Logica Digital is a digital marketing company set up by Mark Skinner in the midst of covid lockdowns that has begun to flourish, in part thanks to him bringing on Amy Ward as co-director last year. We spoke to them both to find out what makes them work so well together…
Hi guys. Can you begin by telling us how the business got started and how you started working together?
MS: We originally worked together in about 2017 at a previous agency that did more traditional marketing. I set up a digital wing for them, almost as a subset of their existing business, but it didn’t work out in the end.
I parted ways with the agency’s directors in February 2020, just before lockdown. My intention was to go my own way and fortunately we’d built up a good set of clients that we could take with us, and we won a few new clients.
Obviously, lockdown happened, which was a bit nerve racking, but we got through that. If anything, some of our clients did really well through lockdown, particularly the DIY-type clients who saw revenues go through the roof.
At this point it was just me and I was based in Selby. After lockdown, I got some funding from the Leeds Enterprise Partnership, which included some consultancy with John Hassle. It was just meant to be a one-off and he was basically there to try and get the roadmap in place for the next five years.
John suggested we moved to a bigger city, but I didn’t want to move to Leeds, it’s oversaturated with agencies and it just felt like the brand was better suited to Sheffield; northern, honest, grafters. I’m not a slick, Leeds office-type person. That’s why we moved here to an office that probably suits us better than being in a trendy office in in Leeds.
I kept John going, and at some point, we decided we needed to start bringing in more content-type work, as previously we’d only done paid social and paid search. We had the money in the bank to do it and I put a job description out. I didn’t think of Amy at the time, but she called me up and said can I apply? I said, you don’t need to apply just start when you can! So, Amy joined in August 2021
What made you give Amy the job without interviewing her?
MS: Obviously, I knew Amy from working with her previously and when she left, she went to work for Jay Wing, which is a well-known agency in Sheffield. We’d kept in touch and she’d done bits of freelance for me, so it just made sense to bring her on board.
Why did you want to work with Mark again, Amy?
AW: I was at Jay Wing for about 18 months and was made redundant in September 2019. I was really lucky that I managed to pick up a job before that Christmas, and I started at Ignition Search in January. I kept that job through lockdown, didn’t get furloughed, didn’t get laid off or anything, but because we’d worked together before it just sort of made sense to make the move.
Since then, how have things been going for the business?
MS: It’s grown massively. Our first hire was Dylan, who came in February last year. He came on board as a bit on an all-rounder, after finishing up his apprenticeship in Rotherham. We’ve been able to train him up in how we want to do things. Then Lucy was the second hire. We brought her in to do content and she’s flown with it and is now the account manager. Just after Christmas, we took on two more new starters to do content and paid.
AW: Everyone is learning a bit of everything so that if some is off, we’ve got someone who can pick it up.
Do you find that most clients want both paid search and content?
MS: What we find is, the majority of the time, businesses will want content first and then paid search comes afterwards. I think there’s still a bit of cynicism about paid search and paid social at the moment. It used to be that everyone wanted it, and would then move onto content, but that seems to have been flipped on its head with more people trusting content and SEO more than they used to do. Once we get a client on board, that’s when we start talking about the whole strategy.
AW: Some clients come to us wanting SEO and you ask them if they’re doing paid search, and they’ll say, we’ve done it in the past with an agency but it didn’t work, and that’s usually because an agency hasn’t put in what’s needed. For example, we went to see a business who were paying an agency £300 a month to manage their paid search, but when you looked at the account they’d only done three things over the last few months. You then have to build trust with them on the SEO to make them confident to pay for paid search again.
You’re now a director Amy, tell me about when you decided to invest?
AW: I think it was always something I’d wanted to do from when I joined. We’d talked about it when we’d worked together, but I didn’t feel ready at the time – it was only my second job out of uni. By the time I’d been to Jay Wing, I’d been learning from people with 10 – 15 years’ experience in marketing and I’d also learned the ways I wouldn’t choose to grow a business. I think I’ve always thought about this sort of stuff in every job I’ve worked in.
How did the possibility of investing come up?
MS: We didn’t really talk about it, but you were already coming to the meetings with John, who by this point was acting almost like a non-exec director, so they were like board meetings. Then on the way back from Nottingham, after one of the meetings, Amy just asked. We were just about to take on another person and it can be a lonely place owning your own business, so I was like, let’s do it!
AW: Whether I’d have invested or not, I’d always treated the position in the same way. I always go in giving everything, otherwise, the other option is you sit there and get bored. I would have given it the same amount of effort, as if I was invested, anyway. For me, that investment just gives me that extra incentive to succeed.
Your skillsets match, in terms of both sides of the business we’ve discussed, but how do you work together?
MS: We share the responsibility. Amy does more of the softer side of things with the team, and I look after finance. That’s just how we decided to do it.
AW: Mark has a better head for figures and number, whereas that just baffles me, so it makes sense for it to be that way. Once Mark’s put it in a spreadsheet, then I can make sense of it.
What makes you different to the other agencies?
MS: It’s a cliché, but we work hard, and we look at the performance, whether that’s on paid search, paid social, organic, or content, we’re constantly interrogating the numbers. We try to be proactive and honest with the clients. If it’s not working, we’ll tell them and discuss trying something else.
AW: We offer an audit where we go in there and tell them everything that we would do, and I think some prospects then go, you’ve basically just told us what we can do, so we’ll just take it. We’re not going in with the technical jargon, even if we’re digging into the technical aspects of the site, we tell them that that’s what we’re going to do and what we’re going to look at. It’s probably too honest! But because of that, people trust us.
What’s in the pipeline?
We’re working on a few local clients, so hopefully they’ll come on board in the near future.
For more info find logica at logica-digital.co.uk