international content marketing association winner

Fifty Five and Five take home Silver at the International Content Marketing Association (CMA) Awards

The International Content Marketing Association Awards are a pretty big deal in the content marketing calendar. Agencies across the world submit their best work from the past year to be judged by some of the top names in the industry.  The event provides a brilliant showcase of expertise, talent and insight for brand marketers, and this year we’re delighted to have won an award for our Microsoft Partner Benchmarking Tool.

With entries from 23 countries and almost 150 individual agencies, we couldn’t be prouder to have won the Silver award for Best Use of Data and Insight. A lot of hard work went into creating our Partner Benchmarking Tool, and to have it recognised at such prestigious awards is a real honour.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Partner Benchmarking Tool was built to provide real-time insights for Microsoft partners, so that they could quickly identify which aspects of their content marketing strategies needed improvement. By simply entering a URL, users can put their website, blog and social through 40 tests that quantify performance and provide results in seconds.

The data pulled in this process allows users to diagnose the health of a whole range of inbound marketing factors. And, as the results are presented in a simple score format, it’s easy to see where improvement is needed.

partner benchmarking tool scores

Following their results, users are given access to a range of informative, how-to videos and tutorials full of actionable advice for getting better scores in the future. Relevant content is tailored to each user, based on the strengths and weaknesses gleaned from the analysis.

Microsoft has made the Partner Benchmarking Tool accessible to all 500,000 partners via the Smart Partner Marketing Portal. As such, marketing teams around the world are being inspired and empowered to achieve more with their content marketing efforts.

Interested in learning more about what our marketing tool can do for your business? This post provides a round up.

Whilst we believe in celebrating our successes here at Fifty Five and Five (and we’ll certainly be raising a toast later today) we don’t plan on stopping here. We’re constantly working to refine our services so that we can provide more value for our fab clients.

There are some exciting projects in the pipeline, including work on a brand new concept for an Insights Report (more on that later…). Alongside Insights, we’re also investing more time into social selling and content marketing research, so that we can keep delivering top quality advice and strategies that help our clients thrive.

Check out our fool-proof guide to content marketing, designed to help B2B marketers put together a killer content strategy.

We’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the International Content Marketing Association Awards for their recognition. It’s such an awesome time to be a player in the digital marketing landscape, and we can’t wait to share more great tools, content and insights with you.

For now, feel free to check out our library of existing marketing content here.


Fifty Five and Five turns 5!

Fifty Five and Five is officially five years old. It’s been a hell of a journey, an exciting time with many highs - and the odd ‘are we doing the right thing?’ moment. I’m immensely proud of what the whole team has achieved, and I’m so excited for the future.

But how did we get here?

In our five years we’ve done so much incredible work for clients all over the globe. We’ve doubled our head count pretty much every year, moved office four times, and launched an industry leading marketing report. We have our own marketing benchmarking platform, and recently opened an office in Redmond, Seattle… We’ve crammed a lot in!

So how did we do it? And much more importantly, how do we push on even further and faster in the future?

I’ll be honest, when it comes to running a business I don’t tend to give too much advice to others. I just don’t think I’ve quite earned the right yet. Also I put a lot of Fifty Five and Five’s success down to two simple things: hard work and luck. Though I do very much subscribe to the maxim of the harder you work, the luckier you get.

But the hard work that got us here, and will power our future, isn’t mine. It’s the team and network around me. Yes I know what you are thinking, here comes the cliché of ‘it’s all about the people’. But it is true. And instead of general platitudes, I can prove it. I’ll come back to that shortly.

Let’s rewind a bit

Before I set up the business I was a freelancer (IT and business consulting, then copywriting). I worked mostly on my own, found my own contracts and did what I pleased. It was an interesting and fulfilling period of my working life - but it couldn’t be more different to what I’m doing now.

I hired my first employee just one month into Fifty Five and Five, in Sep 2014. Very quickly, I had many a wise voice telling me about the power and importance of delegation. And of course it is true, but at its heart delegation is just passing your own tasks onto someone else. I wanted more than that.

Instead, I decided early on to try and find great people and give them the tools (not simply my tasks) to succeed. I’ve tried to empower people, mainly by giving them freedom and responsibility.

“No you don’t need to copy me into that email, I trust you.” 

“Yes, you’re running that meeting by yourself.”

“Ok you messed up, but how are you going to fix it?”

It’s important to know that this doesn’t always work. Actually it sometimes backfires spectacularly. But overall, I’ve found the system, with the odd adjustment, works. Giving people freedom doesn’t mean holding back on support. If anything, support is even more important for helping people grow. It’s a pretty simple formula: hire great people, support them, treat them like adults.

So what makes ‘great people’?

As I mentioned before, I don’t really like giving advice. I’m not qualified. But I did say I can prove it is the people that make Fifty Five and Five what it is. So to finish this post, let’s go through them one by one and see exactly why.

I’m excluding clients from this list, because I could too easily list them all and write a novel. So if I’ve missed you out, don’t worry. If you’ve ever worked with us, the whole team and I are grateful for your support – we couldn’t have done it without you.

David Lavenda at harmon.ie – Our first ever client and an important part of Fifty Five and Five to this very day. He trusted us in the early days when we were still finding our feet, and we continue to work together creating fantastic things.

Aidan Danaher – Our first ever employee, Aidan has done every job there is to do, and he now heads up our Clients Services team. His attitude and manner are a shining example to everyone, every day.

Christine Stone – An early client, but much more a friend of the company, who’s always generous with advice and encouragement.

Roland Oldengarm, Terence Rabe, Dhaval Shah, Gene Vangampelaere, Daniel Asuzu, Steven Andrews, Blair Hainsworth – Our initial group of freelance writers and subject matter experts. Their enthusiasm to try something new with us was crucial for our first year.

Christian Buckley – A real cheerleader for the company who’s been there for us from the start. 

Len Williams – Our first full time writer, former Head of Content, and now a valuable freelancer. Many of the initiatives Len started way back, we still practice now.

Nick Jevons – A freelance designer who helped us out early on. He allowed us to say ‘we build websites’, which was huge at the time.

Sam Gowing – Sam joined us a writer fresh from university, and he’s still with us today. He’s an awesome part of the team and culture here.

Vlad Volodin at devmiles – Vlad and his team help us build the tools that power Fifty Five and Five, including Maya.

Stephen Reilly – Joined as our third writer, and he’s now our much valued Head of Content. He’s a great example of people growing with the company and taking opportunities.

Warren Knight – Our first business coach, who helped develop our Top50 report idea which still underpins a lot of our success.

David Jones – Our first ever accountant, who bravely put up with all my inane questions for a long time.

Katrina Patel – Our first ever marketing exec. She was perfect person to take that role and remains a friend of the company today.

Manvir Mangat – Our first full time designer, who was critical in helping to shape what was at the time a brand new area for us.

Enrika Ramonaite – A Marketing Exec master, so valuable to us that when she left the country we insisted she kept working for us. And she does.

Kevin Conroy @ BlueRooster – An advisor and friend to the company whose championing of Maya helped to shape the product we have today.

Richard Shipton – Generous in all his interactions with the company and he has helped to spread our name far and wide.

Paulina Olin – Our first web designer, and now leading Digital Designer on the creative team. Another great example of someone who has grown with the company.

Seb Gach – An irreplaceable member of our content team, Seb has really allowed us to develop the range of work we offer.

Kristin Treat at Nintex – An awesome client, friend of Fifty Five and Five, and fantastic advocate for what we do.

Jennifer Tomlinson at Microsoft – Jennifer has done so much for Fifty Five and Five, words can’t do it justice. She’s an awesome person.

Karl Heasman at Cactus – A business coach and mentor. Karl is a hugely important part of the Fifty Five and Five journey.

Caitlin Shorricks – The Office Manager and my PA, Caitlin is a vital part of making Fifty Five and Five run day to day. She’s truly integral part of the team.

John Wilson at Viral Agency – Our go to video production partner, awesome to collaborate with and a good all round chap.

Laura Lopez – Dedicated, loyal, a pleasure to work with and great at her job. What else could an employer want?

 John Haggis at Kepler Wolf – Our first lawyer. Talks plain English, gets the job done, and is easy to work with.

Miles Booth – The first member of what is now our Client Services team. He’s helped shape everything this team has done since he joined.

Elise Cannon – Our first Data Analyst, all round Tableau wiz and Excel genius. Holland’s gain is our loss.

Mischa Gatti – Mischa’s ability to calmly take big clients and important projects and own them 100% is a big contributor to our growth.

Barnaby Ellis – Head of the Creative team and invaluable in helping shape both Maya and our Insights offering. Barnaby’s experience helps Fifty Five and Five every day.

Matthew Rooke – Matt brings a level of calm expertise to the content team and has certainly taught me more about the rules of grammar than I thought possible. 

Maria Angelino – One of our Marketing Execs, Maria is a vital member of that team and all round SEO and PPC expert.

Kate Menzies – Another of our brilliant writers, Kate’s contribution to the team and our work is fantastic. And she still finds time to self-publish her own poetry, which I find amazing.

Abo Akintunde – Joined the Creative team and quickly played a huge role in transforming our digital design services.

Abbie Edwards – Another valued member of the creative team, who brings real talent to her role

Alessa Morisse – Our first project manager. I have no idea how we got this far without her. A brilliant find for Fifty Five and Five.

Janar Kuusik – Our first full time animator, enjoying his second stint at the company. He constantly amazes us with his talents.

Patricia Bassler at Bassler Financial Services – Our financial wizard in the US who all but runs our operations there. We couldn’t have setup in the states without her.

Liz Wegerer – Our first employee in the states, and invaluable in forging our business across the pond. Irreplaceable.

Danny Mitchell – A writer whose passion for the job and the words he assembles comes through in his work every day.

Megan Marris – A recent hire and already much-valued member of the content team. Megan is an awesome addition to Fifty Five and Five.

Alex Carnegie – The newest writer on the content team, who joined as a freelancer and we couldn’t make him perm fast enough.


Fifty Five and Five is expanding to the United States

When I set up Fifty Five and Five, I’d love to say I had a plan. I want to tell you I had a business case, a set of objectives and solid targets. In reality, I had none of those things. But I did have an idea. The idea was that, as a writer, I could help tech companies better tell their stories.  

That idea, and some great clients (many of whom are still with us today), got us going. We quickly become a business – a content agency in fact. We hired writers to craft perfect prose, allowing our clients to communicate more effectively with their customers. We did pretty well and started to grow.  

In those early days I still didn’t really know were Fifty Five and Five was heading. I didn’t know we would quickly add complementary social, paid media and SEO services. I didn’t know we’d soon have our own digital designers, that we would build websites and produce awesome animations and videos.  

I also didn’t know we would change office four times (soon to be five), to house our growing team. A bit of pre-planning on that front would certainly have been helpful, for a whole bunch of reasons now filed as ‘slightly painful and expensive lessons learned’. 

full-service agency  

As we set out becoming a more fully defined digital agency, the idea of a fully formed strategy behind who we would hire, or when, was fanciful. We did it on gut instinct and by meeting great people.  

Weve hired all sorts of employees over the past five years, and I learn something new from them every day. Our staff turnover is also incredibly low, and even those who have left are still friends of the business – something that makes me very proud. We have people of all age ranges, levels of experience, nationality, skills and personalities. The mix works, for us and our clients. 

Fifty Five and Five team

It is only in the last few years that I started to define exactly the areas of the business that I wanted to grow, and how I wanted to grow them. Finally, a plan was forming. Right now, one month into our new financial year, I can tell you our revenue targets, how many people we’re looking to hire, and a whole bunch of metrics that I track and measure.  

It is only as you mature as a business that you can really begin to focus on these kinds of things. You need to build a layer of support around you (people like my PA, our accountants and law firm, the great mentors I’ve been able to work with) that gives you the space to breathe and plan a bit more. The early days are just too busy for all that.  

Finding our path  

I don’t think the lack of a clear plan has held us back. Like I say, we had an idea of what we were, and how we wanted to do things. And we ran with it.  I suspect most early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs have a similar way, when theyre building a new company, of finding the best path. 

But back to the present day. Now we do have a plan, a strategy, and we think seriously about how to better serve our current and future clients. One thing that has been on my wish list for a couple of years was to open an office in the US. For a while now 50% of our revenue has come from outside the UK, the majority of this from the US and Canada. So, in many ways an office outside of London was inevitable.  

It formally became part of our business plan last year, where it fell by the wayside for a bit. Other things got in the way, not least launching our marketing assessment tool with Microsoft (oh and doubling our headcount here in the UK!).  

A truly global step  

I am really proud to announce today that our US office opens on the 28th of May 2019. We have the bricks and mortar sorted – in sunny Bellevue, Seattle. Fifty Five and Five Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fifty Five and Five Ltd, incorporated in Washington State by our lovely new US financial services team, and our various trademarks now apply in the States. 

 

But most important of allwe have the beginnings of a great team of employees ready to start work in Seattle. I’ll update over the next weeks and months as the team falls into place, and I can announce names. We are also hiring so if youre looking to join a leading digital agency in the Seattle region, get in touch. 

This is a big deal for Fifty Five and Five. The agency started in a basement five years ago with not much of a plan (we covered that remember?). Now were fulfilling our vision of becoming a truly global digital agency for the modern world. I look forward to sharing the rest of the journey with you 

Oh, and if you want to come and see us in Seattle for a coffee or some digital marketing expertise, please let me know. 

Looking to improve your marketing?

We can help! Talk to us about your business and the specific barriers you come up against when trying to generate leads.

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A day in the life of a B2B marketing executive

In this post, we will be looking at a day in the life of a B2B marketing executive at Fifty Five and Five. It’s time to meet Laura Lopez.

Hi Laura, let’s start with a little bit about yourself.

“Hi, I’m from Spain and I have been living in the UK for almost six years. I originally studied journalism, but when I came over to the UK I started working in marketing. Most of my professional experience has been centred around technology in one way or the other. I first worked on the Marketing Team at a Microsoft Partner before moving to Fifty Five and Five – we specialise in working with Microsoft Partners as well as other technology companies. Over the years, I’ve learnt a lot about technology, but I’ve always remained interested in how it can empower businesses.”

Tell us about your role and what you do at Fifty Five and Five.

“I’m one of the Marketing Executives in our marketing team—we focus on managing business relationships with B2B technology companies aiming to optimise their digital marketing. So, for me, I’m spending a lot of my time managing clients’ social media accounts and running PPC campaigns.”

What does this involve exactly?

“For managing social media, it means a lot of searching for new content to post, growing our clients’ numbers of followers and engaging with their audiences.

“When it comes to pay-per-click (PPC), we set up and manage campaigns on Google AdWords, Facebook or YouTube. For every client the goal of the campaign is slightly different – we sit down with them to understand what they expect to achieve from the campaign. We decide on the goals and set the KPIs that we want to track. If the client is more interested in social engagement, we track post engagement and reactions; if they’re interested in downloads, we track conversion stats using tools like Google Analytics.”

What does a typical day in the life of a B2B marketing executive look like?

“It’s a good mix of old and new! There are certain things that we do every day, like managing social media. But one day might also involve lots of SEO, such as making sure client blogs or web pages are optimised, while the next might involve setting up a PPC campaign. Sometimes both. If there’s a new client, we spend a lot of time researching the company, getting to know what they’re about.

“There’s always a lot of things that we need to fit into one day. We need great time management skills to be able to manage our priorities and make sure we meet our deadlines.”

What tools do you use to help get work done?

We use lots. There are many great tools available to make life easier for marketers, such as:

day in the life of a B2B marketing executive

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is essential for social media. It’s mainly known for scheduling posts, but it does lots of great things. It tracks what your followers are talking about, which can be useful when you need to find content that your audience will respond to. It also highlights posts (you can search for topics of interest to you) that have received the most tweets or likes so it is very good for finding great material to retweet.

Moz

We use Moz for SEO. Not only does it help you find the best keywords to use, but it helps you identify any issues with your website that you need to solve (regarding SEO) and shows you how well our pages are ranking. It’s essential.

Spyfu

This tool is invaluable for competitor analysis and keyword research. It shows you keywords other companies are using to give you an idea of what they are targeting.

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is amazing as well. It helps you find content and increase your following on Twitter.

day in the life of a B2B marketing executive

What do you enjoy most about being a marketing executive?

“I love the time we spend researching. You have to stay on top of all the latest trends, so reading about the world of technology and marketing is key. There’s always something new to learn. That goes for skills, too. It’s quite a demanding role, so you need to keep developing your skillset. Above all, you need to be organised, creative and to be able to put yourself in the client’s shoes.”

  • Organised
    When it comes to campaigns, you need to know when a campaign is going to start, because timing is everything. If a client wants to start on a particular date, then it needs to be ready to go on that date. With longer relationships, you can usually compromise if deadlines need to change. But delays can lead to the entire campaign falling apart.
  • Creative
    All marketing professionals need to be creative – for instance, the wording of a tweet or new strategies to apply to SEO. You need to be always open to coming up with new ideas. And you need to be able drive projects forward with creative problem solving too.
  • Slipping into your clients’ shoes
    Being able to put yourself in your client’s shoes is more applicable for agencies like us that work with lots of different clients, because no two companies are the same.

What is the most interesting thing you have learnt?

“The thing that has made the biggest difference to my skillset since joining Fifty Five and Five is building up my knowledge of SEO. Before I had a fair amount of experience – I would optimise posts, for instance. But now my knowledge is far more in-depth. Now, thanks to the knowledge of my colleagues and due to training experiences afforded here, I’m as well-versed on the topic as ever!”

How important is it to keep improving and to keep on training? 

“It’s really important to keep learning. Everyday there are new things to learn. For example, Google is altering its algorithm all the time. You need to keep on top of the wave of change or you’ll miss out and it will affect your client’s SEO. But that’s also what makes the role so fulfilling—there are always new tools to increase audience engagement on social media and new strategies to excel in PPC. It’s important not to just look at the news but to also keep yourself updated with tutorials. For example, we use Lynda, which is great for learning new skills. In fact, I used it yesterday to take an advanced training course in Google AdWords.”

 


Laura is just one of many specialist marketing professionals who work at Fifty Five and Five. To learn more about what we do or how to market your IT, explore our services page or check out our case studies today.


Fifty Five and Five

Fifty Five and Five: A quantum leap

  • What's new at Fifty Five and Five? We share what's been happening lately
  • New additions to the team
  • Attending Microsoft Ignite 2017 and getting ready for Inspire 2018

At this year’s Microsoft Ignite conference, CEO Satya Nadella opened his keynote with the company’s new focus on quantum computing. Microsoft are on track to build the first ever topological qubit, which could serve as the basis for a scalable quantum computer system fit for general purpose (i.e. a bit cheaper than current quantum models, which will set you back around $15m).

As Nadella exclaimed: “New Microsoft breakthroughs will bring general purpose quantum computing a step closer to reality.”

Quantum computer systems have the potential to completely revolutionise how we go about computing (the scientific reasoning for which I could never successfully relay back to you). Satya Nadella himself needed some help from top mathematicians, physicists and Microsoft computer scientists to explain Microsoft’s approach to quantum computing on stage at Ignite.

Don’t go expecting a quantum computer in every household, of course; the system can currently only function at 0.01 Kelvin, or around -272ºC. But Microsoft are also developing tools that can program a quantum computer—a full software stack and a new programming language will allow users to write quantum solutions and applications integrated into Visual Studio. The futuristic aspirations of quantum computing packaged into the Microsoft solutions we’re already familiar with… truly exciting stuff.

But, why are we telling you this? Well, despite the premise of quantum computing being an altogether fascinating one, Fifty Five and Five attended Microsoft Ignite this year. We’ll leave you to decide whether Microsoft’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of IT was a bigger or better surprise than the attendee celebration being held at Universal Orlando Resort, but it was certainly a great week to round off our summer.

And it certainly was an eventful summer at Fifty Five and Five. So, we thought we'd share some of the things we’ve been getting up to recently.

New faces

We’re happy to announce that the Fifty Five and Five team has grown stronger over the last couple months! We’ve had three recent additions to the team:

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Fifty Five and Five team

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Caitlin is our office manager, who joined in June and does everything to keep Fifty Five and Five running smoothly. Caitlin sums up her first three months:

“Starting a new job is always nerve-wracking. But I’m clearly enjoying my new role here as I’m yet to take any of my unlimited leave!”

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Fifty Five and Five team

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Seb also joined in June as our newest content writer:

“My four months at Fifty Five and Five have flown by. The work is challenging, varied and always rewarding, and it has been great getting to know such a talented and friendly group of co-workers.”

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Fifty Five and Five team[/one_sixth]

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And Laura is the latest member of our marketing team, helping with SEO and building lasting relationships with our clients:

“I’m very happy to be working with such a talented team and hopefully it won’t be long before I can contribute to the office’s collection of silly statements and musings from the team with a quote of my own!”

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We're happy that the team is continuing to grow, and even happier to have them all on board!

Microsoft Ignite 2017

After the success of Inspire in July, October was our chance to attend Microsoft’s other main event of the calendar year: Ignite. Held in Orlando, FL and with more than 25,000 business customers and IT leaders, it was a fantastic event.

Microsoft Ignite 2017

As expected, this year’s conference came with some big announcements. The new Microsoft 365, which was announced at Inspire in July, is coming to new audiences in October.

But the big highlight was Office 2019. With the newest iteration of Office, Microsoft are recognizing that moving to the cloud is a journey that requires many considerations. Office 2019 is set to be the stepping-stone upgrade for customers who feel they need to keep some (or all) of their apps and servers on-premises.

SharePoint Server 2019 was also announced, despite many believing SharePoint 2016 would be the last on-premises version of the platform. It’s good to see Microsoft are still dedicated to those who have not yet made the move to the cloud.

And when a tech conference is held next-door to “The Happiest Place On Earth”, how could it not be a success?

One of the best Web Development Projects in the UK

The Digital Entrepreneur Awards is one of the longest-standing technology awards in the UK, recognising outstanding achievements in the digital industry. The awards consider every facet of a successful online business, from leadership to creative direction and development. There are 17 awards categories in total, spread across four areas: Digital Business, e-Services, Digital Innovation, and Design & Marketing.

Fifty Five and Five

We’re happy to announce that Fifty Five and Five have been nominated as a finalist for Web Development Project of the Year at DEA 2017. We’re honoured by the accolade and can’t wait for the results to be revealed next month!

Onwards and upwards

It’s been a great few months, and a great year thus far, for Fifty Five and Five. We’re looking forward to what the rest of the year has in store and we’re very excited for Inspire 2018 in Las Vegas, NV.

 


Fifty Five and Five are a full-service digital marketing agency, guiding clients through the entirety of the content process—from ideation and creation to distribution and analytics. For more information, get in touch with us today.

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