In the first of our Orientation Marketing agency spotlight series for 2021, we speak to Managing Partner, Chris Lawson.
Each month, we will speak to a member of the Orientation Marketing team to find out a little more about their roles at Orientation Marketing, as well as what makes them tick.
This month we speak to Chris Lawson.
Tell us a little bit about your role at Orientation Marketing?
I’m Managing Partner here at Orientation Marketing. My role consists of some account management, some business development and lots of operational and strategy focussed work. As we’ve grown as an agency and brought some very capable colleagues onboard, my role tends to be more focused on the future direction of Orientation Marketing than account management.
What does your daily schedule look like?
I try and keep on top of my inbox in the morning and prioritise anything urgent, then work through any other tasks that are open in our project management software Asana. We try and schedule any internal meetings in the morning as the afternoon tends to get busier with clients and vendors coming online in the US. After that, I’ll review any open opportunities from partners trying to sell us agency tools, and assign incoming client enquiries to an Account Manager/Director. I try I get out on the bike late afternoon in lieu of a lunch break, and with many US clients, I tend to monitor my emails until around 20:00 GMT.
What is your favourite part of the working day?
Client-facing work is the most interesting and enjoyable. It’s always great to know we are a valuable partner to our clients but also they are nice people - it’s great just to chat about common interests.
How did you come about forming the agency?
Gareth and I, having worked together for several years at various media companies had often discussed the lack of good agencies in B2B. We felt there were very few agencies that really understood the space we work working in and when a client asked for recommendations for a new agency I couldn’t think of one I would recommend, so we recommended ourselves and Orientation Marketing was born.
How did you come about working in this industry?
It’s all down to an unintentional and serendipitous job swap between my good friend Richard Hodson and I… the story is probably told better over a beer. I count myself fortunate that this was the way things worked out as we are lucky to work in an industry full of brilliant people that inspires life-changing innovation every single day. I cannot see myself working outside of the pharmaceutical industry now.
How did you come about working in marketing?
I studied marketing and worked in sales for many years. The success of sales/marketing lives and dies by how aligned the functions are. I’ve always found the marketing side more engaging than sales. I was always the sad individual who paid as much attention to the adverts in a cycling magazine - I was reading the ads as much as I did the core content.
Any interesting projects to note?
All our projects are interesting and 2020/21 has enabled us to demonstrate our ability to get creative on client campaigns as physical events stopped. Our clients are usually fully committed to a comprehensive event calendar and having to adapt quickly to a world without them enabled us to demonstrate our value across our client portfolio over the last 12 months. Outside of client work we are opening an EU based office, which will make our EU based prospects feel better about working with us in a post-Brexit world. We have sponsored an Elite Cycling Team in the UK for the last four seasons and I’m super excited that we’ll able to share our plans for 2021 soon. I can’t wait to see some racing again and this year’s kit is almost as special as the riders we have wearing it.
I want to make my clients satisfied, my colleagues feel valued and my family and friends proud.
Recommend a book you recently read.
I’m currently reading a lot of Nordic Noir in the evening as it’s a bit throwaway which is great - I usually read in bed and fall asleep quickly, forgetting where I have read up to. Outside of that, I have Barak Obama’s autobiography lined up to read and I recently finished ‘Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman’ by the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard which is a brilliant example of how you can be a very successful business without trampling over your ethics to get there.
Recommend a TV series/film you recently watched.
We are currently working through “The Soprano’s” for the very first time and I probably don’t need to tell you it’s excellent. I’m a little hooked on the show but also the accompanying podcast which is interesting and very detailed, though frustratingly they throw massive spoilers about future episodes into the podcast with no warning. I’m sure if I complained they would just tell me I should have taken 22 years to watch the show though.
Recommend some music.
I used to run record shops many years ago and have a pretty broad musical taste from those days. I love a bit of Hip Hop and I’ve always been a big fan of DJ Shadow. I’m an indie kid at heart though and the new(ish) Doves album, “The Universal Want” is great. I hope we get to see them in Delamere Forest in June.
What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?
I can recite “Ice Ice Baby” in its entirety without looking at the monitor when doing karaoke.
How would you spend a million dollars in 24 hours?
This sounds a bit like Brewsters Millions, which is one of my favourite films so I’d copy Richard Pryor and buy a cycling team on the condition I am on the roster and then run for parliament!
What was your favourite band 10 years ago?
The band I have the most enduring relationship with is the Charlatans, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen them and I’ve been a fan since being at school, so the Charlatans.
What is the strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?
I ate llama when I was young in Tunisia, that’s probably up there. Actually thinking about it, as a cyclist I’ve digested lots of critters when out on the bike due to an ill-timed gulp of air when something flies in my direction.
What’s the best marketing tip you can give?
Chris has over 12 years publishing experience working for some of the world’s largest media suppliers. Over the years he’s amassed experience and knowledge into what works and what doesn't in technical B2B marketing, keeping ahead of the curve when it comes to modern, innovative marketing methodology.