5 minutes with… Amy Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer, SRI

This month I’m delighted to be speaking to Amy Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer at SRI, a global executive search & talent consulting firm.

Here’s her 5 minutes with…

What is your marketing background?

After falling into my first job in London as the office ‘dogs’ body’ in a posh headhunting firm in the City, I wanted to learn a craft. I’d always been interested in how we generated business and managed client relationships, so I studied CIM at night school. After making an internal move into a junior marketing position I rose through the ranks and through various promotions and acquisitions first to senior marketing manager, then head of UK marketing and then into my previous role as head of EMEA marketing for Korn Ferry. At the beginning of 2019 I was approached for the role of CMO for SRI, a global search and consulting firm specialist in the media-entertainment-technology sectors. Am loving it! I was looking for an opportunity to take a lead on strategy, cultivate a culture in my own team and make a difference to a business. Hopefully I’m doing that!

What does your role at SRI involve?

I set the marketing strategy including brand, thought leadership, digital and communications. I sit on the global leadership team and manage a small, brilliant team.

You’ve worked in professional services throughout your career what have been some of the biggest changes for you in marketing?

Technology, data and insight. It doesn’t lie and it gives us as marketers critical information to drive strategy, priorities, service development, CRM and an unquestionable ‘seat at the table’.

Technology, data and insight. It doesn’t lie and it gives us as marketers critical information to drive strategy, priorities, service development, CRM and an unquestionable ‘seat at the table’. Back ‘in the day’, ‘marketing’ decisions (in executive search certainly) were made on the instincts and preferences of the most senior individuals – sometimes ‘a marketing committee’ of said individuals, with little or no data to back those decisions.

You’ve rolled out many campaigns throughout your career, what has been the best one you have delivered and why?

My team and I launched ‘Convergence Trailblazers’ in February 2020, just before Covid-19 really took hold, at least in Europe and the US. SRI’s strategy has been to build market-leading expertise across the converging entertainment landscape. With technology as the enabler the lines are blurring between sport, esports, fashion, lifestyle, media & entertainment. Our hypothesis was that as a result, CEOs are switching sectors and that certain characteristics would help leaders be successful in making these moves. We wanted to test these hypotheses and understand the impact on leadership and what that means for our clients. We uncovered a new cross-industry move trend and gathered in depth insight through talking to iconic leaders who had switched sectors. CEOs and board members of Liverpool FC, Barstool Sports, Otter Media, Adidas, The Jockey Club to name a few. Covid-19 is accelerating convergence and the characteristics identified as common to ‘Trailblazers’ will be even more important in this next phase.

I love this campaign and could go on. Here’s some links in case of interest and a couple of the TV and press articles:

What are the fundamentals to you of a good thought leadership campaign?

Genuinely providing value/information/evidence for your market as opposed to being a thinly veiled sales message. Facts not just points of view. Strongly aligned with your brand – is your firm THE one to lead that particular discussion? – multi-channel and has longevity.

How do you measure the impact of your campaigns?

The ones I care most about are revenue that clearly links to the campaign, unprovoked inbound positive reactions from the right people in our markets and global internal engagement with the campaign.

We track all the usual digital and PR metrics but the ones I care most about are revenue that clearly links to the campaign, unprovoked inbound positive reactions from the right people in our markets and global internal engagement with the campaign.

If you were told you could only report on 3 key metrics, what would they be?

  • Marketing generated revenue
  • Marketing influenced revenue
  • Marketing generated leads

You’ve developed strong relationships with your consultants, what’s the key for you to a strong marketing/sales or consulting relationship?

Listen, have empathy, develop your market knowledge, have an opinion, keep up to date with your craft and drive things through. A multi-million per year revenue generator once said to me ‘make us look good and we’ll love you for it’ – there’s something in that.

If you could offer advice to a marketer who is perhaps struggling to build that relationship, what would it be?

Apply your marketing expertise to yourself. How can you give unique value to your customers?

Cultivate really strong relationships – coffees, drinks, lunch – as your consultants do with their clients. Build relationships with other marketers that you admire, read, be a sponge for information and bring that expertise into your own role and business.

Proactively manage your stakeholder map – imagine you are advising someone else on smashing their marketing career and they were in your position. What would you tell them? Are you doing those things? Cultivate really strong relationships – coffees, drinks, lunch – as your consultants do with their clients. Build relationships with other marketers that you admire, read, be a sponge for information and bring that expertise into your own role and business.

What’s the best piece of marketing advice you’ve ever been given?

I’m not sure if this is marketing advice however: I have lots of ideas and have been known to overwhelm people – dare I say lose them – with talking too much. A fabulous colleague said to me recently (and it’s proved really effective) [when ‘selling ideas to others] “focus on one idea at a time – boil it right down and quickly get to what you need from those people to make it happen, and then do it.”

Also…. Don’t take it all too seriously, have fun, laugh a lot – we have the best job…. well maybe wine-tasters do 😉 but close.