I’m Paul Sutton, a digital marketing consultant who works in partnership with companies of all sizes, from multinational firms to start ups and large marketing agencies to freelancers.
I’ve been working independently since the end of 2014 when, after a couple of years of toying with the idea, I finally took the plunge and left the security of a senior position in a communications agency to establish my own consultancy business.
But my story starts much earlier than that.
Back in 2006 I was I was working as Creative Director at a fast growing PR agency. I’d been working in marketing for the best part of a decade and was growing more and more interested in ecommerce and online marketing.
At that time, online marketing meant websites and SEO, banner advertising, enewsletters and, to some extent, blogging. So I set about learning as much as I could about them.
By the spring of 2007 I was running my own online retail company selling, of all things, luxury pet accessories. It won a retail industry award during its first year of business and was featured in The Guardian newspaper.
But unfortunately, thanks to the small matter of a global recession, it didn’t last. People tended not to buy £25 cat collars in the middle of the credit crunch!
However, everything I learned during those three years as a small business owner was invaluable.
I learned all about Google and search. I learned about web design, conversion tracking and online brand reputation. As social media took off I learned how to cultivate hugely beneficial relationships and how to use it to build communities of advocates.
I learned through necessity, and I immersed myself in the digital marketing world. Truth be told, I became a bit of a geek.
When I returned to communications agency life in 2010 it became very apparent that, much like Liam Neeson’s character in the movie Taken, I had “a very particular set of skills”.
While most other PR people were still focusing on media relations and playing catch up with Facebook and Twitter, my digital knowledge and communications experience put me in somewhat of a unique position.
Over the next four years I continued to learn and to apply my digital and social media knowledge to a wide variety of household brands with great success. Working with the likes of Goodyear, AXA, BSkyB, Poundland and Interflora, my work won 17 digital marketing industry awards.
Since setting up independently I’ve had the honour of working with the likes of Honda, L’Oreal, Macmillan, Panasonic, Golden Wonder and Greene King as well as many SMEs and PR/communications agencies.
The training I now carry out is based upon everything I’ve learned in the last twelve years and is grounded in the practical realities of the communications industry. I read an awful lot, but in my courses and consultancy session I teach what I know works rather than what I’ve read on blogs.
My experience gives me the edge over many other consultants, and that’s what I’d like you to benefit from.