Exactly five years ago to this day I sat in a coffee shop googling wild and wonderful names to call my new outsourced marketing management business. I was full of enthusiasm and excitement. I had my first client, an IT Director who needed a customer event organised. I only had a couple of hours to set it up, then I needed to be back home for my two daughters who were aged 2 and 4 at the time. Every domain name I searched was taken. Slowly the energy and enthusiasm drained away as I plumped for the boring Kemp Marketing Limited. ‘What does it matter?’ I thought. It’s only me, working freelance for a few hours a week. Five years later, Kemp Marketing has over 30 customers and a team of eight people delivering a fully outsourced marketing team solution for small business clients. How did that happen?
Expanding the breadth of experience
I would love to say this was all part of a grand five-year business plan that played out perfectly, but it was far from it. The business grew organically through word of mouth and recommendation. It has been quite a journey for me both personally and professionally. With a handful of clients, I worked as a single freelancer for over two years. In March 2016, I met Beccy who offered to help run a Social Media Workshop for small business owners, to raise funds for my London Marathon 2016 place, running for Team Sense. We worked well together, and the customer base was increasing, so she started working with me. I quickly saw the benefit of having another consultant on board. Beccy brought a new skill set to Kemp Marketing, with a background in sports sponsorship and event management. I also enjoyed the company in the office and having a creative friend to bounce ideas off.
Shift in business focus
My focus and priorities changed later that year, when my husband and I separated, and he moved to Copenhagen. The role of the business became far more important, it changed into a future income for our smaller family. I needed a more established career that offered the flexibility to take and collect my daughters from school and to spend quality time with them. Bringing more people on board provided added support, capacity and security. Sally Low, a friend I met at church, joined the team in January 2017 with a background in financial services, adding further experience and allowing us to extend our client base.
Bringing in digital marketing expertise
As classically trained Marketing professionals, Beccy, Sally and I were conscious that we needed to bring in up to date digital expertise. The marketing landscape had changed so much in 20 years! Fortunately for Kemp Marketing, Reigate and the surrounding area is teeming with untapped talent. A wealth of individuals who have gained invaluable experience at large organisations and city agencies, who are now looking for an improved work-life balance. Harriet Mears, our digital marketing consultant, joined the team in March 2017 bringing in much needed digital strategy skills with some amusing trolling stories from her time working at a well-known coffee brand!
Faith in action
Faith plays a major role in running the business. I pray about everything, which often leads us down new paths that fly in the face of traditional business practise. Meeting start up business owner, Carrie Kalman was a moving yet inspirational experience last summer. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, in the last few weeks of her life, she spoke and directed us with such passion about her ambition for new charity Carrie’s Home Foundation and the future of community living. ‘Space for Good’ became our first team project, with Beccy, Sally and Harriet all contributing to the marketing strategy to bring this non-for-profit community idea to life.
In October 2017, I attended the UK’s first Movement Day at the Methodist Central Hall in London. A worldwide initiative which seeks to connect individuals with spiritual leaders across business, politics and church leadership to instigate social transformation. Led by prayer to attend this conference, I met Mat Eason, who joined us for a year to complete the business investment plan for Space for Good. I also sat next to and stayed in touch with a new business mentor, whose guidance and experience has been invaluable throughout this journey.
Building the digital team
As our business grew, we recognised the need for further support, particularly with social media management and digital advertising. In October 2017, we joined the National Apprenticeship scheme and hired Charlie who is currently studying for a BCS Level 3 Diploma in Digital Marketing alongside his work on client accounts. He comes with new ideas and sees everything from a new Gen Z perspective, which is refreshing for all of us.
Filling the skills gaps
Where we don’t have in-house expertise, we have a reliable extended team of freelance professionals who provide us with additional services, such as branding, design, copywriting, photography and videography. Our pricing policy is to never mark up their work with a percentage. We pass on their price directly to the client and add our marketing management hours. It is a method which has proven popular with both clients and freelance partners. Transparency is important to us.
Investing in web development skills
At the end of last year, it became apparent that we were relying heavily on freelance web designers and developers, which posed a risk to the business, given that most of our customers required website work. To address this, we brought in James in February 2018, who I had worked with on a freelance basis for over a year. This introduced a new capability to the team and allowed us to offer clients full website design, development and hosting services. Shortly after this, Oli joined the team to work alongside James and Charlie, with a focus on delivering social media and PPC advertising campaigns.
Adding PR consultancy
Just in the last month, Rhiannon Sager has joined the team with a background in start-up and fashion PR services, to fulfil a growing need for small business PR consultancy. We are yet to place her bio on the website and take her photo. All in good time! So far, we have kept her busy supporting two of our client projects to increase exposure for industry award achievements.
Your marketing team
Earlier this year, when it dawned on me that we had changed the shape of our proposition and James politely pointed out that we needed a new website, we rebranded the business using a refreshed colour palette, new imagery and the single letter ‘K’. We introduced the phrase ‘Your Marketing Team’ which neatly describes the service we offer to clients.
The future for Kemp Marketing
Having gone through a considerable growth spurt over the last 12 months, with continuous investment in the business, the plan for next few years is to slow the pace a little. I like the size of the team and the family feel we have in the office, so I don’t want to lose that by becoming too large. We enjoy working with ambitious small business entrepreneurs and have no burning desire to deviate from this by bringing in contracts from larger companies. The most important thing for us, is working with good people and sharing their passion for business growth.
We are celebrating our 5th Birthday with a few drinks on Wednesday 14th November at Maison Du Velo, Lesbourne Road, Reigate from 6.30pm onwards. Please feel free to join us and meet the team.