Sarah Comerford is the Client Services Director at digital marketing agency, Purple Creative Studio in Richmond. If you’ve bought any design or digital marketing service locally, then you may have come across her. She manages strategies for the company’s broad range of clients, as well as overseeing HR and the workflow of all staff – she’s a busy woman! 

Tell us a bit about your career journey.
I am extremely grateful that my career journey has been incredibly eclectic. I have worked at a number of different places and each one has given me valuable skills which I use each and every day.

My first job was at 16 in a wedding dress shop where I sewed beads on wedding dresses.  At college and university I worked in a number of different environments:  a nightclub; the Co-Op; a surf shop; a hairdressers; and a jewellers.  Each of these jobs taught me how to deal with people – a skill which I consider to be my strongest asset.

When I left university, I applied for a job at The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond.  Unfortunately, I didn’t even get an interview, however, I rang them up to ask them for some feedback and I was interviewed the next day and then offered the job.  This taught me to never be afraid to pick up the phone!

I loved working at the theatre and it taught me an incredible amount about people management, as well as responsibility and accountability.  The marketing position at the theatre involved having sole responsibility for promotion, co-ordinating local and national press coverage, and also running a team of 120 volunteers.

After three years at the Theatre, I moved over to Purple Creative Studio.  My role involves a lot of project management as well as digital marketing, which I am incredibly passionate about.  I oversee and implement marketing strategies for a wide variety of companies in a range of sectors and look after the internal HR, policies and workflow management for all staff members.  My role has evolved a huge amount since joining the team in 2013, and I can’t wait to see how it will develop in the future.

What’s a typical day like for you?
I get into the office at 8am and I like to spend the first part of my day working on emails and scheduling work for the upcoming day.  As well as this, I also have a quick look at social media to see what is trending, what people are tweeting about and look at the engagement on the accounts we manage.

No two days are ever the same but I normally have a number of meetings with clients, either to discuss current or new web work or meet to discuss digital marketing.   I have recently been running workshops so my days have been taken up with preparation for those as well as delivering the course.  This has been an exciting development to my role.

I also spend a lot of time talking to clients, whether that be on email or over the phone, but each day really is incredibly different!

What’s the toughest part of your job?
Like most people, the toughest part of my job is managing my time.  In an increasingly ‘switched on’ society, I often find myself running out of time!

And the best part?
Quite simply, the people!  I work with a wonderful team of people and I meet clients with such interesting and unusual organisations and businesses; it is a people person’s dream!

What’s your biggest career aspiration?
Everything I have learnt about marketing and digital marketing has been self-taught and I aspire to be an expert in this field.  In the future, I would like to coach and train more people so that they are empowered rather than bamboozled by digital marketing and all the jargon that goes with it.

What’s your top marketing or social media tip?
Pick the social media platforms that work for you; you don’t have to be on them all!  You also want to make sure you engage with your customers.  Social media is not the same as door to door sales; you need to treat it as a platform to engage with current and potentially new customers.

What advice would you give to women who aspire to be in management?
Management is not about clambering your way to the top at the expense of others to feel self-important.  To me, management is about empowering people, making people feel valued, rewarding hard work and encouraging people to be the best they can be.  Help people around you grow, always be nice but also learn when and how to say no!

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