Many CEOs in pandemic conditions would love to have sufficient business to double their head count in the last year, which Embryo have achieved. Ross explains how it was done and how they have become the go-to digital marketing agency when responsive and agile campaigns are required, in a fast-paced and everchanging digital world

Embryo has come a long way since 2014 - what prompted you to start the business in the first place?

After working as a business development manager for another digital marketing agency, I decided to use the skills and knowledge I had learnt to launch Embryo in 2015.
Initially it was a big risk to launch the company as I had no investment, but I knew it was something I had to try. Initially, Embryo was a digital consultancy business, but I soon realised that the business had lots of room to develop. I focused on growing the company's client base, and then brought in Embryo's first team member, Charlotte Fallon, who is still helping to lead Embryo today.

What were the early years like for Embryo?

My ambition has always been to grow the agency and compete with well-established businesses. To do this I made another risky decision and moved the business into a 20-person office in Stretford (just outside of Manchester city centre), despite the team only being made up of six employees. This risk quickly paid off though as the team continued to grow, and eventually we moved into a new and bigger office on Portland Street in early 2020.

Something I was also a firm believer in, despite it being perceived as a risk by others, was that I decided I wanted to create a management team out of current employees, rather than bring in outside leadership. I feel like this has been a great way to build a lasting culture in Embryo and show the team there are opportunities for them to progress.

Embryo's stated values are Together, Curious, Innovative and Focused. What is it that you feel makes the business a true reflection of those values?

I'm really proud of the team at Embryo, we've got really talented professionals across all specialisms of digital marketing and their attitude, dedication and collaboration is what really makes the business. As a whole we're always working on new ideas and tools that we can use to not only benefit ourselves and our customers but also digital industries. One such tool is our Embryo Index which uses a series of metrics and carefully crafted calculations to enable us to score businesses within their industry based on their digital performance. So far we have indices in Travel, Retail and Fashion and the regularly updated data is really insightful into who the key performers are and what can be learnt from those leaders.

What client success stories or big wins has Embryo had over the last year?

Over the years Embryo has and continues to work with amazing brands across all different industries and sectors. We pride ourselves on going above and beyond for all campaigns and clients, ensuring we deliver great results. Recent client wins include North West property company Salboy, AllDayPA, and Piece Hall Halifax.

Over the last 12 months we've also achieved great results for our clients, including  pet-care brand Burgess where  we increased their keyword reach by 93.6% and their monthly revenue by 346.9%.

How has the staff headcount changed over the last 12-24 months and what are the reasons for this?

In the last 12 months, the Embryo team has more than doubled in size, taking our headcount to 34. This is largely down to the demand for the business to grow and develop, meaning we needed to grow our team and expand on the services we provide. As part of our growth we recruited the very best talent around the North West for every single department within the business. All of them since joining Embryo have played a fundamental role in taking the business to the next level. Such hires include expanding our sales and marketing team and creating our in-house digital PR team.

Having overcome a difficult year in 2020 and showing no signs of slowing down, what plans do you have for Embryo in 2021 and beyond?

As a business, Embryo is fortunate to say that 2020 wasn't too difficult, yes we had to adapt to new ways of working. However, our team quickly adjusted and used their ideas and initiatives to implement processes, software and tools to help with any challenges that came our way.

As mentioned, we've seen a massive increase to our team and moving further into 2021 our objectives are to continue this growth. In the next couple of months we'll have taken our headcount to 38, whilst still recruiting in other areas. We're also looking forward to getting the team all back together in our head office in Manchester. We're also working on some really interesting projects and campaigns that we can't wait to share the results from.

For more information on digital marketing visit Embryo