Amy McManus is the CEO of AM Marketing. She is also an international speaker, a TEDx presenter, member of the London Guild of Entrepreneurs, an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society and a finalist for IoD Young Director of the Year.
“I originally wanted to be a marine biologist and work with dolphins! I studied Philosophy and Sociology at university. I had a great teacher who told me to do a degree in something I loved rather than worry about any specific degree choice for a job.
I went straight into managing a retail store for a large home and cosmetics company. I didn’t have an area manager so was left to my own devices. I started creating my own marketing and partnerships in the area; the store’s turnover grew by 273% in 3 months.
I was head-hunted by my first marketing agency and found myself as the account manager for Holland and Barrett at the age of 21! I rebranded ferries in Poland for a bit and managed all onboard marketing for a fleet of ferries on the channel. I then thought I found my dream job, which I left after 28 hours. The company owner (my boss) was stealing money from the company and paying some staff members in other ways…I went freelance while I looked for another job and the other job never came.
That’s how AM Marketing started! The referrals came in really quickly, I picked up a number of business awards less than a year afterward and won my first huge client pitch 2 years in. My husband left his job to come and work for AM Marketing. AM Marketing is now a multi-award winning digital agency with a portfolio of global clients. From Canada to Australia, Thailand to the US, we provide digital marketing services to our clients all over the world. I am an international speaker specialising in Digital, Women in Business and Mental Health at Work.”
What does it take to run a successful business?
“Resilience and ability to triumph in adversity. What I love most about my job is developing people, nurturing them and seeing them grow.
The biggest challenge of my career so far has been running and growing my business through 5+ years of chronic pain and mental health issues, after a car crash which almost took my life.”
What makes AM Marketing such a great agency?
“I hear their CEO is f**king awesome…
Our culture makes us special. We don’t do late nights, we look after our team, we create an environment that produces happy staff and award-winning work. Let’s be honest, wouldn’t you rather have someone happy and well-rested working on your account? It just makes business sense to me.
We’re boutique! We’re not small…that implies lower quality and an inability to handle large accounts; this isn’t the case. We’re a team of 5 (soon to be 7) working on household names and global clients…and kicking ass at it too! So you’re getting the quality you’d expect from a large agency, but usually more personable and cheaper.
What’s not to love?”
“For any grads looking to start their career in digital marketing, we’re currently interviewing for the AM graduate program.
Apply here: www.ammarketing.co.uk/jobs”
How to improve the lack of female role models in Digital
“I believe the digital industry is 25% female and don’t even get me started on women-led figures. As you can imagine the number of female agency owners is disappointingly low.
Traditionally digital has been seen as a male-dominated industry (with the exception of PR and social-based roles.) As more women get into the industry, there will be a snowball effect as more young women and girls are inspired.
Digital women, go into your local schools and universities, use your platform. Show the young women and girls that digital is WITHOUT A DOUBT a career option for them. Show them that if you can do it, so can they! Be part of the change. The number of women in digital, female entrepreneurs, and women-led teams will grow because of your example.
My advice to women looking to break into our industry? Get a mentor. When you’re looking for jobs, find companies with a focus on training and development. If you’re in school/uni, take a coding module/course. Use the free Google Academy tools and get your Google qualifications off your own back before you even start applying. This will give you a MASSIVE edge.
When I started as a woman in business, I did feel I had to prove myself more than my male counterparts. Now, not so much, but perhaps that’s because I’ve already done it?
I’ve really embraced being a female agency owner and digital woman. As there aren’t many of us I now think it gives you a unique competitive edge; something you can offer that others cannot. You still get the odd person who assumes I’m the company secretary, or asks me to pass them to my CEO on the phone…but I’m more than happy to let them know the error in their ways.”
“It’s being spoken about, but not enough. This is something I’m really passionate about and talk about at conferences every year. Working in digital and mental health issues go hand in hand.
It is up to the employers to create working environments that promote wellbeing and allow open conversations with managers. It is up to the individuals to push back if their mental health and wellbeing are being ignored and recognise the signs before it becomes a bigger problem. Both sides have a responsibility to create a better dynamic and break down taboos in the workplace.
I myself keep a good work/life balance by being EXTREMELY strict with myself. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I have been in the fortunate position of genuinely believing I was going to die. I say fortunate because once I had that experience, I looked at life very differently. I say no if I don’t want to do something or don’t think a client is right to work with. I take time off regularly and treat myself to me time often. I book my spare time into my calendar like it’s a meeting and this makes me stick to it.”
The Future of the Industry
“It’s all about convenience and speed. I think we’ll see a lot more automation and move to speech-based targeting over traditional text. As the next generation comes into their own the number of Facebook users will decline massively with platforms such as TikTok taking a much larger portion of global digital advertising spend.”