6 years ago

Hobnobbing with Amy McManus, founder of AM Marketing

AM Marketing is a full-service marketing agency based in Canterbury, Kent. Founded by Managing Director Amy McManus in September 2013, AM Marketing specialise in digital marketing services, web, video and brand identity. They are a Google Partner agency and were selected for the Google Elevator programme in 2017, which picks the top 30 'ones to watch' agencies within the UK. They have an impressive portfolio of clients all over the world and have experience working on accounts such as Disney, Very, VW Group, Harrods and Carlsburg Group.

How did the idea for the business come about?

Like many businesses, AM Marketing was completely accidental. I started a job which I thought was going to be incredible, but I handed in my notice within 28 hours. I uncovered various fraudulent activities performed by my boss; including forging cheques from HMRC and changing account numbers on invoices to her own. After reporting her I was gone; I remember thinking...what do I do now?

I felt bad for the clients had been duped so started working with them on a freelance basis. This lead to other clients, until one day I was rejected by a company for being a freelancer. They wanted to work with a company. So I thought…I had better get some business cards. The AM Marketing name, branding and URL were all created in 30 minutes on a Friday afternoon. The business cards were printed; suddenly I had a company!

When was the company first established?

September 2013

How is the business doing?

Here are just a couple of our recent milestones!

2015 - Kent Marketing and PR Business of the Year

2017 - Google Elevator Scheme - Top 30 UK Google Partner Agency

2017 - TEDx (Amy McManus)

2017 - IoD Young Director of the Year Finalist (Amy McManus)

2017 - Women of the Future, Young Entrepreneur Award Finalist (Amy McManus)

2017 - Amazon UK Growing Business Award Winner

Since the company began, what has been the biggest challenge?

We had a big challenge early on. My husband Bradley and I were involved in a high-speed head-on collision which left us both bed bound with physical injuries and suffering with anxiety, PTSD, and depression. I had gone from starting a new business to moving back to my parents’ house. I started therapy and it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. To this day I still suffer with chronic pain, depression and anxiety caused by the accident. I am also still awaiting several operations on my back and attend physiotherapy / pain management sessions for my injuries.

But AM Marketing was never left behind. I was so determined that I was not going to become a failure statistic. As far as I was concerned, I could either give up or get on with it. We are a 6-figure award-winning business almost 5 years old through sheer grit, determination and literal blood sweat and MANY tears. Events like this make you realise what is truly important.

As a digital entrepreneur I can work anywhere with wifi and this is great for days when I cannot travel or sit due to my injuries.

What makes you stand out from your competitors?

AM Marketing is an agency that gets to know their clients and provides bespoke services to each one. They are not a 'sell them cheap and stack them high' agency and do not fit their clients into set categories. AM Marketing was founded to bypass the red tape and politics that can happen within larger organisations. They are reactive, flexible and honest. As a smaller agency, you generally get a higher qualified professional managing your account. AM Marketing never allow juniors or graduates to work on accounts before they have passed their training. They always ensure the team members working on their accounts have passed all of the relevant Google exams. Every team member is an expert in their specialist field.

It also helps that AM's Directors (Amy and Brad) are married! This allows for very frank discussion, full honesty and pushes the business forward.

What’s been your best business decision?

Bringing my husband Bradley into the business in Jan 2016 as our Digital Director.  Bradley has worked on multi-million global accounts for the likes of Disney, Marvel, SSE and VW. He brought a wealth of experience to the company and a great new dynamic to the team.

What is next for AM Marketing?

Big things! Watch out 2018!

If you could help one business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?

Don't needlessly compare yourself to others; this will only cause you issues. What people display on social / outside isn't necessarily what's happening behind closed doors.

Concentrate on your own unique USPs.

Finally, what is your favourite biscuit?

Biscuits are my one true vice; I can never just have one. I get weird random cravings for fig rolls and am rather fond of bourbons.

However, you can't beat a classic chocolate digestive! Least favourite has to be rich tea; I can never get the 'dunk time' right and end up with the fatal biscuit tea drop.


Lucy Liddiard