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Leadership Spotlight: Chris Kelly

Our latest leadership spotlight features Digital Marketing professional, Chris Kelly.

Chris has an extensive background in marketing and describes himself as "commercially-savvy and well-versed" in the digital acquisition and performance marketing field.

Chris has a proven track record in growing online revenue with a host of well-known names which include PizzaExpress, Foxtons, and The Restaurant Group plc.

Currently the Head of Marketing at John D Wood & Co., Chris talks to the Digital Leaders Club about beginning his career in the media agency side, his proudest achievement whilst at Foxtons, why ChatGPT can be so beneficial to businesses, and what he would be doing for a career if he wasn't in Marketing.

Read the Q&A in full below...

Why did you join the Digital Leaders Club?

I value others marketers’ experience and knowledge and joining the group has enabled me to gain insight into new topics I haven’t considered before. And besides who doesn’t like being part of a club?!

What's your career journey been like to date?

Starting out my career in the media agency side. A fantastic learning curve working on great brands, learning how to multi-task, and learning the basics of digital marketing. I then went client-side working with brands such as Which?, PizzaExpress, Crew Clothing, Foxtons where I worked in acquisition marketing teams and now in my new role at John D Wood.

What is your current position?

Head of Marketing at John D Wood. This involves working across all brand activities such as PR, social, and content and all performance marketing channels such as direct mail, PPC & SEO.

Have you had any interesting moments in your career so far?

Lots. I’m someone who takes “interesting” as what I’ve learned. These are from mistakes made along the way. A particular incident happened at a previous company that could have been avoided if better communication between the team occurred.

Have you had any challenges in your career to date; and how did you overcome them?

In the early part of my career, I struggled to gain influence with stakeholders and therefore got frustrated with a lack of progress with certain projects. I’ve learned overtime that the key to gaining influence is by being a better communicator and understanding the business and customer challenges and placing yourself right in the middle of that and therefore gaining influence due to having solutions to the challenges.

Tell us about your best success story

I overhauled our acquisition marketing budget whilst at Foxtons and as a result generated record valuation enquiry volumes (increased 20% YoY and reduced cost per by 10% YoY.

What’s it been like transitioning to a hybrid setup over the past few years?

I personally love it. I have 2 young boys and my Wife works in London full time so juggling is key. Flexible working has helped with this greatly and I’m so pleased John D Wood has embraced this, a lot of other companies haven’t and I think it’s a shame as it's so valuable for so many people. Whilst I appreciate the flexibility I really do enjoy being in the office too. The chance to catch up with the team, tackle tasks together, and go out for a well-earned beer is always nice too.

What's the coolest/most interesting trend you're excited about?

There’s the obvious trend of ChatGPT that can have a number of benefits to business, and the enhancements of AI-driven SEO are exciting too. What interests me most though is that more senior marketers are challenging the question and asking what’s the business or customer challenge. And how can these new trends or tools help support this?

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

All things sport. I’m a big football, golf, rugby & American football fan so this takes up a lot of my time. Outside of that going to soft play with the kids.

What's your plan for the future?

I never look too far ahead. As long as I’m being stretched and providing value to the business and customer I’m happy.

What would you be doing (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

Good question. I studied marketing at university so I’ve always thought I’d go into marketing from a young age but if I wasn’t in marketing I would try and follow my passions so trying to get into music or sport in some way. I can’t play a musical instrument or play a sport that well, so maybe band management.

Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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