Christopher Cox PG Dip DigM
I was in senior roles in charities for ten years, running the digital marcomms at Tommy’s, NSPCC, Rethink Mental Illness, Time to Change, Mind and Pancreatic Cancer UK, as well as many other public and private sector positions. I was a trustee (and am still a proud supporter of) The Choir With No Name. I’m a marketing and communications professional with a PG Dip DigM from the IDM and digital specialisms. I’m strategic and growth-focused, and have overseen some big, unprecedented increases in engagement, donor income and other success measures at a number of organisations.
If forced to give a one-line pitch, it would be something like this: If you think your customers or supporters are out there, but they don’t seem to be engaging with you enough or in the way you need – I can help. However, while rapid and strategic growth is the headline, it’s not the whole story – so here’s some more…
Writing and story
As an English graduate and insatiable reader, I love and respect well-crafted stories. I’m a writer of fiction and non-fiction in my spare time, while in my professional life I’m a copywriter and experienced editor. I’ve crafted emails that delivered sales and donation records, top-converting adverts, and other marketing materials. I’ve edited the raw material of hundreds of submissions from the public for a highly-successful blog. As a digital manager I’ve coordinated and edited the works of large content-creating teams according to both grammar and strict brand style guideline – while as a brand manager, I’ve created those guidelines! I read about the techniques of storytelling from film screenwriters and respected authors, and put that learning into my work – even the smallest blog can benefit from storytelling best practice.
Communications and content planning
Planning without coordination is like allowing an orchestra to play what they like and expect great music to emerge. And yet this can be the effect when ‘planning’ is developed in silos, or using the wrong tools (I love Excel, but can’t stand it being used for scheduling!). I’ve created communications and content planning systems for organisations that are still in place years later, because they put coordination first, using accessible tools and clear internal communications channels.
By both instinct and training I’m a strategist, and am lucky enough to have been trained by the best marketers in the UK via an IDM post-graduate diploma. So I’m well-versed in the tools and rules of a properly-structured strategy that’s plain and practical, not full of waffle and buzzwords. I’ve led many workshops with a wide range of stakeholders and seniority, and I can communicate effectively with anyone.
Digital engagement and operation
I’m gifted at engaging audiences on social channels through strategic planning, pragmatic flexibility, and listening to and harnessing the creativity of supporters and staff. I create big organic SEO hits from unpromising raw materials, and deliver coordinated paid marketing plans across multiple channels. I generate positive teamwork and sustainable success, not just flashes in the pan.
Working in charities and non-profits
I understand what it’s like to work in a charity or not-for-profit. Lots of pressure, complexity in decision-making, lack of resources – I have helped mitigate issues like these in many UK charities. My ability to identify opportunities while understanding charity stakeholders, cultures and risks – unlocking huge potential without huge budgets, for example – has put smiles on worried faces on many occasions! I’ve also worked closely with vulnerable groups and individuals, such as in co-production or workshop settings, and understand the sensitivities that need to be considered and reflected in every aspect of management and communication.
I’m a qualified PRINCE 2 practitioner and Agile methodology enthusiast who loves organising and organisational systems. I’ve used too many tools to list, but have used Trello and Gantt charts very effectively in complex projects (such as large website builds). By understanding the situation and the objectives, I can craft the right structure for a project – ‘waterfall’, Agile, or both. Some project managers work by being rather hands-off – I’m unable to do that! I’m highly-engaged and hands-on – a dynamic driver of projects, not a laid-back map-reader.
Measuring, test & learn, the playbook
I’m a keen data analyst, and a student of behavioural psychology (biases, heuristics and so on). As an analyst I’m particularly expert in digital metrics, cutting through the immense amount of noise that – for example – Google Analytics presents, to actually help reveal what’s important in terms of the strategic objectives of an organisation or project. I can also visualise complex data in ways that anyone can understand. But bringing about the strategic value of insights also involves a practical matter of developing hypotheses, running tests and – ultimately – ‘playbooking’ your findings. Sometimes known as CRO (conversion rate optimisation), a too-common reality of these initiatives is that learning is forgotten in a tumult of activity and staff moves. By leveraging my internal communications background, I’ve put in place robust playbook-focused test-and-learn operations, that therefore have sustainable value.
My first freelance work many years ago now, was as a designer. I’ve been using Photoshop, InDesign, the Adobe Creative Suite in general for a long time. I’m also well-versed in video editing, and of course simple online tools like Canva. But making truly effective graphic work is not simply a matter of operative skill – it’s about being able to truly understand audiences and objectives too, and turning those considerations into a piece of professional, on-brand visual design. I’ve broken a number of organisations’ digital engagement records (and often then broken those records again) with scroll-stopping, high-converting videos and static graphics.
Training and speaking
I’ve designed and delivered many training courses on subjects such as digital strategy, writing for the web, how to make effective marketing email, GDPR best practice for marcomms teams, as well as operational training in Google Analytics, Google Data Studio and umpteen content management systems! I’ve also spoken at industry events, such as at the CharityComms conference, SMEX and others hosted by organisations such as the Wellcome Trust. And I’ve presented strategies and proposals to many boards of Trustees and other high-level bodies.
Data law and regulation
Early in my career I worked as a Civil Servant on large pieces of legislation – and still have a genuine enthusiasm for reading and interpreting law. I’ve been the GDPR lead for marketing teams in large international organisations and am able to provide clear advice based on both European and UK law, as well as ICO guidance. I’ve also helped organisations to understand their rights and obligations with respect to complex contracts.
Get in touch – I’m happy to chat about almost anything!