Charlotte Bushell, founder of Byra Marketing talks to us about what is takes to run a successful marketing agency and why her drive to deliver a more honest approach to business became Byra’s USP.
Tell us about your role at Byra Marketing
I am the Founder of Byra Marketing and Co-director alongside my business partner Laura Irvine! Mostly I take care of client relationship management, marketing strategy, and because of my degree in graphic design also – much of the branding work in the agency. Alongside of course, all of the many things that go hand in hand with the day to day running of the business.
Tell us about how the agency got started and how you have developed over the past few years.
So the agency got started back in January of 2021 – and it was really borne from a passion that I felt for how dissatisfied I was with the “industry”. At the time I was working as a marketing manager for a group of 3 companies, and I was constantly getting friends and other business contacts, asking me for advice after being misled by a so-called “marketer” or “web-developer” or “SMM” who had sold them the dream that they would market their business but they were yielding no results.
The other factor was that Marketing can be so simple if explained easily enough, and yet there are agencies out there charging thousands, simply because they can – by swopping in and scaring MD’s and CEO’s with jargon they don’t understand about things they “Really should be doing”.
So I just felt that as much as I loved my job at the time, I simply had to be doing more to help the business community with their marketing, and I couldn’t doing that working for one company on my own. And so Byra was born! Our sole purpose is to create an affordable marketing team, for businesses who cannot afford to employ an in-house marketing department.
As the years have progressed, not only have we increased in staff size – but we have also refined so many of our processes as we learn along to the way, to ensure our product offering is the absolute best for out clients.
How do you and your senior team divide work and focus on strategy?
Between myself and my business partner – we have actually refined this process a couple of times since Byra was founded. Initially as senior managers, we split the clients between us, and each took on writing the over-arching strategy and independently looked after that client, filtering the work down into the team. However we have recognised that our strengths lie better in when we work side by side on everything.
So now primarily Laura will over see the overarching strategy of each client as she remains to be a strategy ninja – and then each of us will take on the actual client relationship side as a split between us, with work filtering into each team members skills sets.
This then actually allows more of my focus time to move into our own business development and strategy.
What challenges do you come up against in business management?
Business management is hard, right? I mean you can take all the courses in the world and feel fully prepared, but when real life situations happen. No-one prepares you for those things. I think the biggest challenges in business management have to be finance, and communication.
Finance because no matter how great you are at planning, and having cashflow forecasts – you are 100% reliant on a customers word of saying they will pay you. Fortunately, our clients are amazing, we have rare issues, but it’s still a stressful risk.
For communication – that flows across everything. How everyone is communicating with one another in the business. How we are communicating with clients. Really learning how each person likes to be communicated with, is the key to having smooth business management, I believe.
What avenues do you focus on in developing new business enquiries?
Haha! A little bit of a funny one for us! This has been a real year for us. Initially we were really fortunate to have rapid growth through word of mouth recommendations and we kind of relied on that for a while until we plateaued and then took stock and realised, we don’t have much else going on.
But the point is you learn from your mistakes right. So now our key focus is in networking, personal branding on our socials and our next biggest focus is on our personal SEO for organic development and working with the public sector.
How have you guys approached creating a brand at your agency?
Well this is just a firm favourite for me! So I always start with a brand workshop document, which I like to do in person rather than have the person fill out in their own time. Because hearing them say their answers really tells me where their passion lies.
Once we have that information, we work on brand messaging, mission, values, a brand pyramid.
And then we’re into creating how that brand will look and feel to their target market.
It’s always a fun project for us. We have a couple of branding projects running at the moment which we’re hyped about.
What has your approach been to hiring and talent acquisition?
Fortunately for us, we have mostly stayed working with the same great people for the whole time we have been running, but as we have needed to acquire new talent then we have taken the classic approach, of advertise, interview. Move our favourites into round two, and either re-interview or set a task based interview and decide from there.
What have you got coming up over the next few months at your agency?
So we’re just about to work with a really cool video production company on a brand video for ourselves, and will be overhauling our own website, which after almost three years is hugely needed.
We have started working with a business coach the past couple of months, so we have never been clearer about where we are headed and how we get there, which is really exciting for us.
We’re closing the year out with two huge web projects in the education sector, and taking on a couple of new client retainers, one of which is in the entertainment / leisure industry so that will be really fun!
Other than that – huge focus on public sector work!
To make a connection with Charlotte at Byra or to find out more about how to get involved with Women in Agencies, contact us and get in touch.