Just like Janet 
and Luther; 
the best things
in life are free.

By Thomas Bridge 05 May, 2017
There's nothing like planning ahead so we're having a small celebration of our first year in business on the first Friday in September.

It's not actually a year until the end of September but it might be too cold by then!

On the day, everyone is welcome to our countryside office just outside Oxford from 3pm. We plan on trying to do something recruitment focused between 4 and 5, where we can help facilitate the sharing of best practice.

Once we recuscitate everyone at 5, we'll get some music on, have food, put a film on the projector, and generally just enjoy one of the last days of summer (God assures us he'll make it a hot day). Tom B might even get the decks out and DJ so bring your earplugs...

As well as yourself, please feel free to invite everyone at your company who you think would like to come. 

If you'd like to attend, please email so we can send and add you to a diary invite. 

All the team at MMA

By Thomas Bridge 24 Apr, 2017

As part of Teresa May’s snap general election, each party has come out with their own unique selling points; hard brexit for the Tories, no brexit for the Lib Dems, no Trident for Labour (or at least for Jeremy Corbyn) and a three day weekend, every weekend, for the Greens - perhaps playing a game of top trumps against Labour’s four extra bank holidays.

Obviously, the first question everyone has in their mind when they hear this is; what does it mean for recruitment?

The possibilities are endless, but one potential outcome could mean that employees actually require higher salaries to afford the 50% increase in weekend time, whilst at the same time companies have less money due to a 20% reduction in output. One thing that wouldn’t happen in this scenario is extra money for finding new employees, and nor would the same rates of payment to recruitment companies be justifiable for a less productive workforce.

As well as salaries, holidays and maternity pay might similarly be affected, with companies which currently offer generous packages over the minimum legal threshold pulling back on excessive obligations in order to plug the gap in productivity. This in turn might actually make people want to leave, thereby setting off a chain of recruitment requirements. But it’s unlikely there would be many places left offering 30+ days / 12 months full pay in our post-apocalyptic, zombie-strewn world of a three day weekend.

In order to maintain productivity (against other countries who didn’t get seduced by the same siren on the rocks), companies might require employees to work late, as presumably our weekly limit on hours would still be the same. Most people already work late anyway, so do they now work even later? Similarly, many of us dip into our emails at the weekend, so now we have the added necessary inconvenience of having three days rather than two interrupted by having to check in with emails morning, noon and night.

And what about people who don’t work in offices - a bus driver or restaurant worker for example - how does it affect them?

No matter how much I love a three or even four day weekend, I think whichever way you look at it it would be a mess. Good job it’s not going to happen really.

What do you think?

By Thomas Bridge 06 Feb, 2017

When Softweb Resourcing decided upon a full brand refresh, they soon realised they required a new website, new logo, new branding, brand guidelines and entirely new copy written for their new online identity in keeping with their new proposition.

After speaking with another MMA client; Hensen Associates, Softweb approached Magdalen Marketing to write all wording for their new website.

After an initial hour-long call to discuss the brief, and analysis of the both the brand guidelines and mock ups of the new website, MMA created c500 words of initial text for the new homepage. Taking just an hour to complete, with another for amends, the first page of work demonstrated MMA’s copywriting ability for the recruitment sector and gave Softweb a low risk example of what working together would be like.

With Softweb happy that the the text matched their new identity, MMA was hired for the full project of writing text for every single page on the website, such as About, Clients and Candidates, as well as all text for links and boxes, and introductory text for more functional pages such as Jobs and Contact.

Despite being instructed in November 2016, the new website was not ready until February 2017, which gave both sides almost three months to diligently create text for each page - with not a word out of place, superfluous or under-utilised, and every line singing.

With Softweb placing purely software engineers and website developers with technology clients of all sizes across the UK, the key to success was walking the fine line between over technical vocabulary, warm language that appealed to prospective candidates and more formal language desired by potential clients.

The result? A beautifully written website, in keeping with the brand refresh and new site:

Says Adeel Nadeem, Managing Director of Software Resourcing:

“When we were looking for firms to deliver this crucial project, a recommendation from another non-competing recruitment company was obviously highly regarded, so it made sense to at least run the project by MMA. Our initial hour long call was free, as was the work on all the branding and website mockups. We then we were able to do small part of the project (the homepage) which mitigated risk - another reason we went with MMA. We were delighted with those initial results so then felt entirely comfortable commissioning the whole site.

“What stood out for me was that because MMA only work in recruitment, we didn’t have to explain at all how it worked. If anything, because MMA work with numerous clients in the sector, they were able to bring wider best practice to Softweb and educate us - and not just on copywriting. For example: how to structure the website, how to market jobs, the candidate registration customer journey and so on.

“The work was turned around quickly each time we started a new page, and was of the highest quality. MMA totally nailed the brief and were always on hand to discuss both copywriting and wider recruitment marketing ideas for free - evening at night and across weekends. We really valued having that third party to run ideas by for the duration of the project, as we did their flexibility at the start and the way we shared documents online so we could log in at any time to see progress.

“We were so delighted in fact that we’re now using MMA to do our wider marketing across content creation, website management, social media, database management, direct email marketing of candidates / updates and monthly company email newsletters. Because they wrote the site, there’s no one better!”
By Thomas Bridge 21 Dec, 2016

Every December, there are two certainties:

1. Ridiculous prices for everyday items.

For example, £165 for a Tom Ford candle. I kid you not. I love   A Single Man , and I am forever hoping that momentary blurred vision is in fact failing eyesight so that I might be allowed to buy a pair of his glasses. I can't wait to see his latest film (the name escapes me) but I draw the line at paying £165 for the rich scents of leather and oud. What even is oud? And most importantly, who does Stylist magazine think their audience is to afford such a luxury. Last time I checked, copies of Stylist were left on underground tube seats and buses, not chauffeur driven Rollers.

2. You receive a Christmas card email from a recruitment company.

Make that ten recruitment companies. I've been behind some of these for the last few years (belated apologies) and have sometimes wondered what the point is. This has been reinforced by a handful of unsubscribes or abusive replies asking why we have the time to send a christmas card email but one of our consultants didn't get back to them about a job they enquired about some time during the year.

In truth, I think most people just delete them as soon as they see Happy Christmas in the subject line or the tip of the tree in the image. Some won't see the tree at all as they're using Outlook and the images won't download until they add the company to the safe sender list (which they won't).

So what's the point?

Well, there are some good cards. For example, an Oxford-based recruitment company called Millar Cameron which has a strong African presence sends a Christmas email that describes their charitable donations and raises awareness about the cause. Hemming Robeson sent a nice looking one this year too.

This sadly is the exception rather than the norm. Most are bad, containing gaudy looking - sometimes flashing - christmas trees that probably resemble however the CEO of the company has his or her tree at home. I used to work at a recruitment firm which sent frozen salmon to key clients on Christmas day, which I always thought was a bit fire and brimstone.

I for one would much rather read about an Amazon Echo being gifted to a blind person at Christmas than be thanked for my non-existent 'support' during the year. I support Wycombe Wanderers FC and Liverpool, no one else.

There's a good saying that if you're not cynical then you're not paying attention, and those that subscribe to this viewpoint might also think that the whole Christmas card campaign was simply a data cleansing exercise. You might think that too, but I couldn't possibly comment.

Please do share any interesting e-xmas cards (if that's even the right name) that you've received - perhaps we can start an annual awards?

By Thomas Bridge 28 Nov, 2016

Magdalen Marketing Agency (MMA) is delighted to announce it has been awarded supplier status by Onrec, the UK’s leading recruitment publication.

Producing regular events, awards, conferences and magazines, Onrec is the Online Recruitment resource for HR Directors, Personnel Managers, Job Boards and Recruiters with information on the internet recruitment industry.

Says Thomas Bridge, founder of Magdalen Marketing:

“I’m delighted MMA have been awarded supplier status by Onrec so soon into our journey. When we were setting up at the start of 2016 we highlighted Onrec as one of the top five recruitment publications to gain supplier status with.

“It’s a fantastic achievement that after just a few months in business we’ve worked with over a dozen recruitment companies already - with many more retained clients in the pipeline for 2017.

“Official supplier status from such an important publication caps off what has already been a wonderful year as we reach the end of November.”

You can see our profile on the Onrec website by clicking the following link:
By Thomas Bridge 28 Oct, 2016

Behind the bluster, the off-script speech segments and any number of incidents ending in the word   -phobic , the team behind Donald Trump place all their trust firmly in data.

This week, Channel 4 News ran a story about Cambridge Analytica, a UK company paid $5million in September alone by the Trump campaign to support their data programme. The target is clear - and almost unbelievable - to have a record for every single voter in the US and their political preference.

The data is gleaned from such things as supermarket shopping, credit cards, magazine subscriptions and even TV preferences. This information is then accessed by activists on the street, who use a map via an app to knock on the doors of people who need a little persuasion.

The psychological profiling it generates even allows potential Republican voters to see different versions of the same pro-gun Facebook advert, based on things such as their age, gender and marital status.

Despite all this, the Republicans are playing catch up. The 2008 and 2012 Democrat wins have been largely put down to data - although Twitter has taken more of a front seat publicly. According to the Democrats campaign manager for both elections, they employed 12 data analysts in 2008 and 165 in 2012 - which gives you an idea of the upscaling.

The best example of how data affected the 2012 campaign was a concert featuring Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z. With reports showing that the location where it was to be held was already in the bag, the campaign moved the entire concert the weekend before polling day to a different area in Ohio where they were struggling.

You might find all this profiling worrying, and of course, it is. But if you use a database on a regular basis you’re probably doing it already with your potential “voters”. Perhaps it’s knowing what sports they like for client entertaining, or the name of their spouse and children. After every call you add notes to their record - and every email syncs automatically from outlook and your phone up to whatever database your company uses. Would the person in question be happy with absolutely everything that was on there?

One thing is true, if you’re not using data as much as you could do, chances are that a competing company is. This will allow them to send far more targeted communications to your existing clients, who in turn will - over time - feel like they know them better. Worth thinking about perhaps.

You can watch the segment by clicking the following link (it’s the 9th video):

By Thomas Bridge 25 Oct, 2016

In September 2016 MMA spent a week with 10to8, a private equity backed, web-based technology startup providing appointment scheduling software to SMEs such as dentists, masseurs and other meeting-based businesses.

10to8 was using as many as 20 marketing channels to attract new users, with cost per signup fluctuating largely and the most economical methods registering the lowest volume. MMA was hired by 10to8 to devise, plan and roll out out a fully-functioning email marketing function to acquire new users at low cost - thanks to our track record of successful email rollout and implementation.

10to8 had traditionally used high-volume email marketing since its founding by Tom Playford in 2012. However in recent years the team had moved away from this activity due to what was perceived as high cost and low uptake.

The remit was simple; prove that email marketing worked and was cost effective. What MMA actually discovered during the week went far beyond email marketing and changed the company’s entire marketing strategy.

Before MMA, 10to8 marketing had been centred around one theme; to reduce missed appointments by sending text and email reminders. Closer inspection by MMA found that the product also offered other benefits such as a free website and online payments - things that were heavily advertised on their own by other companies such as SagePay and could cost well into the thousands. Yet these features weren’t figuring prominently in 10to8’s existing marketing.

At the same time, MMA conducted market research with both existing and potential users in the target market. What our research showed was that reducing missed appointments was indeed a factor in running their business - but not the be all and end all; this was getting the business up to full capacity. Helping them achieve this aim were other benefits offered by 10to8 - such as the online payments and the free website.

Over the course of the week MMA conducted over 15 email campaigns with varying themes, subjects and layouts - all of which told 10to8 what day and time to send their email marketing from then on. By listing all the benefits in a set of bullet points and providing links to specific website pages for each, MMA was able to demonstrate which benefits were most important to potential users and to get these higher up the list on all their marketing collateral.

As well as the free website and online payments, another surprising find was the popularity of the link to the YouTube video explaining how the product worked. After several years of working with it, it was felt that perhaps the 10to8 team had got too used to the product and overlooked the fact that it was at heart quite a complicated system to get one’s head around. This piece of data highlighted that they needed to take greater care  in explaining how it worked, and also to make more videos!

At the start of the week, 10to8 had challenged MMA to prove that email marketing worked. In the wrap up meeting at the end of the week, 10to8 director Stephane informed the rest of the company that MMA was right. To top it all, the landing page of the 10to8 website was totally redesigned based on the results of the email marketing campaign.

It’s for this reason that Matthew Cleevely, 10to8 Chief Executive, had this to say of MMA:

“We were glad to get MMA on board to help run our email marketing campaigns. MMA know how to get results, thanks to a systematic data-driven approach. They bring a refreshing and empathic perspective to marketing research. We've learned a great deal from MMA and we're looking forward to our next gig with them.”

If you have a problem. If no one else can help. And if you can find them. Maybe you can hire. The MMA-Team.

Or you can just call us obviously. 
By Thomas Bridge 19 Oct, 2016

In times gone by, the way in which firms conveyed the fact that they were a thought leader to potential clients was to pay a PR agency several thousand pounds every month. In turn, the agency would liaise with journalists (the good ones proactively, the bad ones reactively) to get the firm’s name in a broadsheet article. Little attention was paid to what the article actually was, and whether the firm’s association with it was of benefit.

Some firms still operate this way, with ever-decreasing results.

The reason is that people don’t buy newspapers any more. And why would they, they are either given away for free or can be accessed for free from a desktop, smartphone or tablet. Viewed digitally, the reader has far more control - there are more articles to choose from, more sections to access, and less time for each - and the BBC website is a significant competitor.

It’s because of these reasons that the Mail Online is sadly the world’s number 1 english speaking website, we kid you not. It’s also these reasons that mean traditional PR is a fast dying breed, and content marketing is the way forward.

Think of it this way, you get two emails from accounting firms, one offering you a £100 discount on a £1000 product and one containing an article detailing the government’s latest changes to tax law and what you need to do to stay compliant. Who would you recommend?

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the creation, publication and distribution of relevant information for a targeted audience. So it’s goodbye spray and pray, hello sniper writer.

Why should I create it?

There’s nothing worse than being boring, and saying nothing is being boring. It might be that your company’s Linkedin page is quiet, or that you don’t have a regular newsletter to your clients (let’s not kid ourselves that hoards of people visit your website of their own free will). At best they’ll have forgotten about you, at worst they’ll have noticed that you don’t seem to care about your  industry very much and taken their business to a firm that does.

How do I create it?

If you’re passionate about your job, the chances are you’re creating it already. If you feel strongly about something, you’ll already have formulated an argument that you’ll have repeated to colleagues and clients. All you need to do is to get this down ‘on paper’, and go from there. An easy way to spread the work is to make everyone in your company an unofficial member of the marketing department, and get them to write a monthly blog on their field of expertise. Even this small change could give you several new articles per week. Under 500 words seems a little flimsy, anything over 1000 could be too much.

Ah - but I still want to get in the papers!

Bad PR agencies use automated email software to get leads - they’re simply sent messages from journalists asking for comment and they then forward them to you to fill in the blanks. If you’re happy with this reactive approach, cut out the middleman and do it yourself. The cost of email system is a fraction of what you pay the agency.

The better approach is to be proactive; create the news agenda rather than just commenting on someone else’s. This means either running a survey in your community (via your website, social media or by email for example) or conducting research on a topic you know to be particularly relevant.

A great example of this is Green Park’s diversity analytics, which gets wide broadsheet coverage every year and makes it to the holy land of BBC news television.

If you don’t have the resource to undertake research, a good short cut is to comprehensively tag your updates on Twitter - it’s what most journalists use now for real-time news articles.

How do I distribute it?

The beauty is, you probably already have the channels you need. Once it’s written, publish it to your site and if it’s set up correctly this should populate all your social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin (company page) and Google+. You should also ensure that it goes into your Linkedin group if you have one (you should - and there are ways of doing this automatically too). You can then get your employees, network and even friends to like / share the update so that more people can see what you’ve created.

Another good way to spread your message is to create a Linkedin post, which will automatically create an alert on each of your connection’s homepage.

As with anything, the proof is in the pudding; if what you write is relevant, people will warm to it. If it’s bland or half-hearted, they won’t. If you have a good idea but aren’t sure how to formulate it, MMA can help with one of our many writing services.

Can I get it to rank on Google and Bing?

Yes! Content marketing is a great way to skip the queue and get to the top of Google and Bing (click here to read why Bing is important) - although it won’t stay there forever unlike a static page. The trick is comments - get as many as you can from as many different people as possible, encouraging them to write as much as possible. Think of it like letting the ball do the work in football - let your 500 word blog do the work by eliciting 20 further comments, each with 500 words. Suddenly your content is 10,500 words long with 21 authors and lots of traffic; Google loves that. Just make sure the comments are on your site and not Linkedin - there are various ways of doing this.

What about Whitepapers?

Whitepapers are the holy grail of content marketing and should generally be created on an annual basis. They cost a lot so shouldn’t be taken lightly or done half-heartedly - but if you get it right it will give your company something to be famous for, which is what marketing ultimately is.


Content marketing is an essential part of your marketing strategy, and best of all; it's free! If you're not doing it then you really should be. if you need a hand getting you on your way, call MMA for a no obligation conversation about the best methods. If you already do it, please do feel free to leave your thoughts via the comment box below.

By Thomas Bridge 18 Oct, 2016

In another MMA guide, we talk about the need to send a regular newsletter. One of the reasons for doing so is that it cleans the database. In order to enjoy the full effects of this regular cleanse, it’s important your database is structured correctly with the correct codes, mandatory fields, levels, sectors, functions, tags and so on.

*** For the purpose of this guide, any record being added to the database is called a contact ***

Email Address

In order to gain an understanding of how clean your database is, you should find out how many people you have stored on it. Then, pull a search which tells you how many of these have email addresses. There’s not much point in storing someone on your database without an email, so if this percentage is low make it a mandatory field before it gets out of hand.

There will be times when storing an email isn’t required, such as a prospect list for example, but this is more likely to be the exception rather than the norm, and you can input your own email address for them to allow you to monitor how many there are and who they are assigned to.

Of course, those with an email might not necessarily be correct. Some might be duplicates, some might have inaccuracies in them (a misspelt surname for example) and some might be out of date (they’ve changed jobs). But fear not, when you upload your full list for each newsletter a good platform will tell you which ones haven’t made the grade. This should be your first action; separating this list and updating the database with the correct information so that they’re in the mix for next time. Just one of these could be a potential client worth thousands of pounds, so it’s well worth spending an hour or two correcting the information or employing someone else to.

Function, Level & Industry

Of those with email addresses, you should then be able to cut by either function, level or industry (unless you are industry-specific) - which means that you can target direct emails to say HR Directors in Healthcare, COOs in Financial Services or Chief Executives in charities. It’s important to note that without mandatory function and level codes, you’re leaving yourself at the mercy of tags and job titles - which everyone will input different dependent on how that person describes themselves on their website / email footer / Linkedin.

For example, a leader of a company might be input as anything from a CEO and Chief Executive Officer to Chief Exec, Chief Executive Officer and even MD and Managing Director. Better to have one level (C-Suite) and function (Board & Leadership) that captures it all rather than having to remember the seven different iterations each time you want to contact your CEO list.


Holistically, all industries fall into three sectors: Public, Private and Not for Profit. Within the public and NFP sectors the choices therein are fairly obvious, but the in the private sector there are seemingly endless industries to choose from, and endless sub-sections after that. Traditionally, The Financial Times has offered a good comprehensive list to keep as your generic headings (somewhere between 10 and 20 is about right), beneath which you can add as much variations as you like.


Similarly with functions, about 10 to 20 is the right number, across areas like sales, marketing, finance, IT, HR and so on. Ensure you have a Board & Leadership function and have a system in place for how you ensure dual positions such as a CTO go into both this and IT.


Another reason for cleaning your database is that employees handle so much on their linkedin account, personal mobile and work email that if your database isn’t working properly data, the data you’ve paid them to collect will walk out of the door with them. For a start, your company’s emails should be synced to your database - to both the employee record and the record of whoever it is they’re contacting. If you really want to push the envelope, you can use internet-based telephone systems to sync phone information as well as email.

Responsible User and Team

Every contact you add should be assigned to both a responsible user and - if your company is big enough - a team. Assigning to multiple users is not a good idea as it leads to arguments of ownership, and people can add themselves as an owner without being notified. Ideally, you want just one user (generally the person creating the record) and one team (the team that they are in) with only a system administrator being able to change this.

Doing this allows for easy segmentation for things like newsletters and event invites, so that the sender is the owner, coming from their address and with a tailored, relevant introduction  - increasing personalisation and ultimately the chances of success. It also allows you to track where bad data is coming from - and if someone unfortunately decides to move on - you can transfer ownership to their replacement rather than them being lost and forgotten as is so often the case. When their replacement starts, there’s then a ready made BD activity waiting for them on day 1; an email to the list introducing themselves.

Bespoke Fields

For every company there will be specific requirements which you have that few others do. For example, if you entertain your clients regularly, you’ll want a field containing their sporting or music preferences so you know what tickets to buy. But a good generic example is a Linkedin profile field. That way, if their email ever bounces or you want to see if your data is current, you can simply click it and it will take you to their profile. Beware of databases that automatically updates their information with changes - this is now illegal.

Mandatory Fields
As you might have guessed, mandatory fields are the most important aspect of database management. When people input data they are generally in a rush and will pay little attention to detail. Mandatory fields protect your organisation against years of abuse. Get them right and you’ll have every customer you’re ever going to have at your fingertips.
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