Case study: Sood Marketing
Sood Marketing is an agency focused on making a difference: to their clients, the young people of St Helens and their community. We caught up with founder Paalan Sood to hear about how Gather has helped him become a better leader and shape the future of the business.
Who are Sood Marketing?
We’re a full 360° marketing agency, based in St Helens. Our client base is really broad, we work with everyone from your local chemist to granite companies and industrial machinery suppliers. And we support them with everything from digital marketing and social media management to graphic design and web development.
What’s the digital, creative and tech scene like in St Helens?
There’s definitely lots of talent in St Helens. Key to our growth has been tapping into this through traineeships and apprenticeships. Working with partners like the Chamber of Commerce we’ve given a number of local young people traineeships that have helped them to get experience in different areas of the business and explore where they want their career to go. When people are the right fit for the business and develop and grow with you, they learn from the ground up and create deeper relationships with the team and with clients.
I think traineeships, apprenticeships, and kickstarts are invaluable for companies looking to grow. The Kickstart Scheme has worked out really well for us too, it’s helped us to increase our capabilities and services and we’ve permanently employed two kickstart recruits to the team. Giving opportunities to young people with potential in the local area is really important to us and schemes like this really help.
What challenges are you facing at the moment?
We're a marketing company – but we're not the best at marketing ourselves! People know we're a bit different when they start to work with us, that we'll look after them and go the extra mile, but the Gather programmes have helped me to focus on this and start to communicate it better to new prospects.
When you’re a smaller agency it’s can be a challenge to get your voice heard over more established businesses. To show the value we offer and the work we’re doing.
You’re taking part in the Beyond programme, what attracted you to it?
The Gather programmes have been really beneficial for me and the business. Beyond is another opportunity for me to develop and grow in terms of my own leadership and management skills.
I feel like there's lots for me to still learn about being an entrepreneur and a leader. I was young when I started the business and I guess I’ve learnt a lot by ‘doing’, this is an opportunity to get advice from those who have really been there and done it.
In terms of me and the business, we’re at a critical moment, we do great work, provide real value for clients and have long-lasting relationships with them, but I want to drive the business forward and I’m hoping the executive coaching as part of Beyond is going to really help me with that.
What other Gather programmes have you been on?
I’ve completed Shift, which was fantastic for me – every session I learned something new, and the advice was invaluable. It really challenged my views and assumption about business and leadership, and it gave me a safe space to talk about different perspectives and ideas with others on the programme.
The way we approach new business and attract clients has really been influenced by some of the Shift sessions and it’s helped me shape the direction we’re taking the business in and our company culture. I still refer to the booklet we were given on day one!
I’ve built a great network of fellow leaders too – people who have become mentors, friends and sounding boards. It’s an open community and people are happy to share their experiences and perspective.
What does the future hold for Sood?
We’ve grown quickly over the past year and we’re looking to build on that. We’re looking forward to helping more clients make the most of digital marketing and streamline their services and we want to continue to develop our company culture. It can be hard to keep talent in St Helens when there’s the draw of city life in Liverpool and Manchester, but our culture is a big part of that.
And we want to continue to play a role in the community in St Helens, I think there is a real opportunity for St Helens and Liverpool city businesses to connect more through events and communities like Gather.
Check out Sood Marketing's website and their offerings at https://soodmarketing.com/