I think it’s fair to say that if there is opportunity for beer at a conference, you’ll find James Whatley there. Not that he’s all about the party, but he is all about meeting people, talking to them about what they love and getting into debates over mobile technology. All of this makes him perfect for his position at 1000heads, the word of mouth marketing agency.


Sarah: What do you do for a j-o-b?

James: I am Marketing Director at the world’s largest, full-service word of mouth marketing agency, 1000heads.

Sarah: How much of your building groups and communities efforts do you
credit for getting you more work?

James: Both personally and professionally? Almost 100%! I’ve been working in the industry now for five years and everything that I’ve achieved would not have been possible without the network that I’ve built around me. 

From a 1000heads perspective, we help manage some of the largest brand-led communities in the world. The positive word of mouth we engender from not only the community members but also from our clients continual appraisal and support massively supports our ongoing new business efforts. 

Sarah: What is the best part of what you do?

James: I get to make people happy. Last year in particular we had some amazing successes with campaigns such as Aussie Angels, Nokia Nav and Tron: Legacy all gifting huge smiles across vastly different community groups & members (while also, conveniently enough smashing our targets from our clients).

Sarah: How do you stay on top of trends and keep coming up with new ideas?

James: That’s two questions! 😉 Staying on top of things, obviously Twitter is of huge benefit however – my most powerful tool for keep track of the latest and greatest pieces of creative is actually Google Reader. I subscribe to around 5-600 blogs and image feeds, I also follow around 150-200 other Google Reader users who share some of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I can’t recommend it enough. In regards to creativity; it can come fromanywhere. But where it will definitely not come from is my desk; getting up on my feet and outside of the office is a start. Some of my best ideas have come on the Tube (london’s underground train system). That’s actually where I do most of my blogging too.

Sarah: How do you manage your time during the week?

James: I live and die by my calendar. If it’s not in there, then I don’t do it. Even to the point of sending myself a meeting request for ‘Do emails’ for an hour each day; it helps. Admittedly it’s not 100% fail proof as often – in this line of work – you have to drop things in emergencies and deal with what’s important. It’s not easy and to be honest, I doubt I’ve cracked it yet – however, if booking myself out for 3hrs at 7pm for ‘go home and do nothing’ keeps me sane, then I’ll keep doing it :)

Sarah: Is there any part of your job that people would be surprised to
learn really isn’t fun?

James: Traveling. It can be the *most* fun, of course it can. However, too much and you start to feel spun out and tired – Llke not enough butter spread over too much bread. Missing loved ones and yearning for your own bed after three days/weeks/months on the road? That’s not fun. 

Sarah: If you were just starting out in the world of marketing now,
what would you do? Education or real world experience?

James: Both. Even if you’re not starting out now, still try for both. Knowing what you don’t know can sometimes be the most useful tool in your day to day working life. Be aware of weaknesses and, where necessary, fix them. 

I’m fairly sure that I will never know *everything* there is to know about Marketing, so I work hard, learn from others and, whenever possible, take formal training too. When an acquaintance remarked that he did not know why I was taking a scholarship [“Why do you need that?”] – I knew for sure that I had to do it. My response – “If ever I get to the point when I feel like there’s nothing left to learn, shoot me dead – for I will be done.”

If you’d like to follow Whatley on his marketing adventures, you can check him out on Twitter, on his blog, or over at the 1000 Heads blog.