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How to get into digital: client services

March 11, 2016

Dave Houlbrooke
Dave is CandidSky's Head of Digital, he loves connecting people and technology, and has over 15 years experience building outstanding websites and online experiences.

We receive a lot of interest from people looking to get into digital marketing. So, we spoke to a few of the team to understand their journey into the industry. First up, Si Franks.

What do you do?

I’m CandidSky’s Client Services Manager. It’s my job to make sure all of our clients are happy with the services we provide. That means I oversee all client communications and keep a close eye on all the work we produce to make sure it’s done to a high standard and on time.


What skills do you feel are important for the role?

Good communication, organisation, attention to detail and the ability to work on a variety of tasks at once are key skills needed to work in client services. I’d also say it’s useful to have the ability to get on with different kinds of people. One minute I’m asking a designer to make changes to their design, the next I’m explaining something technical to a client, then I’m making sure our developers are on schedule with their projects. There are subtle differences with each group and I have to be aware of these nuances depending on who I’m talking to – techies can sometimes be seen as a different breed!

What’s the best thing about your job?

I enjoy being involved through the entire journey from the initial stages of finding out what the client requires, right through to delivering something the client is really happy with. It can sometimes be hard work, but seeing the new project live and working well – giving the client more conversions and ultimately improving their business, makes the whole thing worthwhile. Deploying the finished product is very rewarding.

What did you study at school/uni?

I studied English Language at university before doing a Postgraduate Diploma in Newspaper Journalism. Although not directly related to marketing, my qualifications have helped give me a keen eye for detail and top communication skills – both written and verbal.

How did you get into the industry?

After uni, I wanted to work in PR and got a job in the Communications Department at Everton Football Club. Here I was dealing with the press as well as writing articles for the club’s matchday programme and website. Crucially, however I was also looking after their weekly marketing e-newsletter. That gave me my first experience of online marketing, which was enough to help get me a job at a digital agency in Manchester where my role was split 50% on PR for The Football League and 50% email marketing for Carling lager. As time went on, I found I was enjoying the online marketing more than the PR so I ended up focusing on that – mainly managing the day-to-day running of Carling.com and Carling’s digital marketing activity. From there I’ve not looked back!

What tips would you give on how to get into your industry?

Work experience is key. I’d say getting experience under your belt is even more important than qualifications. Contact local agencies and see if they need an intern or can provide you with work experience. Offer to work for free during the holidays – the more willing and tenacious you are, the more likely you are to get your foot in the door and impress potential employers.

If you could give someone starting out just one piece of advice that would help them in their career, what would it be?

A mantra taught to me by my first account director has stuck with me for the past 10 years: “Make it happen”. To be effective in client services and account management you need to be proactive and ‘make it happen’ for your client and your agency. Chase things down, grasp the nettle and deal with things head on – if you don’t do that then you won’t push projects along at the pace they need to be going. For further advice, you may also want to take a look at my 5 Top Tips: Account Management blog post.

What’s been your favourite project to work on at CandidSky?

I’ve managed a lot of great projects so far, including the Peninsula website rebuild and some really cool Sage campaigns, but my favourite up to now has been the John Ryan by Design website rebuild. As you can see from the screenshot where we’ve put the client’s old homepage design alongside their new one, we managed to take all of John Ryan’s amazing expertise and house it in a much cleaner and more organised way. I think the site and especially the product pages look amazing – I’m really proud of our whole team.



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