About Me

Digital marketing and social media expert with a passion for analysis and marketing strategy.

I used to think 'about me' pages were just waffle, but thinking about it, it's nice to get to know someone before you start working with them. Particularly in post pandemic life where we may not even meet 'in real life' before we begin our project. So I'll not keep it too brief.

A portrait of Katie Barber in her hometown, Sheffield

My background

"Business is like a wheel, it takes a lot of work to get it turning, and then once it starts turning - it starts turning you." - My Dad

Although I work with businesses all over the UK in a range of industries, I am born and bred in Sheffield. As a yorkshire lass, I highly value honesty and warmth.

I’ve always worked in business. When I was a little girl, I worked in my family businesses. My Dad installed burglar alarms and my Grandma owned a small nursing home. As a kid I was often expected to take a phone call, hoover up some plaster dust or fetch a resident a cup of tea. I made my pocket money stripping cables, filling skips and helping old ladies get in and out of the stair lift.

Self emloyment felt inevitable for me. I’ve seen how business is a vehicle of empowerment which can help draw life and society forward in so many ways. I’m head over heels in love with my own business and have only the deepest respect for my clients journeys and organisations. 

I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, and I know that sometimes my clients will need an all hands on deck approach and need me to go the extra mile.

My education

"Creativity may well be the last legal competitive advantage we can take to run over the competition." - Dave Trott

I left academics at 16 to study design and the practical approach suited me more. I'm a creative person, but I found that I was distracted in university and I became hyper focused on building digital projects, just as social media was starting to take off.

I became fascinated by the internet and it’s mechanics at an early age, and I still get “in the zone” fiddling about with it now.

As a natural pattern recogniser and behavioural analyser – I found a love of cultural studies with in my design education. Learning about why people were drew to certain aspects of culture and how the mass market can affect society blew my mind. Ever since I’ve been studying behavioural science, anthropology and culture. I still combine design ways of working with marketing practices and go through the ideation – mood board – initial idea – development stages with everything I do.

Design has taught me an important lesson – the best work is the work that works, not the work I thought would work.

A pile of marketing textbooks

Professional background

"I never thought about how my customer feels when they visit my website until now, I just focussed on looking as professional as possible." - My strategy client, Ryan

After uni and living and working in Amsterdam in the design and advertising industries, I moved back to Sheffield at the height of the global recession. My options were limited - there were none. It was actually a lady at the job centre who recommended that I put myself forward for a temp marketing job for a social enterprise called Ground Works and it was in this temp job that I did my CIM training.

After temping, I secured a junior position at a silicon valley tech company, lucky for me this ‘recession proof’ large start up had an office right in my hometown. In this job, I learned the full extent of what marketing tech can achieve, I met a new friend I’d never seen in design – data. I spent hundreds of hours with my head deep in analytic softwares and CRM journeys. The marketing bug had completely hooked me and I became extremely driven and competitive. Within a nurturing environment where I could expand into whatever I was interested in, my boss allowed me to journey into social media.

After this, I managed the digital arm of a full suite IT marketing and telemarketing agency. But it wasn’t long before I decided to go it alone and build up my own business. I built up a client base that began with large local businesses such as law firms, estate agents and physiotherapy practices and has ended in working with large national consumer goods brands. I’m happiest working in a breadth of industries and business sizes – from your sole trader right up to your multinational corporation. I’ve found that lessons can be learned in the business operations of your local yoga studio that can be applicable to your corporate b2b softwares, you just need to look at things with the right lens. And so rather than niching down like many digital marketing pros, I deliberately keep my work broad for the benefit of my clients. Think about it – how can I help a sole trader move up to a 10 person business if I only work with sole traders? How can I advise my corporate clients on trends and reactivity if I’m not out there being reactive and creating trends with small businesses?

Honesty

When I'm honest with others and particularly with myself, then we can do something that's truly best for your business.

Understanding

Every plan begins with the customer and what they may be thinking. How can we create something that will interest them and be easy for them to follow?

Growth

I'm not in this to keep busy, I'm interested in working on campaigns that grow brand awareness and custom.

Analysis

The devil is in the detail. Analysis helps us work out where we need to drive forward and areas we need to steer round. Everything I do is measured.

A portrait of Katie Barber, working on her laptop in Sheffield

My approach

“I don’t care how good you think you are, or how great others think you are—you can improve, and you will. Being relentless means demanding more of yourself than anyone else could ever demand of you, knowing that every time you stop, you can still do more. You must do more. The minute your mind thinks, “Done,” your instincts say, “Next.” - Tim Grover

I’m a good digital marketing manager, but I’m working towards becoming one of the best, most excellent marketing consultants in the UK. I work towards this by getting every client portfolio worthy results and learning as much as I can every day. 

I’m analytical and competitive, so I am constantly reviewing results and trying to work out new ways forward. If something isn’t working – I’m honest about it because it means something needs to change quickly.

This may sound all a bit intense, don’t worry, I hate stuffiness and like to keep it real in meetings. I pride myself on being easy and fun to work with first and foremost. If you’re a big fan of corporate sheen and cufflinks, I’m probably not for you.

I use a design thinking approach, which means I start with empathy for the customer and work our marketing strategy out from there. What I don’t like? 👉 Just doing whatever the competitors are doing or working on stuff that keeps me busy but doesn’t achieve anything! 

I love working with clients who: are friendly and down to earth, have big goals and a lot of vision and are flexible – with a willingness to switch things up and try new things. 

That's enough about me, let's talk about you

Let me know a little bit about your business and background, or get in touch if you have a question about my services.