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Q&A with Rich Harper

Meet Rich Harper, Head of Digital Marketing at Brew Digital

Introducing Rich Harper, the mastermind behind Brew Digital's digital marketing success! As the Head of Digital Marketing, he leads a dynamic team focusing on Paid Media, Social Media, SEO, and email/CRM. But this team isn't just about individual channels—they believe in a cross-channel approach that just seamlessly works. 

With 16 years of marketing experience under his belt, Rich's journey began in a creative role, but digital marketing soon stole his heart. Curious about his path to Brew Digital, and what makes Brew Digital's strategies stand out? Let's dive into the world of Rich Harper and the excitement of digital marketing!

Could you first introduce yourself? 

I am the Head of Digital Marketing, I head up a team that focuses on 4 different channels; Paid Media, Social Media, SEO and email/CRM. As a team we work with clients but also are responsible for marketing Brew Digital, driving inbound leads predominantly. Our approach is cross-channel, rather than individual channels.

So as head of Digital Marketing, what's your background?

I've been in marketing now for 16 years, straight out of Uni and I started off in a creative role working mainly on the concept and creative side of media, such as press, radio, and TV. I started to take on more responsibilities which involved digital channels and then realised that I really enjoyed Digital. So I focused my career journey on that side of things. 

What first attracted you to marketing? Why did you want to pursue it as a career?

I went to Uni, and I did a degree in animation and illustration (the pencil nowadays is for a hobby rather than professionally!) so I kind of had the intention that I was gonna move into a design role. During uni I worked in retail, and started to come up with ideas on how to increase foot-fall and sales for our store by designing flyers and things like that. I sent it to the head office (because everything has to get signed off) and they offered me a secondment in the marketing team – and I loved it! I like the psychology behind marketing as well as the creative aspect. And after that, I moved into more of an advertising role, including TV and radio. That was good fun, as I got to go on TV shoots and photo shoots.

But I was quite interested in that whole end-to-end journey, and how it impacted

on a business's bottom line. So I moved into a more senior position with a smaller business in the event space, and that gave me loads of opportunity to implement things that I'd learned, but also start to learn more about business.

 I like how businesses work; how people work and operate, which is how I found myself head of a department now, with a fairly big team. I get to manage those guys on a day-to-day basis, and I get to work with external businesses – it’s all exciting to me.

Do you think your career emerged in parallel with digital marketing, seeing how Google was increasing its influence during the same period?

When I first entered into a marketing role, there were digital channels – email, websites etc. were around. At the time, SEO was very keyword focused. It sounds ridiculous now, but you could just stuff keywords in web pages. 

Obviously Google over time has become a hell of a lot smarter.

It's virtually impossible to trick Google because a lot of the fundamentals are around the user experience and journey rather than just surfacing a web page because it mentioned the keyword 25 times.

And far more complicated for the marketing professional to try and optimise and rank for Google.

What’s your favourite part of the job? 

My favourite part of the job is seeing strategies and campaigns come to life and generate real results. I am immensely proud every time a campaign generates a lead that converts into money for one of my clients. It's part of our DNA and something I truly believe in; we focus 100% on our customers' success. Our success comes from their success and this mindset is what I strive to instil in teams I manage.

What are the bits that are most challenging? 

Trying to show people how important marketing is to a business, no matter how big or small. From little details like the logo, to how a customer is spoken to, marketing runs through every business whether it is known or not. It touches every area, and is so important to the overall success of any company. Many companies want instant success and don’t set tangible outcomes to their activities, which then results in marketing getting a bad reputation. It’s important to understand that multiple factors contribute to success, and channels should be viewed collectively rather than individually. It's also important to attribute and track sales to specific activities to effectively measure the success of your marketing efforts against the bottom line. 

Do you have a secret skill or talent your work colleagues don’t know about?

I have been playing bass guitar for nearly 12 years, and have played local pubs, venues and festivals with a number of bands. I was in a Queens of the Stone Age cover band for about 6 years, and once played a festival with Bruce Foxton from The Jam. 

Is there anything about the job that surprises you? Or something people might not know about what you do?

One thing I found when I first entered marketing was how many different aspects to the role there were. A previous sales colleague once described marketing as the colouring department, but there is so much more to what we do. We are creatives, we are analysts, we are consultants, we are finance, strategists, project managers – it's a role that requires a varied set of skills. 

Is there a particular project you’re particularly proud of?

I work with a variety of clients across a number of industries but I particularly enjoyed the event space. I once worked on a number of campaigns for a well known creative technology brand that, for a number of years, I had admired because of their branding and marketing. I never thought I’d get a chance to one day work with them, and come up with creative campaigns to drive attendance to their European events. It was a lot of fun, and it felt good to see campaigns I had worked on all over the web.

How do you spend your ‘off-time’? 

I like to keep busy, I am not one for sitting around. I have a lot of hobbies, such as music, exercise, golf, football, and DIY! You will find me at the cross-fit gym most mornings, or training for some sort of event – marathons, triathlons etc. I am hoping to complete an Ironman one day! If I am not doing something active then it's spending as much time with my family as possible. My wife and I have three kids, two dogs and a cat so there is never a dull moment in our house.

Is there an upcoming or emerging technology that has you really excited? 

It's probably on everyone's mind but AI is something I am really excited about. I feel that this technology is going to be such a game-changer for so many industries but especially marketing. I am certainly not concerned by the ‘computer’ taking my job – I think it provides massive opportunities for us and opens up a lot of possibilities. I say embrace the technology because it isn't going away!

Why do you love working at Brew Digital?

Brew is a fun place to work with lots of cool people. We have a great culture and lots of opportunities to grow. We are trying to do things differently, work with our clients in innovative ways, and to take on projects that we feel passionate about so as to create outcomes we can be proud of. 

What would be your one tip for a business wanting to get started on their digital marketing? 

Know your customer and know your proposition – you aren’t selling to everyone. Understand why your customers buy from you and then drive that message in all your communications. And if you get stuck, reach out to us and we’ll support you! 

Let's chat

If you fancy a chat about anything to do with digital marketing, contact us and one of us will be in touch. We're ready, are you?

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