A rebrand, website redesign and PR program increase contact form fills by 532% while differentiating edtech provider in crowded space
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Ready for another team spotlight?
The digital ecosystem is Walker Sands’ integrated approach that combines both PR efforts and digital marketing tactics. To ensure our clients get a full-service agency, Walker Sands’ executives work closely together to guide their teams through successful 360-degree campaigns.
As a key part of this equation, John Fairley, VP of digital services and partner at Walker Sands, leads the digital team. John’s team is in charge of digital strategies, including website design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC), social media, content marketing solutions and more.
I sat down with John to discuss his experiences managing the intersection of PR and digital services. Here’s what he had to say!
1. What is your role at Walker Sands? What does your day-to-day look like?
My role is to make sure that anything that touches digital runs smoothly and aligns with our clients’ businesses. Day-to-day, this could be anything from a one-on-one meeting with members of the staff to strategy meetings for our clients. I make sure that our prospects’ needs match up well with a solution we offer.
When our projects are complete, I run the postmortems (retrospectives), which are where we discuss lessons learned. Every quarter, we check in to see how the lessons learned are being applied.
2. How has Walker Sands changed since you first started at the company?
I’ve been here nine years, so a lot has changed. I became an employee when Walker Sands was only about 10 people, so we didn’t have as many of the formal processes that we have today. We may not have had an HR department, but at this early stage we did have an internship program!
I think the fact that we have both digital and PR (and that they’re integrated) is a big leap from where we were nine years ago. Today, we can have a PR program that builds SEO value for a client, while we drive leads through LinkedIn advertising and nurture leads via email using marketing automation.
3. What do you like most about working at Walker Sands?
What I like most about working at Walker Sands is that I get to problem solve every day, which is fun and enjoyable because you get to come up with creative solutions. For example, if a client is having difficulty reaching a particular audience because its messaging is off, we get to figure out what the right messaging is and how to best get it in front of target audiences and drive them to action.
4. What sets Walker Sands apart from other agencies?
One thing that sets Walker Sands apart from other agencies is that our PR and digital specialists really understand both digital and PR and how the two fit together. Our B2B tech and services specialization, along with practice areas, allow us to leverage our domain expertise to drive real results for our clients.
Another differentiator is that we come to the table with strong, creative ideas. We hear time and time again that a company’s current agency doesn’t offer ideas and relies on the company to generate them. We have very structured approaches to coming up with creative ideas for our clients. We have experience in their industries, we know what the media likes to cover and what content resonates with audiences. This helps us craft great stories for our clients with unique angles that properly position them and help drive new business. Not a lot of agencies do this consistently.
5. What excites you most about the upcoming years at Walker Sands?
What excites me is that we increasingly have clients that want and are ready for innovative marketing campaigns that showcase their brands, resonate with their audiences and drive leads to their sales teams. I see us continuing to evolve what types of rich content we create, such as videos, landing pages and data studies, and how we market that content to our clients’ audiences.
6. What fictional character do you aspire to be like and why?
If I had to think back to my youth, I think I wanted to be Han Solo flying around the galaxy in the Millennium Falcon and going on adventures. Even though I’m usually not a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ type of guy, I can switch it on because I’ve worked with many startups.
It’s really Han Solo’s problem solving that I admire most. Han Solo has that lifestyle where it’s problem after problem coming after him and he solves them. Sometimes he gets through them with humor, sometimes he fails and other times he succeeds, but the journey is always really worth it.
7. If Walker Sands was picking out an office pet, what would you want it to be and why?
Uh, Jigglypuff! No, too much Pokémon going on.
We would definitely have to have a dog as our pet. No sea monkeys or anything like that. I’ve actually had clients where they have open pet policies, and they have dozens of dogs running around the office. It just lowers the tension level a lot. Studies have shown that if you look at pictures of cute animals during work hours you’re more productive, so if you have a live one it can only be better.
Interested in learning more about our team? Keep an eye out for another Team Spotlight next week!