Meet the MD: John Pittham, ClientsFirst

Meet the MD: Jon Pittham, ClientsFirst

Jon Pittham talks to BQ about finding a hat that fits, as he’s adopted a version of the MD role which leads on business development in his marketing firm.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

To lead the business on its path of sustained profitable growth. Build and continue to develop a great team and proposition that delivers great work and is valued as a key partner by our clients. We have recently adopted the EOS Worldwide ‘Traction’ model which has given us a great deal of focus and clarity on how we run the business.  In relation to this, internally I have specific responsibility for Account Management and Business Development, the latter is the part of my role I enjoy most.

What is it the company does?

We help businesses reach, attract and nurture their target audience to create opportunities that feed sales.  We provide access to knowledge, expertise and support that help businesses leverage online marketing tools and applications, enabling them to build and deliver successful and rewarding marketing campaigns.  

We use our expertise in marketing automation, web development, design and content creation to help our clients run marketing campaigns that deliver revenue opportunities

Our core market is in B2B and professional services firms. We have an approach that is about marketing creating opportunity for our clients, most of our clients don’t sell a product online so our goal is to help generate leads and enquiries.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

The ability to set and communicate a direction and vision for the business and build a great team who all work together in achieving the goals.  The ability to build a business with a clear culture and strong set of values. Recognising the varied talent and personalities of individuals, helping them develop and contribute to the wider success of the business.  Never hiding from responsibility or accountability, treating people fairly and making the difficult decisions in the best interests of the business.   

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

In the early days of the business where we were growing the agency with limited resources, having to wear ‘too many hats’, many of which didn’t really fit or were suited to me!

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

To be outdoors, usually playing sport. Currently my wife would say I play too much tennis and I of course tell her it's all to do with alleviating work stress! Family time is really important and always reminds me to put everything in perspective.

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

A pilot.  Exploring the world always appealed and this would have been a way to do it but there were just too many exams involved to reach the heady heights of flying. Or maybe it was just how cool Tom Cruise made it look!

Any pet hates in the workplace?

The challenge of having an ideal office temperature that suits everyone.  Everyone I speak with seems to have the same issue!

Where do you see the company in five years time?

Continued growth. Maximising the ever closer association between software and marketing. Leveraging new technologies to both increase internal capability and also to maximise ROI for clients. Remaining true to our values and culture, developing our great people and recruiting more of the same.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Set out a vision, set clear goals, recruit great people and accept that leading a business is a rollercoaster of a journey.  From a personality perspective, be goal driven, be resilient and always act with integrity.

Where did you start your career?

Working in London as graduate trainee for a large insurance Company.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far

1999-2007 - Friends Provident (now part of Aviva). Various roles including marketing and business development. Relocated with them from London to Cheshire in 2005 when I took role of Regional Director for the North West.

2007 - 2009 - Director, Cullen Financial Planning.

2010 - Established ClientsFirst.