Spotlight on - Luke Tobin
This blog is from Luke Tobin, Managing Director of Digital Ethos.
Digital Ethos, a UK-based digital marketing agency, started in Luke Tobin’s bedroom in Loughborough more than 7 years ago.
Luke fell into the Marketing industry. He started his marketing career as a self-taught digital marketing consultant so that he was able to start and scale his own eCommerce business, he then went onto selling this and entering the world of working directly within marketing agencies. Working within agencies, he saw there was a gap between what was being promised to customers and what was being delivered. The agencies he worked in were very disconnected from the client’s businesses and goals, therefore sparking an interest in Luke to try and change this.
His vision was to form an agency that acted as an extension of the client's core team, rather than a third party. Thus, Digital Ethos was born, a customer-centric business that has grown based on customer feedback and reputation. With a 90%+ retention rate, it’s proven a successful model.
During Luke’s career with Digital Ethos, the journey has been phenomenal, with more than 100% growth year on year. The most recent setbacks have been in relation to COVID-19, facing client losses and new remote working hurdles.
In order to overcome these challenges, Luke did the opposite to most UK businesses suffering during this time - he put the accelerator on. With new internal hires, increased internal marketing activities and massive sales efforts in an attempt to recover what was lost, Luke was determined to turn things around. The effort that Luke and the team put in early on quickly became apparent as agencies around them started to crumble in the midst of the pandemic.
In Luke's wider role and career aspirations, he feels passionate about giving something back. With recent investment into carbon-neutralising organisations, Luke is able to diversify his business portfolio. Luke has always been entrepreneurial, and in all honesty, a bit of a workaholic. He enjoys working as a hobby and finds business growth a fascination - something which drives him to succeed every day.
During Lukes working life, the biggest lesson he has learnt is to be patient, with himself and with others around him. He is also a big believer in empowering people within the business,
“If you give people the opportunity to do so, they can absolutely excel their own expectations.”
For anyone starting their career, no matter what industry, Luke gives the following pieces of advice.
To study - make sure you know the in’s and out’s of your specific industry. If there are any grey areas, study harder!
Surround yourself with good people - get a mentor to guide you through decision-making processes for the first time. Ensure your friends are supportive and like-minded.
Don't second guess yourself - opportunities will arise in different ways, but it’s important to make decisions and not question the past, or the future.
Luke states, the best piece of advice he has ever been given is to be resilient and to work hard - there is no substitute for hard work.
For those aiming for leadership positions, Luke advises those individuals to spend time understanding the people in different areas of the business. Try and understand what motivates them and what inspires them. To be a leader, you have to be willing to do any of the work you’re telling anybody else to do, so make sure you’ve put yourself through it and that you understand it. One key lesson Luke has learnt along the way is to listen to those people around him. By encouraging one-to-one feedback, you get an insight into what they think, what issues they’re experiencing and how you can actively be there to mould and support them.
As a Managing Director at Digital Ethos, Luke’s best part of the job is being able to watch the team grow. A lot of the team members are learning constantly and watching them grow is inspiring to him. Luke also appreciates the wide range of clients that Digital Ethos support and being able to delve into each and every one of these industries as if it were our own is really enjoyable.
The worst part of Luke’s job is the process of spinning lots of plates, which can sometimes mean lots of long working days/hours. This can bring some stress, but the results make it worthwhile.
To become a successful entrepreneur, if you’re passionate and you work harder than everybody else, then you can be successful. Certainly, for Luke, there have been no shortcuts. If you build your network around you and work on those relationships, you can become a successful entrepreneur.