In this debut feature of our Employee Spotlight series, we speak to Aida Walsh, Head of Marketing at Perform Partners. We rarely get to see or hear much of Aida as she is often the one behind the camera (and because she actively avoids the spotlight), but now she will reveal a little bit more about her role at Perform Partners, how it has changed over the years and what the roadmap ahead looks like.
A day in the life of Head of Marketing at Perform Partners is quite busy. It’s interesting as we are currently in a state of growth. There are a lot of moving parts and elements across the business. We have new team members, exciting projects, enhanced ways of working and processes – with many new customers, increased demand for marketing, new events, new audiences and segments, brings increased outputs around a variety of communication and more opportunities for learning and growth.
As the business grows, so does Marketing and our output. In previous years we have focused on establishing our marketing fundamentals, strategy, platforms and understanding our audience. The year ahead is very much about building on those fundamentals. Internally, we want to improve our ways of working, increasing reach and positioning, showcasing our capabilities, and shouting about the great company-wide achievements.
The part I love the most about my role at Perform Partners – we genuinely work as a team. Everybody’s voice and ideas are invited to the conversation. Whether you’re in a tech role, a creative role, finance, or work with people every day, we can all still have a healthy discussion about our direction and decisions. We do however avoid ‘death by committee’ and try to keep the number of meetings down.
This level of collaboration is something I haven’t personally experienced before in another role, and being supported and surrounded by a team so focused on achieving our vision is brilliant.
The role itself – Marketing – is vast. We cover all forms of organic marketing, orientated around relationship building. Historically, we have had limited resource in the space, but now as the team grows, we are turning up the volume slightly with so much more to come.
But to your original question, a day as a Head of Marketing at Perform Partners often involves meetings to discuss projects in flow, agreeing direction and putting plans into action. At present we have concurrent projects running; from social media, direct marketing, info slicks and collateral, content, pitch decks, press releases, podcasts, internal comms, CSR and eco initiatives, case studies and testimonials, customer satisfaction, web development and growth, strategic research and planning… to name just a few.
Like everything within Perform, it’s been quite fast-paced and there has been a lot of change, but that’s the nature of the business that we’re in – change! Personally, I thrive in this sort of environment where everyone is empowered to make decisions and hold themselves accountable, strategy is aligned across the team, and expertise invited. Space is created for your own ideas and creativity to be shared, opportunities for personal, team and business growth is limitless.
When I first started working with Perform, we all worked remotely through lockdown. Even in these ways of working, we formed a strong team capable of collaborating, sharing ideas and have a good laugh without being in the same room. I think the founders have built this culture in our organisation. Cloë and I formed a friendship early on, months before we’d even met – I think we met 4 months after joining. It says a lot about the Perform’s DNA, that we may have known each other only for a few weeks but we feel like we’ve been friends for years.
Since starting, we have established a marketing strategy, defined clear personas, built a strong social following, formed a partnership with Leeds Mind, delivered a complete rebrand, won awards, re-developed our website, delivered content creation in excess of 100,000 words, formed new internal processes and ways of working, created a library of communication and collateral, commenced internal communication strategy, released 2 seasons of our All Things change podcast, and most recently, grown the team!
Looking at the year ahead, internally we will be focusing on our ways of working and how we can optimise our output. Outwardly, we will be sharing our success stories – so many stories yet to be told. Across our digital platforms, we will be revealing more insights, resources, and advice on change management.
I initially supported Perform Partners as a Consultant, looking at establishing the Marketing function and hiring. We then started looking at strategy, setting some foundations while hiring, and establishing the direction of the Marketing department. I ended up joining the business as Head of Marketing, and the rest is history.
I was a full-time mum. My previous role was growing small humans and then keeping them alive. Prior to that, I was Head of Marketing for a recruitment organisation.
Throughout my career, I have always been drawn to opportunities where the business does not have a marketing function in place – often in small to medium size organisations, or start-ups. As an example, when I first started at the recruitment organisation, they didn’t have a marketing function, instead used multiple external agencies, all working independently. I was supporting 19 sub-brands of an overarching group. By the time I’d left, a full in-house marketing team was established, working as a central service. The team consisted of eight individuals, including content writers, marketers, and designers (both graphic design and motion graphics) – we were quite a force, they were all brilliant! We rebranded and aligned all the communications across the Group, supporting the business and clearly articulating the company message to market.
My background has always been marketing, building up small to medium-sized organisations, strengthening their market positioning, increasing their market presence, and promoting brand awareness, predominantly through organic marketing.
Honestly, it was an accident. I studied Business and Marketing at Sixth form. My intention was to go down the technology and computer science route. However, I added one wild card to my choices, which was a Marketing and Management degree. I ended up being accepted for the Marketing course and a Computer Science course…I followed my instincts and here we are.
This is a difficult question to answer. I added my own little wildcards into my journey, which when looking back was absolutely right for me. Sometimes your heart is going one way and your head is telling you to go another. I had many influences throughout my life, I had a lot of valuable advice, but I would say – follow your instinct as its often what’s right for you.
I love working in a creative environment within a creative role. Marketing gives me that on so many different levels, both from designing to creative problem solving. I’m passionate about what I do, the ways in which we can communicate and deliver outcomes for our organisation, drive towards unified vision, and support our charity partners, our customers and clients on that journey.
I’d say follow your instinct and remember that nothing is set in stone. If you try something and it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that it was wrong. Find a new path and give that one a try.
The team – genuinely it’s the team. Marketing would be marketing everywhere, and the same principles are applied in a customised way. But it’s the people and the environment that make the difference.
There’s something about our culture that invites you into the office every single day. We all have the opportunity to work remotely. I remember the days before lockdown and how difficult it was to get remote working into your schedule. It is now a standard way of working for most. But actually, I choose to go into the office because it’s just such a nice environment, the team are great. We have a lot of banter, jokes and laughs, but actually it’s also a great environment for creativity and collaboration, and to gain more of an understanding and enhance our ways of working as a team.
Aside from being a mum, of course, I’d have to say its participating in some of the recent fundraising challenged we have taken part in as a team. I’m not an athlete, nor am I a natural runner – I don’t really enjoy it. When it comes to fitness, I prefer weight training or hiking in the Lakes. However, I challenged myself along with the Perform team, to support Leeds Mind in running the Leeds 10K…and I finished it! I am proud of myself for that. It was a big achievement for me. I know 10K is not far for most, but for me it was.
Another one was again in support of Leeds Mind – the Fire Walk! Every part of my body was telling me the idea of walking on hot coals was mad and there was no way I was doing it! In fact, I bottled it – I think there is a video!! I was in line, stood behind a very confident Cloë and Shaun, thinking “I can do this, I can do this…I CAN’T DO THIS” and then I hid behind Paul! The team cheered me on, Shaun gave me a pep talk and I did it…3 times I went over the coals before calling it a day and leaving Cloë and Shaun to go back time and time again, until the Fire Walk team asked them to stop! Again, it was another big deal for me as I was convinced I would back out altogether on the night – 100% my instincts were telling me to not do it but with my teams’ support, I overcame the mental blockers to give it a go.
Head over to our Careers page to learn more about the Perform culture, benefits as well as to view all current job openings.