FanFinders Team Spotlight – Meet Neil

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Name: Neil Stephenson

Position: CMO and Co-Founder

Years with the company:  7 years

Before FanFinders, the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had…

When I was 18, I worked in a casino as a croupier. It was in Dundee, so marginally less glamorous than it sounds.

Does company ‘culture’ matter…

To be honest, I think people have gone way too far with it and are trying to be too cool. What’s important for company culture isn’t free slushies on a Tuesday afternoon, it’s having smart people who are dedicated to their jobs and enjoy working there.

And work/life balance…

That is important – work shouldn’t take over your life. In terms of how I personally work, I have some days where campaigns just have to be done, so I might have to drop everything or be on my computer until 1am. Then when there’s less to do, you can take an afternoon off. That’s the balance I enjoy.

Should “when stuff has to be done, do it” be the marketing motto…

For me, it’s more like ‘if your paid ad campaigns go to sh*t, fix them’.

One piece of your marketing knowledge to turn into a book…

Something that is genuinely in my head to write is how to build a customer base on a shoestring – basically how to not waste a penny of your marketing budget. Because so many SME businesses, even some tech-savvy companies filled with really smart people, are doing all the wrong things.

A sneak peek of this potential book…

People aren’t tracking properly. They’re also not killing things that aren’t working quick enough to put their budget behind the stuff that actually works.

What’s exciting in marketing right now…

I guess everyone in marketing is always on the lookout for the next big ad network where they can get clicks and conversions. TikTok is the next big one in terms of reach, but whether the audience is appropriate for that many topic areas is another question; as is how into clicking and buying those people are going to be?

If you could switch your job with anyone else at FanFinders…

There’s nothing I would rather do.

How FanFinders has changed over the years…

We’re a real company now – we have employees and offices. We’re not just working out of our bedrooms (well I suppose we all are again now, technically). There’s more direction and structure now, not in an overly corporate way, we just know more about how to run a business now and each of us has developed in managing our own area.

And future aims…

The next big milestone will be launching in a new country – and starting to launch in more verticals. All of the things we’ve been doing so far have been to allow us to expand in these ways, vertically and geographically.

One bit of advice for new hires…

Own your role. You wanted to do this job, so do it. If you want any help, we’re here. But what we want is for you to tell us what you’ve done or plan to do, then go ahead and do it. That’s the type of employee we want – we don’t do micro-management here.

Favourite movie…

Alec said Gladiator and that’s right up there for me too. My favourite film overall though is Goodfellas; I love gangster films and Joe Pesci’s character is incredible.

Playing Neil Stephenson in the Hollywood biopic…

Definitely not Joe Pesci. Jake Gyllenhaal could play a much more handsome version of me.

The three albums you’re taking with you to a deserted island…

Racecar is Racecar Backwards by Reuben. I’m also going with The Vertigo of Bliss by Biffy Clyro. It’s a really hard choice but Eminem’s The Slim Shady LP to mix it up.

When aliens attack Earth and say you have to show them one TV show to depict humans, it’s…

The Office.

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