Platform Overview

Evolving With Technology to Optimise User Experience: Interview with Devotion

In our new series celebrating local businesses, we interview business owners to learn about their business and what makes them tick. Every business’s story is different – as are their goals and plans for the future. We’ll delve into the story of how the business came about – from it’s humble beginnings to today. Today we’re talking to Andrew Whitehead, the Creative and Managing Director of Devotion.

As a marketing professional with 20+ years experience, Andrew’s talents lie in generating innovative ways to help businesses attract and retain customers. Andrew’s business, Devotion, has been a mainstay in the digital marketing industry for years. However, it prides itself on helping businesses prepare for the future.

Evolving with the technological landscape

Andrew’s training as a graphic designer came in handy when he launched Devotion, a digital agency which helps other businesses in all areas of online marketing. Devotion’s emphasis on using emerging technology with their clients harks back to the 1990s, when businesses were only just beginning to use websites. As time has gone on, Devotion has evolved to the point where they’re now implementing AI and machine learning to get the most value and efficiency for their clients.

Interview with Andrew Whitehead

1. To start, tell us a bit about what your business does

Devotion is a full-service digital agency that delivers strategy, development, and digital marketing services. Put simply, we develop online strategies to help our clients drive a commercial return for their business. This may be through the development of a new website, the introduction of an application, a multi-channel marketing campaign using search, social media, and email, or a combination of the above. More and more, we’re also working with emerging technology and using things like augmented reality or machine learning to deliver value for our clients.

2. Why did you start Devotion?

The business was founded as a traditional marketing agency that understood technology. We soon found ourselves delivering predominantly digitally-centric solutions for our clients, and that our tech focus was our differentiator in the market.

3. What does an average day look like for you?

Our day starts with a team standup, in person or via video conference, where we run through the day ahead. We prioritise what people have on, where any roadblocks or barriers may exist, and what our deliverables are. It’s a good way to get everyone in the business onto the same page.

Following standup, it’s usually a second coffee for me, and then onto the day ahead. This will usually be a combination of meetings, running workshops, reviewing deliverables, and anything else that may crop up in a typical day.

At the moment, we’re only back in the office two days per week, following the mandatory work-from-home last year. We’ve always been a flexible workplace that allows people to work remotely when necessary, so the current situation works well. Our two days in the office are productive, with a lot of time spent conversing and embracing actual team-based activities, and the three days remote are productive workdays – a chance to focus and deliver.

4. What are some of your key milestones and successes?

We’ve had a great business for many years, and delivered thousands of successful projects for clients, but the thing I’m most proud of is the team. We have an extraordinarily long tenure of staff and have genuinely built a business of people that care. I’m also proud that we’re still here, and through some incredibly challenging economic environments, we’ve been able to survive.

5. Who inspires you?

I don’t think I could narrow it down to a single person. I like to read a lot and stay current through local and international publications. There’s so much available with just a couple of key strokes. If I had to name one person that’s continually popped up in my ‘thinking’ over many years, it’d be Seth Godin. He was a pioneer and is still as relevant today as he was 15 years ago.

6. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

Stalin’s Wine Cellar’ by John Baker and Nick Place. It’s a fantastic read that sees a couple of wine fanatics go on the adventure of a lifetime to buy Stalin’s secret multimillion-dollar wine cellar located in Georgia.

7. What are your plans for the future?

Growth. We’re coming off the back of a global slowdown which is still impacting many economies, however, we have a unique opportunity to grow with digital being the marketing lynchpin for most organisations.

8. Finally, what words of advice do you have for budding business owners?

It’s a cliche, but work hard. Surround yourself with great people and tackle your business challenges together.

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