I currently work for a chemical etching company based in Cambridgeshire, called Photofab. My role over the past 4 years has been as a Sales Account Manager, which I have enjoyed greatly, and it has given me vast understanding of the chemical etching industry, enabling me to become technically trained and knowledgeable about the service we offer and the products we can manufacture.
When the opportunity arose to be able to develop my skillset further, I started to study for a BA Hons in Business Management with the hope that it would enable me to grow and open further opportunities for career development. I completed an assignment on marketing for Photofab, and it was so well received by the senior management team that I was offered the opportunity to become the internal contact for Photofab’s marketing activities, whilst being strategically driven and guided by the S2F team – the intention being that S2F would essentially be the marketing department for Photofab rather than using an outside source.
The reason that Photofab chose to use S2F in particular was that they primarily undertook marketing for manufacturing companies and so they offered a variety of services for product marketing which would meet the primary marketing needs of Photofab. We really wanted to work with a company who understood the manufacturing process as it takes a different mindset from standard marketing. That was last year…
Since this time, I have been working with the S2F team and have developed a wonderful working relationship and respect for each member of the team and the service they offer companies like ours. With the support of both Warren and Richard, I have been able to build a good foundation for Photofab’s marketing activities and we have redesigned the website, rebranded the company, changed the logo, designed business cards and brochures and much more.
But now we have reached a pinnacle point that most businesses in Photofab’s position would, whereby they were looking to start utilising my skills further, so some of the daily, more reactive marketing activities could be brought in house. This leaves Richard, Warren and their team to concentrate on the more complex aspects of videography, photography and strategic management to help take our brand awareness to the next level.
Understanding this, Warren and Richard offered me a unique opportunity to develop my marketing skills further by attending a two-day internal training course with the S2F team, so I could learn first-hand what skills I could be taught to help develop the company’s internal marketing activities. I was aware that this was quite unique as most marketing companies prefer to keep their knowledge and experience internally so they can retain the business, however it was refreshing that S2F took a more strategic approach to the request from Photofab. They could see the bigger picture and how this change could help both Photofab and S2F going forwards.
My first impressions of the S2F team were very interesting. Whilst I had already met Richard Hill, Warren and Ben – as they had been over to Photofab on many occasions for progress meetings or for photography days – I had not seen what the office culture or work environment was like. I had an image in my head of a hive of activity and chat with bean bags strewed about the place, music in the background and lots of creative chats going on. This was not a reality. What I soon realised was that this marketing company took a very strategic, methodical and professional approach to the service they offer customers. I was first greeted by Richard Hill and Warren (it was good to see some familiar faces). Richard provided me with a training schedule and introduced me to each team member one by one, all of whom looked very professional in their S2F shirts and overall corporate image.
Warren and I then sat down to have an informal discussion about what I were looking to get out of the two days, what was most important for me to better understand. He explained how the skills they could teach me could be applied to my activities within Photofab, and it was all provided in bitesize chunks to try and make it less daunting. He took me on a tour of the company and showed me the creative aspects of their working environment, including motivational slogans, plentiful meeting areas, soft seating areas and the café located just outside the office. The reason there were so many meeting and discussion areas was to encourage interactions between the team and to promote a more relaxed and enjoyable working environment.
The fist day then went by in a whirlwind. We discussed many areas of marketing ranging from reactive and proactive social media activities, developing an operations plan, blog writing concepts and ideas, keywords, sales presentations and much more. By 5pm I had a task list drawn up of ways in which I could use what I had learned and put it into action.
Day two started with learning more about product photography and videography with Ben. We discussed lots of concepts about way we could use the products and the Photofab logo to shoot animated videos to use on our blogs and in social media posts for the future. It was interesting to hear the various team members working on different aspects of our company marketing as part of their daily activities, from Sam working on our website content to Luke creating new reports to help me in my daily tasks when I returned to the office. In the afternoon I sat with Richard and had an-in-depth lesson regarding using social media platforms to build up the company profile and target selected markets. The day flew by once again, but I completed my final day with a whole page of ‘to do’ tasks. In my final hour, myself, Richard and Warren sat around the conference table to build up a plan of action for the next few months which has made me very excited about the time ahead!
Thank you once again to the whole S2F team for your time, patience and making me feel like ‘one of the gang’.
Until next time…
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