My week began with the usual trip to the gym. One of the advantages of being the boss is that I get to indulge my hatred of mornings.
Like most businesses we have our standard weekly meetings. This week we have more on the marketing agenda than usual because we have been reviewing our advertising and appointed a new creative agency. Our agency, Legas Delaney are due in this week for a big kick-off meeting so there’s lots to cover with the internal marketing team in preparation. We awarded them the business because they came up with a creative approach that’s edgy (actually it’s in hilariously bad taste), and that cleverly acknowledges that all of the other price comparison web sites have done a great job of educating the consumer, so we don’t have to.
The new ad goes on air in a few weeks’ time as part of a test campaign in Birmingham. We’ve decided to celebrate, so there’s a staff event on the agenda that we also need to discuss. We end up agreeing on an ad screening in the office followed by drinks and food at a bar in Piccadilly in the second week of September.
There’s just time to put in a call to creative agency MD Elliot Moss to bring him in on the plans before it’s off to the lawyers to catch up on our pending litigation. Without going into any great detail, we have a couple of disputes running currently, one in particular where we believe we can prove that our code has been copied. Call it flattery, but I’m not known for my sweet nature and this kind of imitation is the kind we can well do without.
After my hectic Monday, Tuesday is much more sedate. Marketing still dominates: this time it’s the media agency, ARM presenting the plans for the test campaign. We are all keen to make sure that 2009 is the year we slipstream into second place as the UK’s second largest aggregator.
Wednesday and there’s more gym, followed by a client meeting to check on our progress and talk about extending the service. We added insurance giants Highway to our insurance panel earlier this year, and their broker brand Hero is a client of our white label service. We review the numbers and talk about how to add other insurance products to our aggregation service. I’m really pleased that insurance is doing well. It’s the critical product in the financial services product portfolio because it’s the one that’s relevant to the majority of the population – most people will have insurance of some description, be it car, home, travel, health or life.
It’s the pub after work with a few members of the team to let off some steam for an hour or two and an unofficial chance to catch up outside of work on what’s really going on with people. We have the kind of work environment that occasionally erupts into ribald banter, but for the most part it’s a fairly manic place to work because we are so busy, so a social is much needed.
Before I know it, it’s Friday, the agency kick-off meeting has gone well and today the PR agency, Gong, are in to talk about the tenancies event we are planning. Our agenda is extending our white label offering to include email marketing, profiling and cross-sell. We undoubtedly have the best financial services white label proposition in the UK and when partners switch to us from other aggregators we have more than doubled their revenues. The challenge is getting this message across to prospective white label clients. We get the difficult stuff out of the way and then have a heated debate about continental breakfast versus a full English.
The week draws to a close with another internal meeting to thrash out the details of our latest partnership to launch a new shopping service. A pretty good way to welcome the weekend.
Serial entrepreneur John Paleomylites is the founder and MD of price comparison website BeatThatQuote.com. After winning a string of start-up awards, last year BeatThatQuote.com was named as the UK’s fastest-growing website (ahead of Facebook). John first came to prominence by building his start-up JCP into the UK’s leading internet transaction security company, before selling it to Sun Microsystems for £40m in 2000 (just before the dotcom crash).