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Neil Kerr

Neil Kerr on sound digital marketing

By Neil Kerr

Managing Director, Pumpkin Digital Marketing

As a recording engineer in his early career, Neil Kerr was instrumental in the early work of legendary Sotonian Craig David, and the huge millennium hit Re-Rewind that Neil collaborated on while working with Mark Hill from the Artful Dodger duo.  

Fast forward two decades and Neil has tuned his technical abilities and passion to a new beat.  Having established Pumpkin Digital Marketing in 2009 after learning the art of digital marketing on the job from corporate and agency perspectives, Neil’s company specialises in creating high performing websites for clients that combine back-end efficacy with outstanding outward-facing design.  

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Pumpkin Digital Marketing has a diverse portfolio of clients. Can you give us some examples of projects you have worked on?

We do a lot of work for Rick Stein. We've been working with them since the beginning of a pandemic when we completely rebuilt them a new site and ecommerce system to diversify their revenue streams. They were very successful at innovating new products like Stein’s at Home meals; we ran the Facebook Ads marketing campaign for that, and it won an award in the Cateys food industry awards.

They've got several parts to the business – the restaurants, shops, a cookery school, accommodation, and online – we work with them on all those levels. We've just built a sophisticated voucher system for them and we’re working on integrating their booking systems.

As well as working on the technical back-end systems for websites, we also do a lot of front-end website design and digital marketing. We’re working with a big online shoe retailer at the moment to move them to a new Shopify site with fresh design work.

What are the fundamental elements in creating a great website?

The most fundamental question when you're building a website is what you want it to do. The conversation starts with what the website is for, and we go from there; building it to serve those needs and designing something that's going to create business.

As a digital marketing company, we solve clients’ online problems. If customers can’t find your site, we can run pay per click, SEO, and social media at that very first stage to make sure that people can find the site.

It can be very frustrating for prospective customers if your ecommerce site shows the wrong stock levels and in that situation, we can create a back-end solution to make sure your stock-taking system talks with your ecommerce system so that the stock levels are accurate.

We can help to overcome usability problems with a site with sophisticated testing to find out how it can be made to work better and improve your bottom line. Sometimes just changing a box to a different colour can add 4% to your sales and testing can make a massive improvement to your website's performance.

Once you've got your website built, we have an ongoing relationship and suggest improvements, so the site doesn’t remain static, and it grows with the business.

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"The conversation starts with what the website is for, and we go from there and build it to serve those needs and design something that's going to create business."

Managing Director, Pumpkin Digital Marketing

What technical marketing tools should businesses make the most of?

A key thing is making the most out of the data available. For example, we’re running digital advertising campaigns for a couple of big restaurant groups; they use a booking system called SevenRooms that can be set up to log how much the customer spends on their booking so that the money spent on advertising can be directly linked to sales in the restaurant.  

The amount of data and the way you can use Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to track everything and integrate it with your reporting systems is getting more and more sophisticated and that’s one of the key things to utilise.  

The other thing is testing your user experience. We work with a company look at sites and identify user experience issues. It’s an incremental process that can make massive improvements. 

If you could work on any project, what would it be?

I love working on projects with clients with a clear view of what they want to do, who want to grow their business and are willing to commit the investment needed to achieve it.   

We’re becoming established in the food and restaurant market which is an exciting niche to explore further.  

Neil Kerr

"We do a lot of work for Rick Stein. We've been working with them since the beginning of a pandemic when we completely rebuilt them a new site and ecommerce system to diversify their revenue streams."

Managing Director, Pumpkin Digital Marketing

What do you most enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I’ve got an 11-month-old daughter and two older children who are 16 and 14, so I enjoy spending time with them.

I still do a lot of music, and I still record music when I get time.

What records or artists do you enjoy the most?

I’ve got eclectic taste. The trouble with listening to music when you’ve been involved in writing, recording, and creating music is that you find it difficult to listen just for the pleasure of listening to it. I have a hyper-critical way of listening to music because that used to be part of my job.

I do like chill out music; Jon Hopkins is my favourite overall artist and has been for the last few years.

Neil Kerr Old Bond Store