ADVERTISING, MARKETING & PRODUCT STRATEGY

About
Spencer
Alexander

Introduction

Personal Background

From an early age, I’ve loved to build things, starting with Lego! This fascination eventually led to me teaching myself carpentry. In my spare time, I’ve spent the past 12 years designing and building various cabinets, garden pieces and interactive art installations showcased at Irish festivals.

I’ve always been fascinated with building things and the satisfaction and sense of fulfilment I get from a completed project. I’ve been told quite a few times that I should pursue a career out of my hobby, but I’m lucky to get the same degree of satisfaction from watching my clients become their own successes. 

 

In many ways the two are the same. Both involve taking raw materials (whether real or skill based) and turning them into an outcome you’re proud of.

While my degree in Philosophy was a great foundation for life; I’m not sure it prepared me for much in life. That is until I began my career in marketing. Again there are many comparisons to be made between what seem like very different subjects. Each requires logical thought to be matched with “out of the box” thinking. Both demand a constant search for knowledge, or why we do things a certain way. And neither really has an objective or absolute way to practice the field; they are founded on the best rationale. Taking a step back and questioning why we do something can be a powerful tool for any business.

Introduction

Marketing Background

I accidentally fell into marketing while still wondering what to do with my Philosophy degree and after a brief stint in accounting, which definitely wasn’t for me! I began with teaching myself SEO while working in a kitchen fittings company based in Dublin, proving myself quickly enough to be given responsibility for their Google Ads and Merchant Center, managing over 5000 products.

Havas Logo Neon Sign

I decided that it would be a good idea to add some credentials, so I completed a postgraduate in digital marketing and immediately got a job agency side. As much as a learning curve starting your own business is, I still think that some of the best experience I have had was from my time in Havas. Working across a variety of some of the largest brands and working on projects including digital, social, content and media strategy, website project management, events, sponsorship, OOH, print, radio and TVC strategy.

When I first started working in Havas, admittedly, I would only consider recommending or developing digital strategies. Gaining experience across nearly every touchpoint in marketing removed the blinkers completely, making me reassess how I approached the problem of increasing market share for brands or building their awareness. The idea of taking an holistic approach is an ingrained mindset that I now always try to carry, and the re-realisation that we need to continually question our prejudice was a nice throw back to my philosophical routes.

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While working at Havas I had the chance to work on some award winning campaigns, such as Hennessy Watson, which used natural language analysis to read a consumer’s Twitter profile, deliver them a persona composition with their traits, and, of course, their best suited cocktail, bringing a digital twist to trial.

I also had the opportunity to develop music and arts event activations for clients, creating  installations, communications strategies, digital campaign setup and management. These  resulted in numerous sold out events, with clients including Hennessy, Bridgestone, Firestone, First Stop, Microsoft, Hyundai, Valeo, Jacob’s Biscuits, Slane Whiskey, Slane Distillery, Jack Daniel’s, Campus.ie, Mercedes and Diageo.

However, in 2018 I decided to take a break. To be honest I was about to completely burn out. The days were long, I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing anymore and I felt utterly exhausted going to work every day and staying late. In both business and one’s personal life being able to decide when we should stop and actually following through can have such a positive effect. After taking a break, spending the time building cabinets and designing and constructing a new installation with one of my friends, ArtbyMarkMcNamara, I was slowly being thrown little consultancy gigs here and there by old contacts.

For the second time in my life I fell into marketing; this time setting up as a consultant dealing primarily with startups and SMEs.

Current

Since June 2018, I have worked as a freelance Digital Marketing Consultant at Malt & Mash Marketing. In this role, I have devised and executed comprehensive B2B and B2C digital marketing strategies to enhance brand awareness, drive website traffic, and boost conversions.

 

I’ve conducted market research, developed detailed marketing plans, implemented multi-channel campaigns, collaborated with cross-functional teams, and providing client training and up-skill workshops. I oversee multiple digital products and e-commerce platforms, continuously enhancing their performance, while managing paid media campaigns on Google and various social media platforms. Additionally, I optimise customer journeys through the creation of conversion funnels and content, manage website redesign and development projects, produce high-quality content, design and implement targeted email campaigns, and establish loyalty and referral programs to retain customers and drive word-of-mouth referrals.

WHAT’S WITH THE NAME?

A few clients have been asking me about where the name came from…

 

In order to make whiskey, before any distilling can take place, the starch in the barely needs to be converted to sugar to make alcohol. This process is called malting. By soaking the barley in warm water for a couple of days it begins to germinate, converting starch to sugars. Once it starts to shoot, the germination is stopped and it is dried in a kiln.

 

This dried, sugary barley is now called the malt. It’s the essence of a whiskey.

 

The ground down malt, which is called grist, is then added to warm water to begin the extraction of the soluble sugars. You need good water which is why distilleries tend to be located near natural, mineral rich, sources. The liquid combination of malt and water is called the ‘mash’.

 

Distilling is the sexy bit we’ve all heard of! But… without the right ingredients and the initial first two steps, you can’t get to fermentation and distillation.

 

Marketing is much the same. Without defining your objectives, messaging structure and target market you won’t be able to create (or distil!) the right communications and have an impact.