Martin Fawcett’s business focusses completely on people who shop for his client’s products and services, and it’s a business which makes him balance risk and responsibility as he grows.

What is it the company does?

The Shopper Agency ensures retailers are able to meet their commercial objectives by putting our focus completely on the shopper. By understanding the shopper, we’re able to create experiences to engage and influence their behaviour, whether in the retail space, online or any other environment where brand choices are made. When it comes to interactions that influence purchase, whether physical or digital, if the shopper's there, we make sure our client is too.


Describe your role in no more than 100 words

My role is to know enough about every aspect of the market we support as well as leaving room to be inspired every day, enable others to grow and encourage expertise. It’s about pursuing the great and leaving no room for pointless negativity. To challenge, to reward and support a motivated workplace.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

While studying for my degree in design, I secured work with an advertising agency. In fact, I think I worked more than studied! I finished the degree, but it was the work at the agency that gave me the confidence to pursue a career in marketing. In 1995 I moved to the Walkers agency in Manchester as CD for 5 years. It wasn’t until April 2000 when I first moved into retail as a discipline. I joined Bezier as ECD and stayed there for 12 years. I left as MD of the creative group in 2012 to set up The Shopper Agency.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

For me, leadership is about removing ceilings, allowing the people that work with you to see and reach their full potential. I also think it’s about taking risks, challenging conventional thinking and never accepting the status quo. It certainly is not micro management, spreadsheets and closed doors.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Balancing risk with responsibility. In the early days the risks I took only really affected me, now with 20 great people working alongside me it’s all about balancing the ‘braveheart’ in me with the responsibility that comes with growing up as a business.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

What’s stress?


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A TopGun pilot. Not only did I adore Kelly McGillis and her Porsche 356 but I knew I’d be an amazing pilot. The fact I failed the first medical at RAF selection had nothing to do with changing my mind…


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

In the Marketing arena it’s ‘air kissing’. It happens a lot and I personally think it promotes the antithesis of what marketing and design stands for – which is improving the integrity and experience of human engagement.


Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

It will be at the forefront of improving shopper experiences globally.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Take and listen to lots of advice, but make your own decisions. Don’t hide from risk, it’s the most rewarding ride.


What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?

Believe in yourself and watch out for the ‘business wolves’.