We recently forced Laura Bell to take a moment out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about The Point. We sat her on the therapist’s couch and got to the bottom of what motivated her to start her own digital marketing consultancy business, then hypnotised her into spilling the beans on insider tips and tricks that helped propel her successful career.
Q: What initially drew you to a career in marketing?
A: I actually studied fashion at university, but after a year-in-Industry as part of my degree, I realised it wasn’t for me. I loved the creative side, but I didn’t enjoy the working culture.
I managed to get a Graduate placement after university at a large Marketing Agency in London, and it all really started there. I loved the mix of commercial business needs with creativity, and the culture and vibrancy of agency life.
I started then on the Account Management side of things, helping clients to plan and manage campaigns. It was hard work; we’d work all hours and would go above and beyond for clients wherever we could. We had the need to impress, push further and get the best product out of business drummed into us. But that grounding set me up for a very successful and varied career.
Q: What made you decide to start The Point Consultancy?
A: After many years both in-house and in agencies, things had changed. Back in the day, to produce a website and a media campaign, you needed an army of highly skilled people to do so, But now, technology has made things more readily available.
With that, I felt the traditional agency model wasn’t working. Agencies would still hire a broad spectrum of skill sets and people – but that forced their hand to sell what they had, not what the client needed.
Many businesses don’t want nor can afford one big full-service agency, nor do they have the time to deal with a long list of smaller specialist contractors. They just need someone who understands marketing from top-to-bottom and can help make it happen.
The Point was designed to do just that. I go in as a consultant and advise what needs doing to meet their brand, sales or commercial needs; then we’d bring in some trusted contractors to deliver it whilst managing it for them.
It’s a simple model, but it works really well.
Q: How do you think your previous experience in marketing has influenced how you do things at The Point?
A: I’ve been fortunate to work in businesses of different shapes and sizes and in different parts of the world, which has given me a really broad understanding of the landscape.
I also had a really good grounding and work ethic. I always sought ways to make things better, deliver more than what was asked and looked to do things above my pay grade, which helped to get me promoted through the ranks pretty quickly.
I’ve also always been a problem solver and critical thinker; I like to figure out what can be done vs just doing what’s been done before. This really helped me develop my strategic chops, which is where I believe our strengths lie as a business.
All that, mixed with my experience of working with clients and knowing the importance of being a trusted partner, who can have an honest conversation rather than creating barriers or being on the hard sell all the time, led me to where we are now.
Q: What’s the most useful marketing trick you’ve learned?
A: Listen. As an agency or a consultant, you’ll never know as much about a client’s business as the people within it. Actually, one of my “icks” from agency life was how they often had this arrogance that they knew better.
Take the time to listen to your clients, their peers, bosses, juniors and anyone you can. A problem isn’t always fully visible, so digging as much as possible will help you see the bigger picture.
Q: What do you see for the future of The Point?
A: For me, I’d like to keep it on this trajectory. It’s not about being the biggest with a high headcount, as that will fall into the trap of the traditional set-up.
Building out our Consulting abilities and embedding ourselves into clients’ businesses as their ongoing Marketing support is our happy place.
Seeing clients actually see the value in marketing is our main objective; giving them a brand they can be proud of and watching them see the results over time is what we do best.
Q: If you could send a message to your younger self, what would it be?
A: Having a successful career I believe is a) being nice to work with but also b) making yourself as invaluable as you can. You can do this by –
Q: And lastly, what do you like most about working with your favourite Campaign Manager, Sophie McGuffie?
A: Her sharp wit. Creative chops and psychic abilities.