Spotlight on: Tim Lawrence, head of strategy and planning

Tim Lawrence

Head of Strategy & Planning

Meet our head of strategy and planning, Tim Lawrence.

From digital marketing to big media and back again – via a triathlon or two – Tim shares his advertising background, and why he believes obsessing over the consumer is key to successful strategy.

Tell us about your career journey

I’ve always been interested in advertising. I did a marketing degree which gave me a great grounding in theory that I still call upon today. Post-university, rather than joining a brand marketing department (and against my mum’s wishes), I took a leap and moved from Northamptonshire to London to work for a small, start-up digital agency doing PPC and display. After that, I went to Carat – a multinational media agency where I ran digital media on a great set of clients including Diageo and Disney. My most recent role was at MediaCom, working on both digital and broader communication strategy for clients like Tesco and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

And now here I am at iCrossing – head of strategy and planning.

So what attracted you to iCrossing?

After a long time in big media agencies where TV is king, I wanted to get back to pure digital. iCrossing’s Growth Partner ethos really excited me, epitomising how agencies should operate. With our strong, long-standing client relationships, I believe we can really impact businesses, helping them grow in a way larger, non-digital agencies couldn’t.

The work we’re doing around the impact of Coronavirus on consumers highlights the agile and insight-led way iCrossing operates. While more traditional research methods struggle with the fast pace of this pandemic, we’re using a whole host of data sources to analyse and deliver the most important insights to clients – from search dashboards and social listening to bespoke polling via our proprietary iXInsights tool, which tracks trending searches across Hearst properties in real time.

What does your role involve?

My job here is to develop strategy and planning on two levels. Firstly, our internal skills and capabilities – improving the work we deliver to clients, making sure it’s well thought out and delivers growth. And secondly, evolving the strategic approach to how we, as an agency, engage with clients and the services we offer.

What’s the most rewarding part?

Solving client problems. It’s my job to find solutions (or sometimes identify the problem itself…) and I get a real buzz from that. I also love getting to know new brands and brackets, discovering how consumer decisions are made. This all helps with finding the best solution.

What does great strategy look like to you?

Great strategy is always simple, stemming from consumer insight – the truth about why people behave the way they do. Generally, I think there’s a need for more strategic thinking in digital marketing. The industry is overwhelmed with technology, jargon and data, so clear direction is needed now more than ever.

What coming up in 2020 for the strategy and planning team?

We’re focusing on what we offer and how we offer it. I’m still relatively new and have lots of ideas to bring to the agency. I want us to be a true partner to our clients, and we’re developing several exciting new tools and services to help us do just that.

I’d also like to bring a more strategic, consultative approach to planning. It’s something I pride myself in, as I think it helps deliver the very best client results.

When you’re not at work, what do you do to switch off?

Well, when I’m allowed outside, I enjoy running and swimming. Sometimes I even combine the two in a triathlon…

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