Friday, 14 October 2011

Spotlight on eskimosoup's Marketing Director

John Gilbert has an impressive background in marketing and he’s ready to tell us all about it. Working on campaigns for various clients, from the NHS to small businesses, he’s one of our original team members. eskimosoup reporter Rich “I’ve only been here three months” Sutherland caught up with John to find out what his role involves.

RS: John, you’re the Marketing Director of eskimosoup. Can you tell us something about your employment history?

JG: I never really had a proper job.

RS: Short and sweet.

JG: What I mean is I took a quite conventional route to get where I am today but it was more immediate. I studied my GCSEs, then A-levels and a degree, and after that I went straight into working for an engineering firm, looking after their marketing activity.

RS: That sounds like an employment history.

JG: Well that’s true, but it was a very brief history compared to most. After my degree I did an NVQ Level 4 in Project Management, a Masters in Marketing and had become a Chartered Marketer by the age of 23.

RS: Impressive.

JG: Cheers. To be honest I did a load of study and work to try to find what I enjoyed doing. Fortunately I found that I loved marketing and events and I knew I wanted them to be a big part of my life.

RS: So what happened then? How come you left the engineering firm?

JG: I’d been doing a lot of networking in the local area and decided it was time to use my skills for a variety of projects and clients. I knew people and how to help them grow their business, so it was the logical progression.

RS: And what do you do here now, at eskimosoup?

JG: Well, as the Marketing Director of a marketing company, you need to really know your marketing. But it’s not just the skills you acquire during education or even the knowledge you accumulate through experience, it’s important to keep on top of trends and the way businesses work, what people need and how they want it delivering, progressions in social media and printing methods, and of course, the ever-changing way people do business. Keeping myself up-to-date with these factors, I work on our own marketing and business development as well as NHS campaigns and events, all while making sure the eskimosoup team is happy in its work.

RS: Difficult question as you’ve been working in your role for many years, but what would you say has been your favourite project?

JG: I’d absolutely love, and wish I had time, to set up a list of all the projects we’ve worked on, at the very least for nostalgic reasons. I’m really enjoying the current throat cancer awareness campaign, Throat wrecked? Get it checked! It has such clear goals, a healthy budget and will really make a difference to the wellbeing of the local community. It’s also going very well, which helps!

RS: Any others that spring to mind?

JG: We’ve had some cracking results this year; working on Biz Week was amazing and the recent St Stephen's Student Lock-in was even better than we expected. That said, I have to say I’m fairly proud that I managed to shoehorn a Zombie Walk into a public health campaign.

RS: And you said that you get to work with a lot of different clients?

JG: Absolutely. We’re actually really lucky at eskimosoup; we look after campaigns for so many interesting organisations with really passionate staff. When I started out I did business with anyone really, but now we can be more selective and only choose to work with someone when we know there’ll be a good working relationship, which will allow us to deliver first-class results. It makes sense really but it can take a while to achieve this level of business, and it’s very rewarding when you get there.

RS: I think I’d be doing you a great injustice if I didn’t mention the Hull Comedy Festival, which you founded.

JG: I did indeed. Five years ago. I really loved building it from scratch and seeing how far I could take it. It’s progressed to the next level now, running for a full month and attracting international acts like Tim Minchin. I passed on the torch to Rich Quelch this year, who’s now wearing the Festival Director’s (clown) shoes, and it’s great to see someone take to it so enthusiastically. People still see me as ‘the Comedy Festival Bloke’ but there were always loads of contributors who made it work; I was the one in the middle of it receiving pats on the back… and the occasional slap on the wrist!

RS: It’s clear that you have a lot on your plate in your work life. How does your personal life compare?

JG: I have two sons, a three-year-old and a five-year-old, which any parent will understand is both extremely good fun and very demanding. From cooking meals and cleaning the kitchen to playing tig and trying to explain the concept of time travel; there’s never a dull moment!

RS: And you’re a sportsman too?

JG: I’m enthusiastic, if not talented, for football, squash, keeping active, doing my back in, it’s all go!

RS: Cheers, John, you’ve been a great interviewee.

JG: No worries, my pleasure. But make sure you don’t use a photo of me with anything weird going on in the background.

 Next week’s Team Spotlight will be on Shane Cane, eskimosoup’s Graphic Designer who walks and talks in flash animated frames.

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