Interview with Warren Eades, Head of Account Strategy
Moving to a new city can always be daunting; Where is good to eat? What tourist attractions should you visit first? Who even is the Puppet Man? But not for Further’s new Head of Account Strategy, Warren Eades. Joining Further in February, Warren brings with him a wealth of customer and digital marketing experience. Now, amidst all the chaos and client meetings (you will never not see him in a meeting) we sat down (via zoom) to find out more:
A little background:
Warren has over 10 years of sales and marketing experience working in-house and in agencies for national and international organisations. From starting out in client facing roles to progressing into account management and digital marketing. His previous experience includes delivering paid and organic campaigns, managing six-figure search and social accounts and building websites with conversion and optimisation in mind. What motivates Warren most is unpicking and solving problems, finding the solutions whilst also identifying new opportunities too (all of which are perfect for his new role!) He has worked for a multitude of brands and industries across FMCG, insurance, travel and ecommerce markets. Some career highlights include Pink Lady Apples, NRMA Car Insurance, Minddistrict (ehealth for the NHS) and Springer Nature Academic Publisher.
One of his proudest achievements though have been working for National HIV and Sexual Health charity, Terrence Higgins Trust where he was responsible for growing awareness around HIV prevention, tackling stigma and growing the charities donation revenue.
‘’Tackling stigmatic issues and activism around behavioural change is a passion of mine, seeing that Further works with NFPs and charities including drug and alcohol addiction services was a huge part of my decision in joining Further. It’s important for me that I work for an employer who cares. ’’
Warren moved from London to Norwich to be closer to his family, citing having a fear of missing out (FOMO) on seeing his niece and nephew grow up. With his contract ending at his old role, Warren wasn’t looking for agency work specifically. “Further found me at the right time, both on a personal and career level.” He recalls.
Taking over from Further’s Head of Account Strategy, Kate Barham (who recently went on Maternity leave), Warren will be responsible for managing a team of Account Strategists as well as his own portfolio of clients.
”Having worked in both Digital Marketing and Sales in London and APAC for many years, I have the insight and experience to look at the whole customer journey from search/discovery to customer and loyalty. Understanding the person behind the audience is imperative to the success of any campaign. By greater understanding our clients’ needs (personal and business), building great relationships based on trust and transparency, creating agile strategies that we know our digital delivery teams can add value and our clients can implement’’.
Warren will continue to lead the Accounts team in achieving the best results for our clients through customer service, delivery, budgets and quality of work. Having delivered many successful integrated digital marketing strategies that have helped achieve departmental and business goals across a multitude of brands, tactics and channels, Warren is ready for the new challenges ahead: “I believe that seeing (and doing) digital marketing, in a variety of ways and settings gives me context, backed up with experience to make informed decisions.” He states. “Working to structured, data-led and performance-based plans – we can make a measurable impact on our clients business – That’s why I’m here, and very happy to be.”
Returning to agency work
Having a varied and successful career can make choosing your next career move a tough one. So what made Warren return to agency work after being in-house for so long? He calls himself an overthinker: “Having too much downtime and not feeling challenged is any overthinkers worst enemy.” For him, his next role needed to have as much variety as his previous [at Terrence Higgins Trust]. With his fixed term contract coming to an end (a role Warren cites as being like having his own mini-agency working across multiple products, brands and partners) his next move needed to mentally challenge him, be fast-paced and have an element of learning.
“I wasn’t sold the dream of working at Further, I was sold the reality by Lou, Rob [joint Managing Directors] and Steve Jaggard [Founder] in my final interview and strategy presentation. I appreciated the honesty.” Warren reminisces. “’I’ve always liked the process of making plans: solving problems that arise, making sure everyone is informed and on the same page and that an objective is realised. Married with my passion for digital marketing – it made sense for me to work with brands on helping them to define and deliver digital strategies to drive performance and achieve goals”.
Regaining the love for agency life
“No two days will be the same” Warren smirks. “Those were true words Lou said to me in my final interview.” Nearly two months on, Warren has found himself thrown into all manner of projects and campaigns. It’s his dedication to the role that has shined through, making the return to agency work all the more rewarding for him.
“Working at the top level across a wealth of varied B2B and B2C clients across multiple markets and industries as well as working with the senior leadership team to improve operations/processes has made Further a greater place to work. It keeps me very busy and it’s so rewarding. Managing a wonderful team aligns with my passion to teach, debate, discuss and collaborate. Further, as a collective are an amazing bunch of skilled specialists, who each bring their own uniqueness to the team. We work well together but we also have fun together.”
If our clients could talk…
Although it’s still early days, first impressions always count and Warren has hit the ground running. But whilst he’s still getting up to speed, he hopes that his hard work, enthusiasm and determination is shining through the most with clients. “For me getting to understand the past, present and future goals of our clients is my number one priority. Coupled with learning the processes and relationships better. All of this takes time, so I thank our clients for being patient with me whilst I get up to speed.”
Honesty is also a key trait of Warren’s; “I’ll tell you if I don’t understand or don’t know the answer.” He laughs. “I try to back up my answers with data or past learnings so I hope clients would say I’m honest in my approaches, but also overly empathetic and apologetic at times – I’m so British.”
Achievements, struggles and challenges
Warren believes it’s the failures in his career that have helped him learn and the accomplishments that have given him the confidence to grow and dream. One of his biggest challenges, he notes, is having the ability to focus [he says jokingly turning his attention to a shiny object in his room]. It’s something he says he’s struggled with for many years, with so much happening simultaneously, finding it difficult to shut off completely and in times of need. Even now he mentions he has Amazon Prime running in the background and his mind is already turning to another blog post idea. “It’s about control” he states. “I have to ensure I know when to reign it in to remain focused. I know when I need to get my head down.”
Ten years in must accumulate some useful advice for achieving success and Warren prides himself in having gained a wide-range of knowledge and skill sets. All of which has helped him shape his career path (to date). “Hone your skills and experience into a direction that challenges and motivates you.” He says. “It’s often easy to get stuck in one way of thinking.”
Warren’s recipe for achieving digital marketing success [he proclaims has to be read in a Nigella Lawson tone of voice:]
- Start by adding common sense and trust your gut to build a solid hypothesis (idea)
- Add some science/data (to inform) and help persuade and gain buy in. But take it with a pinch of salt (there’s a lot of variables out there to think about and they change all the time. Don’t forget every single person within an audience are different!
- Add plenty of testing and learn from what works and just as importantly what doesn’t.
- Repeat step 3 (optimise a little at a time)
- Beat in plenty of learning and whisk in asking for help along the way. A second, third and 100th pair of eyes are always good.
- Finally, make sure you haven’t forgotten step 1 – over strategy is as bad as no strategy at all. Testing should form strategy. Never forget that.
Having worked across a broad-range of industries, Warren has confidently built up a diverse set of skills that have been integral to his success over the years. But for those looking to make the move into an agency, what advice would he pass on?
“I’ll break this down.” He says. “If you’re like me, it takes a lot to keep you ‘entertained’. You don’t like quiet periods. That’s where an agency could be the right direction for you. You have to be strong and committed to hack agency life. Things change very quickly (COVID-19 is a great example) so you have to be responsive and agile at the drop of a hat. I won’t sugar coat it, agency life can be tough. But like bootcamp, at the end of it you see how much you’ve achieved and you feel great.”
“Joining Further, I’m lucky enough to work for a Norwich-based digital marketing agency that is part of a London-based parent agency [Gravity]. I’m looking forward to working closely with them to achieve our respective clients goals in a collaborative and unified way. Applying learning to best practices that result in the best possible outcomes for our clients and ways of working for our delivery and strategy teams.”
From a big city to a fine city
Warren has taken the move in his stride: “Luckily Norwich is a beautiful city. The weeping willows are reminiscent of Wind and the Willows along the river I get to walk to work by every day. The price of a gin and tonic isn’t bad either [compared to London prices]. The team at Further has already become like a family and a great support network for me. I thank them for all their patience, time and advice.”
So over two months in, both in a new city and new role, how has Warren found the move? “Odd” Warren laughs. “I am loving my time at Further, but I say odd because it’s a completely new role to me, made all the more strange because I am filling in for someone [Kate Barham] who was amazingly good at their job. Leaving such a big legacy behind them meant I had to learn quickly. Luckily Kate set me up with a strong foundation before she left.”
“Already my time here has been eventful, with clients and within the team.” Warren laughs. “If you want to make a first impression on the whole business, I guess falling onto a sharp pencil and needing medical attention [a plaster] is a good way to do it. Not only is it a little weird moving and starting a new position, let alone during COVID-19, but also going from working in-house to agency – i get so engrossed in our clients work that I sometimes forget where I am at the moment – with so much new and exciting information to digest I find it hard to stop my brain cogging at night.
I repeat the words Lou said to me; no two days are the same. That really has stuck with me. But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
To speak to Warren, or a member of the team about your digital marketing, fill in the form below and say hello!