Introducing our new Digital Marketing Manager and PPC Specialist… Gordon Folta and Vessy Dimitrova!
Gordon’s role at Diffusion will be to shape and manage the new Digital Marketing offering at Diffusion, and Vessy will be focusing on optimising and analysing all things PPC. Together, they will ensure our clients receive a comprehensive Digital Marketing strategy by using a holistic approach to deliver against business objectives.
We did a short interview to get to know Gordon and Vessy a bit better and to ask them about their perspectives on this new digital marketing offering at Diffusion Digital.
Here are their answers…
Tell us a bit about yourself, your previous experience and why you wanted to join Diffusion Digital…
Gordon: “I am a German native, but lived in the UK for about 15 years now. I’m originally from Munich, and in between I have also lived in Paris. I studied Marketing here in London. I have worked in the luxury retail industry, luxury hospitality and luxury lifestyle industry as well.
Most recently, I was at Tom Dixon as the Global Digital Marketing Manager. This role didn’t exist at Tom Dixon prior to me starting so I shaped the role and started aligning all of the different stakeholders, from Sales to Merchandising to eCommerce to Production and started generating their Digital Marketing strategy.
I was very excited to join Diffusion as I haven’t had any agency experience. I was very interested to find out how an agency works. My past work experiences were all working as a consultant internally, and so I thought it makes sense to join an agency where I can do this for a multitude of clients across a multitude of sectors, where I can just apply my knowledge.
Vessy: “I am from Bulgaria originally, but I have been living in the UK for the last 11 years. I studied advertising and marketing at Lancaster University and have ended up working in advertising! I moved to London around 4 years ago, having previously worked in Manchester, so I am enjoying the pace and the opportunities in London. A lot of my background is on the agency side – I have worked for a lot of the big multinational agency groups – Dentsu Aegis, Omnicom and IPG. My responsibilities have always been very directly tied to digital advertising activation and management, in particular Paid Search.
I was really excited to join Diffusion Digital because of the opportunity to set up the Digital Marketing offering. I had a lot of frustration with how separated and segmented the Digital Marketing channels were in the approach of larger agencies, so I felt a smaller, agile working environment is going to be very conducive to revolutionising how we activate and how we think about Digital Marketing in a more connected and holistic way.”
How do you plan to shape the new Digital Marketing offering at Diffusion?
Gordon: “As Vessy said, Digital Marketing is a new realm for Diffusion Digital, so it’s very exciting to be able to conceptualise this offering with the specialists that we have now in house with SEO and PPC.
In order to shape the new offering, we will assess our capabilities and compile them and set out a new structure for our processes to apply to clients needs. I think transparency is key and open communication for all of the channels to work in harmony and synchronicity.
Vessy: “We both see the benefit of a cross-channel perspective, rather than looking at the results individually. It’s great that we have the opportunity to formulate our path to success, and to be able to be reactive and agile and test our approach and see what is working well and continue to improve.”
Why is it important for Diffusion to expand their offering to include Digital Marketing?
Gordon: “From a client perspective, you will have invested a lot of money into creating a user friendly, beautiful website and what you need to do is to then allow the website to shine. You need to be able to allow it to generate the exposure and generate some return of investment. It’s important for any new website to market itself to generate sales and increase the online revenue share.”
Vessy: “Yes, I agree, the two disciplines live in the same ecosystem. It’s important to have cohesion between the two disciplines, because the website needs to be relevant to the traffic going to it and the traffic needs to be aligned with the website, so they work together. Having it planned together and executed together can unlock many possibilities.”
What makes a great Digital marketing strategy?
Gordon: “Meeting the clients business needs. Every strategy has to be tailored to the clients needs, therefore there is not one definitive great strategy. What makes a great strategy is one that is adaptive and can achieve the correct targets. It’s important to make sure that all channels work together holistically and harmoniously with each other. They need to have the same goal in mind and to work collaboratively not only across the digital marketing channels, but with PR teams, Events, Sales to create a meaningful approach and to profit from all consumer communication touchpoints.”
Vessy: “What’s important also is for Digital Marketers to translate overall business objectives into actionable marketing strategies. What we can do is extract the crux of information from those conversations and organise them into actionable goals at the beginning of the project in order to achieve the most effective results.”
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to Digital Marketing?
Gordon: “The biggest challenge I have faced in my path is a skepticism around Digital Marketing and it’s effectiveness on creating brand awareness and conversions.
When you talk to stakeholders, they think just about Social Media or a Display Campaigns. Even if they have had a whole digital marketing strategy, if it was executed poorly or if the channels were managed individually as they traditionally are, this could make them skeptics. It comes back to managing Digital Marketing activities holistically, which is our approach at Diffusion Digital, where each specialist speaks to one another and shares knowledge to create the best practice strategy and campaigns for each client.”
Vessy: Yeah I think this is right, when stakeholders have had a bad experience or no experience, for example maybe we are talking about luxury brands that have never intentionally done digital marketing, it might be daunting as it’s a new field. It’s important to bridge that confidence gap.
Gordon: Exactly, we also make projections and do forecasting, but digital marketing is very reactive to macro environments, for example, a global pandemic! And these influences can skew projections. As digital marketers, we can give scenarios being: good, better and best.
Vessy: I think numbers and forecasting can be appealing, but I think the biggest difference is the trust we create with clients and the time and effort we take to really get a good understanding of their business, their target audiences and that we are proposing strategies that are directly speaking to how they see the world for their brand – we build partnerships.
When it comes to PPC – what is your motto?
Vessy: “I am a firm believer in ‘Control to achieve effectiveness’. PPC activity needs to be set-up in a way where you can take as much advantage as possible from automation, but you as a manager of that activity, need to be very involved and put a lot of attention and effort in your set-up and in your observation to enable automation to do its job effectively.”
How is PPC integral to a holistic Digital Marketing offering?
Vessy: “Well traditionally-viewed, PPC sits at the end point of a conversion cycle. It’s usually the last point of interaction but this is a limited view of the benefits PPC can holistically bring to a digital marketing offering. PPC can be used in a wide variety of situations that are not just direct-conversion driven such as: driving brand awareness to a new product or brand; it can help you drive traffic to your store or restaurant, it can connect your customers through to call centres, and can enable gatherings of interest. Looking at it just from a purely transactional perspective is very limiting.
It’s integral as it works side by side with other channels to achieve overall business objectives.”
What makes a great PPC campaign?
Vessy: “A great campaign for PPC specifically, is that it is always aligned with other channels and relates directly to a relevant business objective. Tracking and analytics is very important to understand how the performance is looking cross-channel, and ongoing observation and reporting is key to ensuring a successful campaign. By constantly reviewing and optimising, we are able to continue to achieve results against the business objectives and improve the performance and maximise the capability of the campaign.”
What attracted you to life and culture at the MOF Group?
Gordon: “I was very keen to join an agency and at MOF group, you are surrounded by experts in their field and I wanted to be a part of that. It’s exciting to work with some amazing clients too in the luxury sector.”
Vessy: “What really attracted me in the MOF Group is that, similar to Gordon, everyone that I spoke to is highly capable and full of initiative. Nobody seems to like to sit still, which is important for a developing agency. I really enjoy the busyness and proactiveness of the place and the camaraderie. I find that people at MOF group love to work together and discuss and conceptualise things and come up with clever ideas, which is something that I really enjoy.”
What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
Gordon: “Yes I have received my best gift! My little sister is an artist and she drew a portrait of me and I really love it. Everytime I look at it, I fantasise that it’s maybe a bit like Dorian Gray and I will never age.”
What is your favourite food?
Vessy: “Japanese and Asian cuisine in general! A close call between sushi and Ramen. I really enjoy cooking, so I would love to excel my capabilities in Pan-Asian cooking. I am really interested in the philosophy of Japanese cooking and I really enjoy the hyperspecialization and the attention to detail.”
If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be and why?
Gordon: “I will pick a giraffe as it’s my favourite animal. You know they are a little unusual, quite unique and they look pretty. Plus they like warm climates like me!”
Vessy: “I would choose a goat. They are stubborn and steadfast, when I decide on something, I will try to make it happen even if I have to stand on a tiny ledge of rock on a dam wall! Also, when I was young, my grandparents looked after goats and they were independent and fun and jovial.”
What is one thing people wouldn’t expect of you?
Gordon: “Probably that I am German actually and half Czech! People ask me if I am French, Italian or Swiss but never German. But my name is Scottish… My parents were very creative in naming all of us, us boys have British aristocratic names and my sisters have Italian aristocratic names.”
Vessy: “Well… I watch a lot of awful / great reality competition TV shows. For example, RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Big Flower Fight, The Glow Up, Next In Fashion.”