Creating teams. Shaping futures.

ADLIB Creative Employment Survey 2017

Today, we are launching our ‘2017 Creative Employment Survey (South West)’.

The purpose of this is to produce a snapshot of where ‘Creative Employment’ is at currently in the South West and where we are heading.

It’s about the areas that truly matter in this context and questions revolving around:

How optimistic is the South West Creative sector about growth?

What Creative skills are in demand? What’s ‘Top Creative Talent’ today?

Are there enough of the ‘right’ Creative skills in the South West? Are there any Creative skills gaps?

What does it take to retain top Creative Talent today in the South West?

So, we’re calling on you to provide the answers that will allow us to produce the results. It’s a short, sharp multiple choice survey that will only take a few minutes of your time.

Absolutely hand on heart: the results you provide are completely anonymous to ADLIB. We will have no trail of where they have come from, nor will they be shared with any third parties or used for any other reason than this survey.

A copy of the results will be readily available to anybody and everybody who wishes to view and download of course.

A big ‘thank you’ in advance!

Take the Creative Employment Survey

Agency Founder & Client Partner: Some wisdom Sophie’s gained

Launched in January 2016 but already a team of 15, Team Eleven Agency Founder & Client Partner Sophie Gibson tells us what she’s learned.

We are all about sharing what it’s really like to be a part of the sectors we operate in.

This is part two of our series of articles revolving around ‘wisdom’. For this, we are catching up with a range of very experienced sector professionals to ask them what ‘key things’ they’ve learned and could pass on to those within their sector, those working in the same profession as well as the next gen of talent – beyond the actual skills it takes to do what they do.

Next up, Sophie Gibson, Founder & Client Partner at Team Eleven Ltd. Sophie started her career over 15 years ago at Publicis London working on blue chip companies like McVities, Premier Foods and MFI. She then followed this with a 5 year stint at creative agency The Red Brick Road where she was Business Director on Tesco, Magners and Suzuki. After moving to Doner where she was promoted to Client Services Director, Sophie decided to set up her own Agency with business partner Nick Gill.

Now, Sophie, in an attempt to capture some of the wisdom you’ve gained as a professional so far, what are “stand-out things” you’ve learned within the past 15 years, while working as a senior woman in the advertising industry and now, Agency Founder & Client Partner…

Sophie Gibson:

  1. Be yourself. For a long time I felt like a ‘fraud’. That I should behave in a certain way, or try to be someone I wasn’t. I now realise more than ever that people buy people. Entrepreneurs wouldn’t succeed otherwise.
  2. Make lists. Lists will never go out of fashion in my book, and with good reason. Nothing lifts that grim mood, even on a Sunday night, more readily than a well prepared list of things to do for the week ahead.
  3. Never assume. I got told as an Account Executive ‘assumption is the mother of all f**k ups’ and it’s a piece of golden advice that has stayed with me throughout my career.
  4. Understand the importance of relationships. Get to know your clients both personally and professionally. If you have a true interest in them as individuals you’ll better understand what motivates them and how to ensure you respond accordingly.
  5. Learn to say no. Too often in the bid to be successful, people say yes to everything. Even if it means they realise they have less time to do their job properly. The challenge is understanding what to prioritise, and accepting that sometimes, you just can’t do it all and keep everyone happy (I would highly recommend to everyone to read ‘The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K’ by Sarah Knight. It is transforming).
  6. Manage expectations both up and down. If you don’t have time to do something let people know in advance. They won’t judge you badly for it, and in fact it will show that not only can you manage your own time, but also key stakeholders.

Thank you Sophie for sharing!

Do you love your customers less than your prospects?

‘Unmissable deals here’, ‘introductory offers there’, if you offer that sort of thing you may be one that loves and spoils new customers more than existing ones…

This seems to be quite a common one, so we caught up with Cheryl Crichton, one of the Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultants to gather her tips to make sure you spread that love evenly.

This is what Cheryl shared…


From a marketing spend point of view, spoiling new customers more than existing ones looks expensive to me, especially for small businesses that don’t have the massive marketing budgets that the big boys do. It costs money to acquire new customers, not to mention how irritating it can appear to existing customers – ‘why don’t I get that deal?’.

I think small businesses are far better off loving (and spending marketing budget on) the customers they already have and working their way back to a customer who’s never heard of them. Even if you’re a new or start-up business without any customers yet, getting ready for them and supplying everything they need to influence the decision to buy off you and stay a loyal customer is the way to go.

Let me explain…

Start with loyalty and work your way up

Most businesses will be familiar with the concept of a sales funnel – leads in at the top (prospects) and sales down at the bottom (customers). Or another way of looking at it is generating awareness at the top (acquisition) and maintaining loyalty at the bottom (retention). The ‘customer journey’.

In my experience people think that marketing happens at the top of the funnel – they turn on some ‘marketing taps’.










The example I opened with was just that – a business who is spending, spending, spending at the top of the funnel to get new customers (advertising, PR and some Social Media maybe).

That’s great for getting people to the top of the funnel, but in my kitchen things fall out of the bottom of a funnel* (and that could be customers). That’s an expensive leak in the customer journey don’t you think? Especially if you’ve spent all that time, money and effort, not to mention love, at the top.

That’s why I like to think of the bottom of the funnel as a bucket, not a colander, with taps running customers through funnels to get to it. The trick is to ensure your bucket has no leaks before you turn on any taps. As I said, start at the bottom and work our way up, ensuring things are watertight with your marketing.

Think twice about spending at the top

It’s definitely cheaper to look after and nurture a loyal customer than to court a new one. Even if you sell something that’s a ‘one off purchase’, a customer for life is a truly valuable one – you want a loyal champion who will spread the word and refer you to others. So keep talking to the ones you have, they might buy off you again.

Plus, making small incremental tweaks to your marketing, starting with the bucket, has a bigger impact on returns (with less spend) than doing it the other way around. There’s a great tool from the award-winning small business book Watertight Marketing that illustrates this perfectly. If you have a copy, go register it and download the ‘Uplift Calculator’ from the Member’s Area. Chapter 9 also looks at what shape your budget ‘should’ be, and gives guidance on where you should be spending money on marketing and where you shouldn’t.

In conclusion…

Marketing is all about ensuring there is information and engagement at every step of the customer journey that supports and/or influences the decision people make to buy from you.

I also believe there is potential for customers to leak out along the way of the customer journey, so you need to ensure you are plugging those leaks so as not to leak those customers.

In summary from today’s article:

  • Love your loyal customers as much as your prospects (or more). It’s cheaper.
  • Fix any profit leaks from the bottom up (of the customer journey).
  • Don’t spend marketing budget where you don’t need to. Work it out subject to what you sell and how people buy from you.


About Cheryl Crichton: With extensive experience in branding, design and advertising, Cheryl helps growing businesses stop wasting money on marketing. She’s always looking forward to her next challenge and sees her role as simply looking after clients and giving them good marketing advice. She is a Chartered Marketer and accredited to work with the framework, tools and techniques of the award-winning small business marketing book Watertight Marketing by Bristol author Bryony Thomas.

You might also like these blogs from Watertight Marketing:

What shape is your marketing budget

What should you include in the marketing budget for your small business


*  Popular saying by Watertight Marketing author Bryony Thomas.

© Watertight Marketing Ltd. The key concepts, frameworks, illustrations, and structure used in this article remain the intellectual property of Watertight Marketing and are used with permission and under license by Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant Cheryl Crichton.

Welcome Chris!