This ‘Day in the Life’ interview comes from close to home, as we catch up with Richard Robinson, Managing Director at Econsultancy.
So, let’s find out what Econsultancy and Robinson are all about…
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I’m the Managing Director of Econsultancy, a brand you’ll know well if you’re reading this blog. However, we admit that sometimes we find it a challenge to sum up what we do in one sentence because we’re a publisher, research house, training company, online resource and above-all-else a community. Depending how you use Econsultancy you will know us as analysts, editors, consultants, researchers, teachers, event organisers and partners. Our aim is to help people and companies succeed in the modern, customer-centric, digitally-enabled world. That makes the variety of our daily lives an important thing.
Above all else, we set out to deliver two things: content and community. Our content makes our events, training and consultancy much better. Our community means we can find the right expert or answer for every challenge.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Econsultancy is part of Xeim, the home of Excellence in Marketing. We are led by Steve Newbold, the Group Managing Director, and my role is one part of the leadership team that incorporates some of the most recognisable names in modern marketing; namely Marketing Week, the Festival of Marketing, Oystercatchers, Creative Review, Influencer Intelligence, Market Makers and Really B2B. Collectively we advise, inform and connect the modern marketer to accelerate performance.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
This is a really exciting time to be a marketer, whether you define your role as digital, performance, ecommerce or traditional B2C or B2B marketing. Customer expectations are changing rapidly and sales and service are just as rapidly moving online.
Making sense of the new normal means three things have become imperative for marketers:
- Knowledge: Knowing what marketing is today – concepts, principles, capabilities – through self-study, formal learning or experience.
- Skills: The ability to apply your knowledge, typically acquired through time, practice and learning.
- Mindset: The fuel required to drive the behaviours and attitudes that will build a sustainable and successful career in modern marketing. Knowledge and skills are important, but they can become outdated quickly if there isn’t the will to be learning on an annual basis.
Tell us about a typical working day
Time is predominantly spent listening to our clients, decoding the real problems that are disrupting their businesses or people, and then creating the right team of experts to deliver the best solution.
Sometimes this means a session with one of our analysts or consultants, or a roundtable of peers and subject matter experts. Other times we may define and deploy a bespoke marketing or digital academy of blended learning, often based on assessment of current competencies or performance benchmarks. Throughout the process, Econsultancy’s content bolsters the unique transformation or learner journeys we create.
Away from the 9-5 I work hard to foster the diversity and inclusivity of talent our industry needs to thrive. This includes job-mentoring, and supporting and celebrating several amazing industry groups including the Ideas Foundation which I chair, Creative Equals, Token Man, SheSays, BAME2020, Creative Mentor Network and WhosYourMomma? There’s an obvious overlap, and the more I’m schooled from 5-9 the easier the role gets from 9-5.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
The challenge of being at the forefront of digital transformation and modern marketing excellence is a constant tonic. Always being pushed to define the now, always needing to bring our A game to every meeting, exploration or analyst session, and always knowing that complacency is the fastest way to irrelevancy makes every day a good day. It’s fun, fast paced, and focused.
On the flipside I’d love everyone to always be eager to think one step further ahead and striving to stay relevant.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Financial performance is up there, but knowing how your work is rated by the people using it is the best benchmark. Renewal rates of our subscribers, views from our registered users and the quantitative performance rating of every piece of consultancy and capability delivered are where I look first.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Outside of the obvious, anything that creates time and enables connectivity. Trello for project management, appear.in for video-calls and meeting management, Guild for business IM, Crystal Knows, Owler & Twitter to better understand who you’re talking to, Swiftkey to save thousands of key-strokes a day, and Citymapper to ensure you never get lost.
How did you end up at Econsultancy, and where might you go from here?
I’ve been fortunate to work for brands, agencies and intermediaries alike. My formative years were spent below-the-line in creative agencies working on, amongst other things, the advent of digital for brands including Orange, Diageo and Scottish & Newcastle. I then happily moved client side for several years working in international marketing for The Coca-Cola Company, before heading marketing domestically at McDonald’s UK.
From there I moved to Publicis Worldwide to lead their P&G business in EMEA and help create Publicis Groupe’s network of agencies in Africa, before becoming one of the four equity owners of Oystercatchers. Oystercatchers enabled me to work with C-suite clients on a daily basis, unravelling and rebuilding agency models, upskilling the competence and confidence of their people and becoming match-fit to create marketing solutions to problems that most had never previously encountered.
After several years of consistent success Oystercatchers was acquired by Xeim, and after six months I jumped at the chance to join Ashley Friedlein and the Econsultancy team. A dream-move for me, and a role I can honestly say I love.
Which companies do you admire for their approach to marketing?
Brands that make full use of owned and earned media. My top three of the moment are Netflix (with special mention to the WhatsApp integration), Seedlip drinks for making dry drinking mainstream all year round, and Dexcom for giving rise to the ‘expert patient’ through real-time monitoring of type 1 diabetes.
Do you have any advice for organisations struggling with digital transformation?
Every business, whether born before digital or born in digital, needs to accept they’re on a digital transformation journey, the alternative being to accept that digital will eventually become the termination of their business.
At Econsultancy we define Digital Transformation as the journey from where a company is today to where it aspires to be digitally.
There’s a lot going on in this short statement, so the best advice is to know where you are today, across your people, processes, campaigns, tech, clients and competitors. What’s working really well, and what would be even better if……
Know where you need to get to, what success looks like, what the most critical KPI is that determines you’re one step ahead.
And know that DT is always a journey. It’s 90% people and 10% tech. There is a start, a middle and an end every time.