Posted on Thursday 31 January 2019 by Ulster Business

Ian web

What does your company do and what role do you play?
Grofuse is a full-service digital agency which is focused on ensuring clients achieve their sales targets.
We tell client’s stories through engaging content written by former journalists – grab their customers’ attention with stunning design, maximise conversions by using the latest digital marketing expertise, and develop websites which are living, breathing, online stores or shop windows. As content director, my role is to bring almost 20 years’ experience in journalism, political communications, corporate PR, crisis management and digital content crafting to Grofuse.

How did the business start and how has it grown?
The business was created by a fusion of expertise to achieve sales growth, including experienced digital marketers, PR consultants, web developers, software developers, graphic designers, illustrators and motion designers. I co-founded the company with expert digital marketer Denis Finnegan who has spent 15 years fuelling online lead generation for businesses. Growth has been swift over the last 12 months. We’ve employed an effective combination of marketing efforts and created fans of our existing clients.

What is your background?
I’m a seasoned hack, having worked in print journalism for almost 15 years followed by a few years as a political communications adviser. I spent a brief period teaching English and history at secondary level before entering a newsroom. The working environments were poles apart in terms pace, excitement and... language choices. As a school pupil and university student, I worked on building sites, supermarkets, farms, bars, bread delivery vans, a bakery and even a bacon factory kill-line. However, I had never encountered such flurries of expletives as I did in newsrooms. Great places to work. High pressure, tight deadlines and great target-setting – a superb way to fuel productivity in any work environment.

What do you do differently from your competition and what are your strengths?
Clear communication with our clients is our greatest strength. We listen intently to what our clients’ goals are, take time to learn about their products and gain full understanding of their ideal customers. We start with a blank canvass and devise bespoke digital strategies to fuel each client’s business growth by engaging their target market effectively and delivering genuine sales leads that are easily quantifiable.

Who are your main customers?
Our customers operate across a wide range of sectors. We are currently working with clients across the UK and Ireland, US, France and Spain.

Do you have a target in mind in terms of where you want the business to grow?
We are currently focusing the bulk of our efforts on the island of Ireland with a particular focus on Dublin and Belfast.

What challenges have you faced?
The somewhat ‘snake-oil industry’ reputation of digital marketing sometimes poses a barrier to speaking with decision makers who in the past have invested with little return. However, once we’re given an opportunity, we like to let the results do the talking.

Who most inspires you?
Those who thrive in the face of adversity and have strong growth mind-sets. The type of person with the right measure of accountability, skill and relentlessness to inspire their teams to achieve targets. It’s a mind-set akin to that of a top athlete whose body is screaming ‘slow down’ in the business end of a race but whose mind interprets that as a cue to go faster. My wife Martina – a former operations manager with Lidl Ireland who co-founded and runs leading human resources consultancy, HR Team – has these qualities in abundance. She inspires me in everything I do.

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I love living and working in the North West. Whatever people like to call Derry or Londonderry, it’s a very special place with a lot of talent and a big future in driving the cross-border regional economy. With our headquarters at Catalyst Inc and plans underway for satellite offices in Dublin and the UK, we want to ensure our agency plays a part in shaping that economic prosperity with the provision of more high-quality jobs for the area.

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