FIVE MINUTES WITH… JAMES HAMLIN, MARKETING CONSULTANT AND ADVISOR TO START-UPS
Welcome back to Five Minutes With…, Cherish PR’s series of interviews with the fascinating people we work with. It’s great being in the world of innovation. We get to meet and work alongside global leaders, enterprising founders of start-ups and scale-ups and the most inspiring future thinkers. In Five Minutes With… they share their thoughts and experiences to inspire our Cherish PR community. This month, we hear from James Hamlin, experienced CMO, Marketing Consultant and Advisor to Start-ups and Scale-ups. We’ve crossed paths countless times over the decades with James working across digital clients like Match.com and Tutorful. Now, he’s taking the tech landscape by storm with US agency Add3, supporting early stage, fast growth companies as they head into the US market.
James speaks to our very own Rebecca Oatley, founder of award winning international public relations agency, Cherish PR. She finds out what it takes to grow UK and international brands.
Rebecca Oatley: You’re an experienced marketer, talk to us about your career to date?
James Hamlin: It’s been quite a ride. It started in the early 2000s but at times it feels like yesterday! I really had no idea what job I’d do after university, but I managed to get a seat on a rocket ship called Udate.com. We were one of the first and largest UK Tech successes of the noughties and it was a wonderful opportunity to learn and experience so much, so early.
We exited the business to IAC (who owned Match.com) for a significant fee back in 2003.
It was also here where I met three of the Principles of Add3 – Brian Rauschenbach, Paul Uhlir and Jason Llorin. It feels like serendipity to be working with them again, it often feels like time has still.
Post-acquisition, I joined Match.com and became part of a true global dating juggernaut. We spread the Match brand and message globally, bringing it to millions of homes through major investments in TV in above-the-line marketing.
Working in a “dual-sided industry” such as dating, gave me excellent grounding into transitioning into Marketplaces where I spent several of the following years in Marketing, Growth and GM roles at Seatwave (top 3 funded Tech EU start-ups of the 2010’s sold to Live Nation in 2014), TaskRabbit (as GM, launching with IKEA in London leading to eventual acquisition), TrustedHousesitters (Pet tech + Travel), and recently Tutorful (Ed Tech).
I’ve also spent a healthy bit of time at Big Companies (Wonderbill as part of Shell energy) as well as freelance and contracting roles alongside mentorship and advisory across a variety of start-ups and working with a multitude of inspirational founders.
It’s been a wonderful ride that’s challenged me immensely, but I wouldn’t change it. I’ve continued to be inquisitive, solution focussed and excited about this industry and what marketing and growth and most importantly impactful teams can do to help turbocharge it.
Rebecca: You’ve traditionally been a CMO on the client side, now you’re also on the agency side, how did this come about? And what are the major differences and challenges?
James Hamlin: To me, Add3 is much more of a “marketing team” than a Marketing Agency so the transition has been very simple.
I believe the need for solid, reputable agencies has never been more applicable, [It’s why I have always loved working with Cherish PR]. The skills shortage in the market is still a major issue for brands as is the continued aggressive hiring market.
Add3 has always struck me as an “anti-agency” in so many ways and as “the CMO” I can really relate to that and see the solution through the eyes of the customer.
As a CMO over the years, I’ve always found it incredibly challenging to scale in time zones and markets I wasn’t in, hence why we feel the Add3 solution is so suited to the needs of the market today.
It’s now become far simpler to scale in the US market due to the removal of tech barriers and we feel we can provide the right level of support and implementation when it comes to Media management and performance marketing.
Rebecca: 2022 was quite a year! What do you see as the big challenges and opportunities for marketers in 2023?
James Hamlin: I’ll go against the grain with a lot of 2023 predictions and remind everyone to “expect the unexpected” and to continue to do that for the next few years.
In the last few years, global activities have led to unprecedented levels of market and macro unpredictability – I see this continuing.
This will continue to make long-term marketing plans and challenges very hard but the unpredictability will lead to opportunities and paths to customer ownership.
Whilst consumers will tighten their belts more and more and consistently look for value, trust and dependability, we’ll see more focussed spending and opportunities for brands to communicate what their value proposition really is and how their products and services are invaluable to consumers.
The use of effective media will be vital to this, opportunities will open up and will be seized by those poised to execute and capitalise.
Rebecca: And what are your ambitions for 2023?
James Hamlin: The continued growth of Add3 in the UK in 2023 will be particularly rewarding because it will align around more and more companies from the UK being able to scale in the world’s largest media market.
We believe we can make it much more achievable than is currently considered and with innovative practices and lots of hard work we can make this happen! We’ll take a brick-by-brick approach to this and have lots of positive conversations along the way.
From a personal perspective, I’d like to continue to mentor founders and start-ups along this journey and also stay even more connected within communities, they really make a difference!
Q: How do you start your day?
Children! They are up before I am and it’s taking the opportunity to spend time with them, getting them fed, watered and dressed that starts my day in the best possible way.
Q: Favourite podcast?
On the tech side – I’d definitely say the All in Podcast. Love the four perspectives and the gentle (at times) back and forth from these vastly experienced investors and operators.
Q: Favourite saying or joke?
“The only limit is the one you set yourself” which I believe is attributed to Felix Baumgarnter (I had to Google that). I’ve seen this so many times throughout my life, things that I never thought were possible became possible! Something always worth remembering especially when we face tough times.
Q: I don’t leave home without…?
My wireless, Bluetooth earbuds! They have become an essential part of life, especially in the remote world. The technology is beyond me, how they just “work” and have such a long battery life.
Does your tech business need international public relations support? Cherish PR is an award-winning UK PR firm, part of an international network of agencies and a Wilful Group company. We are here to make change happen for scale-ups and fast growth companies in health and wellness, FMGC and more. Contact our team at email@example.com.