Grow Marketing stand out from other similar companies?
DF: A challenging question because comparing product to product – Social Media Marketing, PPC, Web Design, in so many ways we don’t offer anything different from other marketing companies. In fact, any company could ask themselves that, because there are a thousand companies doing the same thing in every market place. The thing that defines us, is us. It’s me, it’s Llew, it’s George – our creative director, it’s Tracey – our editor, these are the people that define our business. Our passions drive us to focus on what we care about and that is – small businesses growing, hence the name Grow Marketing. If people choose to join us on our growth path, we will put everything into it – , innovation, inspiration, dedication, to keep our clients connected with their audience in the most creative way – that is our unique selling point.
SN: What do you do to prepare for a typical meeting with a prospective client?
DF: Every meeting is different, some require huge amounts of preparation and with others, the situation requires us turning up and seeing what the person’s agenda is. One thing that each meeting has in common is that we give our prospective client 100% of our time and energy to find the best possible outcome for their marketing needs. We would look at the industry, we would look at the business, we would look at their competitors, we would basically take not only a marketing approach but a commercial approach as well.
SN: Would you say study or experience is the most beneficial way to get into the marketing field and how did you gain your expertise?
DF: My opinion on that could be seen to be quite controversial as, 9 times out of 10, I would hire someone with experience over qualifications but saying that, every once in awhile you have to give someone the chance to gain that experience. It really comes down to the individual, and what is pivotal, are people who can adapt, marketing is one of the most diverse and adaptable forms of business and could be compared to modern technology – you can’t just stick to the way it’s always been done, it’s not that type of industry. A combination of study and experience is probably the ideal. I have qualified myself in things like Google, which is important from a credibility point of view. If you look at some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world, owning multi-billion pound companies, there are quite a few university or school drop-outs, Bill Gates,Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, when you look at these inspirational people you realise that there is a lot more to it.
SN: How creative do you need to be when you are pitching your idea to a potential customer, or do you leave that to your creative team?
DF: We all have unique skills and all have different levels of creativity. Anyone who decides to go into marketing, if they don’t have creativity, is in the wrong business. The reality is, at Grow Marketing we have a well rounded creative team with different skill sets. When we go to a meeting, we always go with a preconceived idea of what the options are but only once we have spoken to the customer can their needs and requirements be fully understood. Creative thinking is probably where Llewellyn and myself would be strong, turning that into visual creativity we have George, who has the knack of transforming our imaginations into a visual masterpiece. We also have Stella, our blogger and Tracey, our editor, who paint pictures with their words, to turn what we are thinking into effective ways of communication. Llew and me would deliver on a lot of the managing of social media, PPC, building a website, the manual labour that goes behind the marketing.
SN: Do you think that you have a Mission Statement for your company as yet, and if not do you have something in mind?
DF: We didn’t from day one say ‘this is our mission statement’ but it has started to form quite beautifully. With the three parts of the business, there’s a real story shaping and it’s about giving people a chance, giving businesses a chance. We also need to be given a chance, so we know what that feels like and I think we are in the most exciting city, in my opinion, in the UK, which means we have a great opportunity to grow and develop. So it’s giving people a chance and it’s giving something back and being successful in the process. How one achieves success is key and we plan on growing upwards with our clients at our side. So no defined mission statement as yet but it is developing in the form of us finding our feet.