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Five Minutes With Chris Murphy - Vice President, Paid Media At Clarity

Clarity is proud to offer fearless marketing and communications consultancy to the world’s most progressive companies. We’re able to do this so successfully because we hire sharp-minded specialists from around the world that provide best-of-the-best services to our clients, as well as continuously upskilling our team on the latest sector developments, and how we can integrate them into our work.

Our blog series ‘Five Minutes With…’  shines a spotlight on Clarity’s experts around the world, diving into what their team provides, what they’re proud of, and a bit more about them as a person. Check out our past Q&As with Measurement & Analytics specialist Phil Wade, Public Affairs leader Nick Lansman, and the founder of our Sydney HQ, Sefiani, Robyn Sefiani.

In this edition, we speak with Chris Murphy, Clarity’s extremely smart and very hilarious (he loves a pun) Vice President of Paid Media. He runs us through how Clarity’s brand and performance paid marketing offerings can help achieve your marketing objectives across the funnel.

Chris Murphy, VP - Paid Media at Clarity

What’s your elevator pitch for what the Paid Media team offers?

[Chris, true to his nature, kicked off with a pun] I find elevator pitches difficult on so many levels.

But seriously, at Clarity we’re proud to be able to offer full-funnel paid marketing strategies that can be really flexible around any marketing or business objective. 

For example, if a client’s focus is lead generation or direct response we would suggest a strategy including the likes of high-impact ad formats across social. If it’s more brand awareness focused we can run a top-of-funnel campaign to increase broad awareness, while also being really targeted to get those all important leads in the door. 

Working across both brand and performance is our preferred approach, so clients can rest assured their marketing is ticking all the boxes and achieving ROI.

What does your team do that drives the most impact for clients?

Unlike many other paid teams which can be overly process driven, we stand out for our proactivity.

The landscape is always changing, especially when it comes to MarTech and AdTech which can experience critical updates almost daily. The targeting capabilities we have today have advanced since last week for example, and on the flip side capabilities can also be removed causing challenges. 

The team prides itself on being flexible in response to this constant change, but we are also proactive in response to forward-looking insights and trends. We can do the simple and important things really well but understand how this ladders up to the wider strategy so are always considering how we can augment work to achieve those higher goals.

We also recognize it’s important not just to understand our craft but be proactive in constantly building knowledge of our clients, their sector and their competitors.

What work have you done recently that you’re really proud of? 

We onboarded an HR SaaS client late last year and quickly, through constant measurement and analytics, identified that the strategy we’d built wasn’t working. As soon as we had the slightest suspicion it wasn’t driving the impact we expected, we were relentless in unpacking why. So, we continued pulling data and applying learnings to adapt the strategy. In just a month we reworked it into a strategy that has delivered the client’s most successful paid search months ever.

We continue to drive performance up and have since expanded into providing our services for their North America team, and will soon be reviewing and uplifting their website performance and providing them with broader measurement and analytics support.

I’m particularly proud of this one because it demonstrates our passion for ensuring our clients succeed. This involves acknowledging when we’re not right and working hard until we’re delivering the impact the client needs.

How does Paid Media fit into an integrated MarComms strategy?

Paid marketing can be integrated with pretty much any other MarComms campaign to make tactics work harder to better achieve business and marketing objectives.

Let me bring this to life across a few of our service offerings.

PR campaigns can be augmented with paid marketing by drawing out the lifespan of the campaign’s benefits. Even the best possible piece of PR coverage will stop driving impact after 36 hours due to the nature of the newscycle, but paid media can make it last longer and get it directly in front of those audiences that matter. I think of it like fireworks. One amazing firework is great, but add paid to your PR campaign and that one firework will explode into a display that reaches the whole city.

Event organic social and communications campaigns can also be supported with paid, driving significant impact for the business. We recently worked with a vehicle technology company at a large consumer tech event which was running a comms campaign to encourage people to visit their booth at the show. Using a geo-targeted paid LinkedIn campaign, we were able to reach audience members in the vicinity of the event with key messaging and a call to action to visit the client’s booth. It worked incredibly well and they had the highest footfall they’d ever had at the show. 

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and SEO campaigns can also integrate really well together because we share so many learnings. For example, we can feedback what’s working well in paid (like an ad headline) which can then be applied to SEO content creation, and vice versa.

We as standard practice also work very closely with our measurement and analytics team from the onboarding phase (ensuring clients are set up to accurately measure success), to troubleshooting, to supporting our proactivity in identifying extra insights that will enable us to boost conversion.

Tell me about YOU! How did you get to where you are today?

I studied Politics and Law at Kent University in the UK which is worlds apart from what I do today, but set me up with research skills and a strong work ethic. My first job after University was then at WPP marketing agency MEC, now Wavemaker, where I predominantly worked on the Lloyds TSB team as a paid marketing executive. 

After a couple of years I decided to go traveling and spent two years in New Zealand working at a small independent agency. This really shaped me as I was given the opportunity to lead accounts on my own, be really exposed to clients and - arguably most importantly - make a few mistakes, and really learn from them.

When I returned to the UK I went back into a larger agency working with the likes of David Lloyd and Centre Parcs running paid social and search campaigns across Meta, Google and Bing. It was here that I learnt how to run truly integrated campaigns. I saw how paid marketing integrated with our SEO team, account management team, and other agencies leading other activities across the marketing funnel.

I moved to 3WhiteHats in February 2021 as the company’s only London-based employee (it’s based in Falmouth, Cornwall) mere months before it was acquired by Clarity. I was hired as a Paid Search and Social Manager and was a Team Lead shortly after the acquisition - which was perfect as it meant we were able to hire more people! I recently got promoted to Vice President of Paid Media and feel so lucky to be part of a fearless, positive and global company that puts growth first - both as an individual and as a team.

Tell us about your team?

Our Paid Media team is constantly growing and we’re so excited to be doing more and more integrated work, as well as providing our services across our regions - in the UK, U.S., Netherlands and Australia.

Shouting out a few people: Nicky Oldale, James Spencer, Juliette Lumley and I have been steering the paid media ship since before the Clarity acquisition and we have a lot of shared experience together, meaning we work seamlessly as a unit. I should also mention Sam Anderson Benson who joined Clarity last year as our Performance Director & Deputy Managing Director - Digital Marketing. He has had such a positive influence on us, and my own career growth - I’m so grateful he was hired.

Finally, what’s the most fearless thing you’ve ever done?

I’ve done two things, both non-work related, that I believe made me the fearless Clariteer that I am today. 

First, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro during my first year of University. I’d always dreamt of doing something big for charity and you don’t get much bigger than Kilimanjaro (except maybe Everest). In the end, I raised £2,500 for Practical Action, a charity that works with engineers and local communities to find real world solutions to real issues - it’s all about supporting self-sustainment rather than just throwing money at the problem.

Young Chris hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro

Secondly, and probably more nerve wracking than climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, is I’ve tried standup comedy twice. It was terrifying but now I’m not very easily phased!

Chris doing standup

Want to find out more about how Chris and Clarity’s paid media team can help you to achieve your business goals and reach leads across the marketing funnel? Reach out here.

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