Interview | 27 Sep 2022

Freelance Spotlight with Jadis Tillery, Interim CMO

Posted in Marketing, Freelancer, Top tips, Tools & Advice, Freelancer's stories, Interview,

This month we interviewed Interim CMO and Consultant, Jadis Tillery. Jadis’ has been freelancing since 2013 across different sectors and shares her key to client success when consulting across a variety of industries. Jadis shares the unique projects she’s worked on via The Work Crowd, what business owners should be focussing on in the coming years to stay competitive and gives advice for aspiring marketing freelancers.

Tell us a bit about what you do?

I’m an interim CMO and consultant who works with high-growth companies seeking investment or those that have received investment. I’m contacted either by the Private Equity fund, or Venture Capital Trust who have invested in a company, or by the company themselves to help with sales and marketing transformation. I’m sector agnostic having worked in luxury, media, broadcast, health & wellness, EdTech, premium FMCG and sport to name a few but the one thing I bring to all companies is a real focus on digital content and customer experience. 

How long have you been a freelancer?

I’ve been a consultant since 2013. I’m typically project based, but have taken longer contracts with clients embedding with them over a period of time to really dig deep into transformation projects.  

You have global experience developing brand and marketing strategies for founder brands to large enterprises, what is the key to client success when consulting across a variety of industry sectors? 

I’m led by my curiosity which means I really enjoy the challenge of bringing transferable skills and insights to different sectors. It’s important as a freelancer to have a niche, but don’t lose sight of the fact that different sectors are at different stages of marketing complexity and maturity so your skills are more readily transferable than you might think.  

I’ve been in marketing for 23 years now having started in a traditional advertising agency then moved into social media in 2006-I actually had to get my family in the US at college to invite me onto Facebook that’s how long I’ve been in the social space! I led a ground-breaking shoppable live video format on Facebook for Shop Direct Group 6 years before Meta would offer it on their Facebook platform. I was at the dawn of the influencer age, helping high profile celebrity talent in the UK and US figure out how to monetise their social profiles. Later was 1 of 5 organisations asked by Meta to lead a global pilot for WhatsApp on behalf of an international business school. While online retail and celebrity are at the forefront of social marketing, paradoxically considering its target audience, education is in its infancy in terms of content led storytelling, performance marketing and social execution. All the skills I’d built in those more foreword leading sectors allowed me to help my client make a huge leap (for example we turned $10K of investment into $1Million of revenue in 1 month launching a basic advocate / influencer strategy) by adopting best practice from other sectors.  

I have been there and done it for so long in social that I’ve now moved back out of the niche to think more broadly about the customer experience as a whole. Social still plays a huge role on all of my strategy, but I really help my clients understand how all the marketing disciplines fit together to deliver the revenue growth they are after.   

One thing I’d say to all freelancers is you have to learn how to speak the language of your clients in terms of their business needs. We have our own metrics as marketeers, but we need to relate the work we do to our client's business goals and how they directly impact their bottom line. It’s the best way to get your budgets approved and contracts extended.  

Why did you decide to go self-employed?

I’d left a start-up that was a bit too ahead of its time and didn’t succeed, but I was still deeply passionate about the potential of socially-led digital marketing. I have always prided myself on my client management skills so when I reached out to former contacts for potential work, they were really supportive helping me with new connections, references etc.  

How has The Work Crowd helped you as a freelancer? And what kind of clients/projects have you worked on through The Work Crowd?

The team are so switched on and responsive! I’ve had a few clients through The Work Crowd that were in the B2B space which was a bit of a departure from my normal B2C clients. They were all seeking investment so had a commonality with my previous clients in that respect. The B2B space is edging closer to B2C in a lot of ways as the expectation of customers is really high. You’re not suddenly a different person because you’re buying from a B2C brand vs a B2B brand in terms of your expectation of the digital experience. There is a lot of opportunity to do some really interesting working in B2B bringing over my B2C experience.  

I’ve also tapped into The Work Crowd talent pool for my clients. I rely on a network of suppliers / freelancers myself, so having The Work Crowd stamp of approval means I can really trust connections from the platform to deliver for my clients if I introduce them.  

With a background in marketing strategy for over 22 years, can you share your thoughts on how the digital landscape has changed, and what business owners should be focussing on in the coming years to stay competitive?

My short answer would be, don’t put your eggs in one social media basket as you’re forever beholden to the algorithm. Oh, and there is no metaverse. James Whatley talks all about it here

In truth, I think I’ve circled back around on digital moving away from a niche to thinking about it as a piece of the whole experience. I really want customers to have a seamless experience on their path to purchase and beyond. You need to consider not only your full marketing mix and digital touch points, but also your sales and customer service experience. At this stage of my career, I’m not sure if it’s me being a control freak or me wanting to really deliver on the promise made by marketing when a client, owner, user etc. chooses to make a purchase. Either way, it’s important to think about attracting, converting, retaining and rewarding customers not just my specific remit of that journey.  

What advice would you give to aspiring marketing freelancers? 

It’s the greatest irony that a lot of marketing and comms freelancers don’t invest any time in their own marketing and comms. I did a great course with Terry Rice at the start of the year which really helped me get clarity on my niche, USPs and messaging.  

Make sure you have a solid bespoke contract for your services and know a good lawyer to help you with issues of client non-payment. It happens to the best of us!  

Lastly, join networks that not only help you make connections but also uplift you. Being a freelancer or solo-preneur can be a lonely journey so join meet-ups to stay connected and in a positive headspace. I’m a big fan of The Stack having been inspired not only by its founder Sharmadean Reid MBE but all the amazing women making moves and change across so many different sectors.  


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