Jules Mittra, Founding Director, In & Beyond Bath
There’s a real robustness in identifying good mentors – getting somebody like Clare was phenomenal
Jules Mittra is the founder of In & Beyond Bath, a bespoke tour provider with a focus on the North American market. As part of its post-pandemic recovery, Jules knew he needed to get the business in front of more of his ideal clients, but he wasn’t sure how to resource it.
Along came Will Davy, a Popular Music Production graduate who was looking to get into content creation. Will proved himself a real talent and a great fit for the business during a six-month Kickstart placement.
We speak with Jules about their decision to join the Academy, their experience and the impact on the business.
Why did you want a digital marketer in-house?
As a small business owner, I know what we do, I know where we’re trying to get to and I know who we’re trying to serve. But there’s two things that are a problem. The first is, how do you do that? How do you communicate that? And the second thing is resource. Even if you do know what you want to do as a small business, do you have the resources to get there?
Those are the two big battles I was having in terms of our digital marketing. We know that we need to be on social media. We know we need to be doing email campaigns. We know that our website has to look great, but we have limited resources.
I can’t do that stuff and I don’t have the resources to employ a big marketing agency – so how do you get those outcomes?
How did you decide to hire a digital marketing apprentice?
My apprentice Will, came into business just out of university. He’d done a BA in Music Production, composing, editing and all that kind of stuff. He was looking to get into the workforce and so I brought him on as a creative marketer, basically a content creator. And so we did that for six months.
One of the things he showed a real interest in was digital marketing. He’d done some phenomenal work in the business already in terms of content and social media stuff.
When I heard about the Digital Marketing Academy, I just called up Will and said: “It’s going to be a 15-month commitment at least. So for us to take you on, it’s going to be a big commitment. But I know the value that you bring. I know the enthusiasm that you bring to everything you do, I know that you’re incredibly capable and I think it could be a really good experience. Would you be interested?”
And fortunately, he was keen! He did his due diligence and came back saying, “This is amazing”.
I had met somebody who I knew would be fabulous in this role, who’s at the point in their career where an apprenticeship would be really beneficial and I know already has all the skills to ace it.
There’s a huge amount compacted into just twelve months learning
What made you choose the Digital Marketing Academy to provide Will’s digital marketing apprenticeship training and coaching?
There’s a real gravitas to the course. When I had a chat with James, he was able to very clearly communicate how the course works, its procedures, its processes, the key elements to it, the learning, how it’s structured.
It’s an overview of all of these different elements: SEO, email marketing, social media, databases – there’s a huge amount compacted into just twelve months learning. There’s rationale behind it, there’s depth – it’s really well considered, really well put together.
How long did it take to have an impact?
I think I knew this was exactly what I hoped it was when we had our first introduction with Will’s mentor, Clare. There’s an introductory discussion to introduce myself, the apprentice, the apprenticeship, his mentor. We talked through the way the course is structured, how it’s going to run, our expectations, what the responsibilities are on our side.
I was really impressed with Clare. And again, there’s a real robustness in identifying good mentors and getting somebody like Clare was phenomenal.
One of the things that I really liked about it is there is an expectation and commitment from us as an employer as well. This is a 15-month course, but also, it’s not just about you as an employer being passive and your apprentice does stuff and comes back.
Clare really communicated the expectation of what I need to be as a supportive employer, what my responsibilities are, how much time that takes. That’s something I think is really important. I know I’m going to be held accountable here.
I’m very confident that we’re moving forward the way we should
How is it going so far?
Will is a superstar, an absolutely extraordinary individual. He’s 22 and I feel like he’s wiser than I am. He was massively enthusiastic from the beginning and then every time he’s had a workshop, we have a feedback session. He talks to me about what he’s been doing, he’s just been hugely engaging with everything throughout and then we bring that learning into the business.
Often there’s been a real synergy between the way the course is structured, what Will’s learning in the masterclasses, and what we happen to be choosing to focus on in the business.
Earlier in the year we were focused on the website. How do you create a website that reflects the business? How do you make sure that it reflects the Storybrand approach? And we were just talking about reviewing our website at that very point. Then we started looking at SEO just as SEO came up so there’s been a good synergy.
Will’s always been super enthusiastic in talking about it and putting it into action. He’s also really proactive at keeping me in line, making sure I’m doing what I need to be doing with him, but also getting the work done. He’s really on it. He’s absolutely loving what he’s doing and getting a lot from it.
What has been the impact on the business?
I’m in a place where everything is moving forward the way it should. I’m at peace with everything. I don’t have the sleepless nights I used to have. I don’t have the thoughts of ‘What do I do next? What should I do? What decision do I need to make? How should I make it?’ I’m very confident that we’re moving forward the way we should.
Actually I had a really good chat with Will yesterday about the next three months. I have a wonderful relationship with Will. He knows the business intimately. And what’s lovely is he’s an apprentice, but he’s already becoming a digital marketing manager because he’s got that responsibility for deciding strategy.
Increasingly it’s like, “Well you tell me, what do you think?” For example, blogs. He was saying we need to get blogs out. And I asked him “What do you think the topic should be?” And he said: “Well, based on my research, we should be doing this and this.” And I just said: “Okay, when do you want them? Because I will do them. I’m now accountable to you.”
It’s wonderful to see that in years to come he’s going to be a thought leader as well because of the experience he’s building now.
I’m very happy with where we’re going, I know we will continue to grow. There’s definitely growth in the future just by looking at what’s happened so far. Our approach is correct. And now we’ve got the skills in-house.
Interestingly we’re going to start outsourcing some of the basic stuff because actually I want him to become the decision maker – and he does as well. He’s got the strategic view, so some delivery stuff he can start handing over. But he knows what good looks like. He’s learned it, he’s experienced it, he’s done it, and so he can lead that competently.
I’m very confident that it’s moving in the right direction, in the right way, and that’s really important.