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Our first full time hire: Head of Paid Social
Amphora is hiring its first full time role
As a regular reader, I wanted to share our first full time job spec with you for our head of paid social. Perhaps you know someone who might want to join our ambitious agency? If so would love for you to forward this on.
I also wanted to take the chance to restate what we’re trying to build, in expansion of the plan I wrote in December1.
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Building a startup is different now
In 2023, it’s very clear we’re in a different era of startup growth to where we were throughout most of the last decade.
The 2010s, were an era of last-click attribution, mass data, low interest rates, and affordable ad platforms. This was combined with the ever-lowering cost of launching a business. The result? Anyone with £500 and a computer could launch a business if they wanted to.
This has as Orlando Wood would describe been an era of left brain dominance2.
Last-click led many people down a path of direct response marketing. Every penny spent was a penny that generated a sale. Low interest rates meant capital was cheap, and so being profitable on first or even second or even third purchase wasn’t necessary. Mass data and affordable ad platforms meant that you could acquire customers in good volume.
There was a digital ads goldrush. And this came off the back of the 2000s: an era when banner ads still worked. PPC had little competition. And you could, pre-2008, hack your SEO pretty easily.
But today, we’re in a new era.
Capital is more expensive.
Privacy is the new default.
And the early mover advantage of the digital platforms has been used up.
What that doesn’t mean though, is an acceptance of slower growth. Too often the word growth is used by people as a byword for ‘growth at all costs.’ That very specific phenomenon that happened in the 2010s.
A startup differs from a small business in that it is built around the ability to grow big and fast. If you’re in a VC-backed world today, lots of things have changed, but one hasn’t: if you can’t grow, you’re dead.
How you grow therefore is a bigger conversation. As we enter the next generation of startup growth, it is going to become just as important to focus on as your product.
Navigating that new landscape is going to be tough. You can’t just throw money at an ads platform now and expect it to work. That growth requires a different strategy mindset, an ever changing set of tools to adapt to those challenges, and new (or perhaps older) ways to measure.
What I want Amphora to be
Lots of the businesses we work with are starting to realise there aren’t ‘paid social challenges’ or ‘ppc challenges’ or ‘conversion challenges’, there are growth challenges.
Growth has been quite neat up until now.
For all the talk of cross-functional, multi-disciplinary teams, in the 16 years since the first ever Growth team was built at Facebook, it’s still rarely implemented. For the most part, it has evolved marketing teams, but not redefined organisational structures.
And in terms of the digital agencies out there, they followed suit. You had specialist agencies everywhere. There was the agreed list of ppc, seo, paid social, display, conversion agencies.
But specialist agencies always felt problematic to me. As Charlie Munger says, “Show me the incentive, I'll show you the outcome.” If I speak to someone at the world’s best SEO agency, they can’t help but offer SEO solutions.
And so we’re not building a paid social agency, we’re building a growth agency.
Our future is one where we will be able to solve and fix whatever the growth problem is you have.
There’s more to learn from the traditional creative agencies than there is the specialist digital agencies of the past decade. In those agencies, the Idea came first, and the execution came second. For us, the growth challenge comes first, and creative growth execution comes second.
That means a future for Amphora that is multi-disciplinary. That has specialisms across all fields of behavioural economics, marketing, and product.
But as any entrepreneur knows, focus is also important. And that’s why we’ve chosen to focus on what we see as the current biggest problem first: paid social.
Our first full time hire: Head of Paid Social
And so, we have our first full time hire. We are already a team of four exceptionally talented people. But this is the first full time hire.
All of our eight clients to date are paid social-first. For most consumer businesses, paid social will be your best bet of growing fast3. That's why we've started here and it's where we still see the best opportunity.
It’s also one of the best eras of opportunity in the channels yet. It requires strategy. It requires creative. It’s no longer a job of being a media buyer, but one with understanding of user behaviour, conversion rate optimisation, and creative. The job of managing TikTok Ads is different from Meta, different from Pinterest, and Snap.
Today, this role will be both strategic, and hands-on: identifying the best ways to grow our clients. But it is also one that needs to design the future. What does paid social look like over the next five years? How does AI impact our work? How do we pre-empt the next iOS14? How do we not respond but lead the challenges of paid social going forward?
If you know someone who would be great at this job, then please forward this email on to them. We’d love to chat and hear about how you think you can help shape the creative growth agency of the future.
Lemon. How the advertising brain turned sour. Orlando Wood.