Can you tell us about your background and career to date?
I have always had a love for marketing and have been interested in pursuing it as a career. When I was a child, eye-catching commercials and clever marketing interested me more than the typical children’s activities or television. This love gradually developed over time, and I turned it into a career path!
Now I am a two-time national award-winning marketing expert, academic researcher, and CEO of the global marketing outsourcing agency BBSA, with 20+ years of experience within the B2B, B2C, and non-profit industries. I am one of the few global experts in marketing outsourcing, boasting key achievements, including winning the 2014 Institute of Directors Henley Competition and the 2012 RICS Social Media Marketing Award.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
BBSA was founded in 2012 due to a market gap that we identified, and at that time, it had a clear USP. The unique challenge of small businesses is that they only employ five people on average, despite making up 98% of total companies. This means that they do not have the capacity to employ in-house marketing teams, limiting their domestic and international opportunities. This is where outsourcing talent comes in.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
The move was not immediate, and it took time, deliberation, and enormous preparation. Being relatively young at that stage, I invested substantial time and resources into meticulously researching the market and the competition. My research led me to a business model and proposition, which I tested while taking business management and accounting classes. Marketing and winning new clients was my area of expertise, so I focused my time on what was lesser known to me, becoming accustomed to the legal and financial obligations of running a business, its governance, and employment law. After putting in all the hard work, I wanted to incorporate it on a date that would be memorable. I waited until the 12th of December and got a very unique date – 12-12-12.
What would you say is BBSA’s unique selling point?
Although currently, we are seeing more outsourcing agencies being launched, BBSA was the first London outsourced marketing agency. We then expanded to the US and the Virgin Islands.
We have serviced over 2,100 clients globally, using exceptional, quality marketing and through anticipating the needs of small businesses as well as actively listening to them. We offer clients solutions and first class services that they can afford.
Our tagline, “Outsource your marketing,” says it all. We will take care of your marketing as if it were our own company, and our clients see the benefits.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Strategic partnerships with the right firms are key to empowering a company in the business-to-business space, widening its reach to customers in a fraction of the time, and essential to global development. An alliance with a partner that does not have your integrity or share collectively in your vision could taint your reputation and negatively influence your success.
Identifying strategic partners was one of our most critical tasks to enable global growth, but we found it easier said than done. Currently, we have a member of staff dedicated only to strategic partners but when we started, it took us a long time to identify what our ideal strategic partner should look like. Requiring equal time and dedication was the creation of a compelling win to win offer that made the partnership worthwhile and relevant for other companies. Signing a new partnership deal won’t guarantee you success unless keeping the engagement high, and you need the right evaluation metrics in place to judge performance – and in hindsight, this too, was a challenge.
What’s been your proudest moment so far?
Launching and managing a global agency on my own, available to clients 24/7, while giving a service that excels was a rewarding experience. Creating a team that shared the same passion for the marketing profession offered complexities, but the challenge was overwhelmingly worth it! Today, our team consists of 26 dedicated professionals, each well versed in their fields. My team’s growth is an incredible feeling, especially when we celebrate their five-year anniversary mark at BBSA, but also when their growth opens up other avenues for them beyond BBSA.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Be prepared for both success and setback, even when you have put in the hours and tried your best. Spot things early and have a plan with options already laid out to correct what doesn’t work as quickly as possible.
- Success is all about having the skills and confidence to turn a marketing project around so that it comes out as a winner, no matter what.
- Focus on relationship building, and retaining clients. Successful companies have 80% or more of their business coming from returning customers, on average.
What are your plans for the future?
BBSA is the only marketing agency operating globally on a 24/7 business model.
From the very beginning, BBSA was built around our talented team, and our focus has been on delivering a superior environment and culture in which our marketer can thrive. We are incredibly excited about launching our new internal global business function, the BBSAClub. The BBSAClub was created to drive BBSA’s proactive investment in improving conditions and completing the transition to the modern workplace for our team, but there is more to that. The BBSAClub is all about making our team members feel appreciated and cared for, and part of a strong online community of other team members. Here they can advance their ambitions, proactively learn from each, and ask for support while feeling respected, assisted, and genuinely acknowledged.