‘Set your sights high and put the work in’

How tak­ing part in the Rose of Tralee prompted Emma Gribben to set up her global dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing con­sul­tancy

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Front Page -

If you think North­ern Ire­land is lag­ging be­hind in the world of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, Emma Gribben is here to tell you that you’re wrong.

It was when she went to Dubai in 2014 to get some in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing that she re­alised just how for­ward-think­ing North­ern Ire­land com­pa­nies re­ally are.

“When I was there I was quite sur­prised to learn that dig­i­tal adap­ta­tion was two or three years be­hind the UK,” she says.

“There are a lot of com­pa­nies in North­ern Ire­land who are re­al­is­ing that dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is the fu­ture and that they need to know how to do it.”

Emma is ad­dress­ing the Ul­ster Bank Boost event this month, aimed at high­light­ing the many ways in which the bank can help busi­ness grow.

She started out in a tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing role, but is one of a new breed that has fallen in love with dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and its po­ten­tial.

Two years ago, she set up her own global dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing con­sul­tancy, Dig­i­tal By Emma, ad­vis­ing brands, agen­cies, SMES, start-ups and char­i­ties on dig­i­tal strate­gies across the UK and Ire­land, the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE) and Aus­tralia — and she’s never looked back.

Co Ar­magh-born Emma is the daugh­ter of a school teacher and a busi­ness­man and she says her am­bi­tion has been shaped by their at­ti­tude to achieve­ment.

“Through­out my child­hood the em­pha­sis was on putting in the hard work and graft, putting in the hours and ef­forts, set­ting your sights high, set­ting your goals and do­ing what you needed to work to­wards that,” she says.

Emma stud­ied Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Ad­ver­tis­ing and Mar­ket­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Ul­ster and did work ex­pe­ri­ence with what was then NIE En­ergy. She was then of­fered a full-time po­si­tion.

“That was a re­ally ex­cit­ing time be­cause one of the first projects was the re­brand­ing of NI En­ergy to Power NI. That was com­mu­ni­cat­ing the mes­sage out to 600,000 cus­tomers, lit­er­ally ev­ery house­hold in North­ern Ire­land at that stage,” she says.

She moved to a dig­i­tal role

in Lin­woods Health Foods af­ter a post­grad­u­ate course in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing.

“I loved how trans­par­ent dig­i­tal was, how you could see if your cam­paigns worked or not — there was so much ac­count­abil­ity. I de­cided I wanted to work solely within dig­i­tal,” she says.

Emma’s work at Lin­woods was awarded the Eir­com Spi­ders Best Re­tail Web­site and she worked on es­tab­lish­ing brand pres­ence in new mar­kets such as the USA, Italy, Spain, Por­tu­gal and China.

Fate took a side­ways turn when Lin­woods nom­i­nated her for the world-fa­mous Rose of Tralee com­pe­ti­tion and she was cho­sen as the Ar­magh Rose.

“I re­ally en­joyed it — I started to un­der­stand more about the Rose of Tralee and I loved what it stood for. It’s about bring­ing young peo­ple who have dreams and am­bi­tions and plans and they are do­ing some­thing to make those hap­pen. The ladies who are cho­sen are agents of change.”

It was when she was in Dubai meet­ing up with many of her Rose of Tralee friends that Emma de­cided to take the plunge and go self-em­ployed.

“I de­cided to call it Dig­i­tal by Emma and my rea­son­ing for that was un­der­stand­ing the NI mar­ket. In North­ern Ire­land we’re all well con­nected and peo­ple get to know other peo­ple by word of mouth and rec­om­men­da­tions,” she says.

“I reached out to a num­ber of peo­ple in the in­dus­try that I had worked with be­fore, and re­ally from there it was a process of meet­ing hun­dreds of peo­ple for cof­fee, try­ing to iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties, mar­ket­ing my­self on­line, go­ing to events, net­work­ing and re­ally get­ting the word out there.

“I would meet with clients, an­a­lyse where they are, iden­tify where they want to be and see how I could get them there through dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. It could be by a re­design, set­ting up sales by e-com­merce, so­cial me­dia, search mar­ket­ing. From there I ed­u­cate the client and bring them with me.” Some of the com­pa­nies then ap­pointed their own full-time mar­ket­ing em­ployee.

“I would then play a con­sul­tancy role, work­ing with that em­ployee to con­tinue driv­ing that de­vel­op­ment of the busi­ness for­ward,” Emma says.

“I do train­ing di­rectly with clients and I also have a lot of speak­ing events and work­shops.

“I’m men­tor­ing SMES and start-ups through some of the coun­cils. I’ve also worked on the Icons fes­ti­val, an event with a great so­cial me­dia pres­ence that was able to reach five mil­lion peo­ple around the world. I’ve worked with White’s Oats, help­ing them to cel­e­brate their 175th an­niver­sary.”

Emma is plan­ning to launch a new busi­ness fo­cus­ing on so­cial me­dia cri­sis man­age­ment be­fore the end of the sum­mer.

“My motto is set your sights high and put in the work to get there. I think I am al­ler­gic to rou­tine,” she says.

I do train­ing di­rectly with clients and I also have a lot of speak­ing events and work­shops On July 18, the Big In­ter­view speaks to Colin John­ston, project man­ager at Tul­ly­more House Ltd

Emma Gribben runs her own com­pany called Dig­i­tal By Emma

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