‘No-Brainer’ Move: Fox Agency CEO and New COO Share Same Ambitious Vision for US

5 months ago

UK’ Fox Agency has set its sights on dominating B2B tech comms in America

Last year, Fox Agency expanded across the pond, opening a new office in New York City.

The UK based integrated marketing agency already had several American clients before the decision was made, with 30% of their global revenue coming from the US. So, CEO Ben Fox felt it was the right time to plant roots stateside with an official US presence.

To spearhead the expansion, Fox Agency has welcomed industry veteran Paul O’Malley to take on the COO role. Paul has brought a wealth of experience launching successful PR agencies internationally from his time leading Kingpin Communications’ US growth to the team – setting Fox up nicely for even more international success.

In this casual Q&A, Ben and Paul share their vision for Fox Agency’s future growth in America and candid thoughts on how they knew they were the perfect CEO and COO fit.

What is your vision for Fox Agency’s growth in the US, and how does your extensive experience contribute to this vision?

Paul O’Malley: We want to build upon the already solid foundations of great client work and company culture with the goal of becoming one of the best B2B tech-focused agencies to work with and for. 

My vision for Kingpin Communications was the same and we retained 90% of key clients and staff over the years from inception until the business was sold to The Marketing Practice. We’ll do that by consistently giving our clients proactive ideas, top-class creative work, and media and PR services that understand each other and work together to get great results. And we will always strive to improve regardless of how good results will be.

What do you see as the main challenges and the main opportunities in the American market for Fox Agency and its offering?

Paul O’Malley: With anything in life, some of the main challenges are created by fear of failure. Fox Agency already has 30% of our revenue coming from US clients. We already have the skills and case studies to show that we are meant to be here. That’s our opportunity – to build on that. Be an even better partner to those who have entrusted us despite not being on the ground in the US, and to be available for prospects where being on the ground is a primary requirement to work with us. 

We’re not here to tell our story. We’re here to help our clients and prospects continue to build theirs. After that, we just need to keep doing the things we do really well.

Are you excited to start building business, client relationships and Fox Agency’s US portfolio?

Paul O’Malley: Firstly, I’m excited for the staff at Fox Agency. The US expansion is coming on the heels of the work they have done in the last few years. It’s a major turning point for them and growth will hopefully accelerate quicker.  

After that, I am excited about getting Fox Agency’s offerings out there. Our creative ideas, development, media and PR capabilities provide a very compelling offering and I truly believe the sky is the limit for this company. In addition, meeting our clients face to face and building relationships is what gets me out of bed in the morning. 

What kind of culture are you aiming to implement at Fox Agency to maintain a strong and motivated team?

Paul O’Malley: People spend 8 hours a day at work. More time communicating with their colleagues than they do with family and friends. For me, working at a company has to feel like more than just a job. 

Everyone has good days and bad days. I want people to feel that working at Fox Agency is the best decision they have made for their careers so far. To be supported and respected. To be picked up when times are rough and celebrated for achievements no matter how small. To be guided on the career paths they aspire to go on with consistency and authenticity. What we give to each other in this regard will pass through to our clients in the quality of our work.

What was it that attracted you to working with Fox Agency on this exciting new venture? 

Paul O’Malley: I’ve reached my own turning point in my career. I no longer want to serve my own needs with salary, career growth etc. I learned a long time ago, the hard way, that who you work with is the most important thing. 

  • Of course, it is easier to say this when you are older and not working paycheck to paycheck. But a good paycheck papers over cracks for a very short period of time if you are working with the wrong people. 

I was lured in by how Ben spoke of his team. How he praised them publicly and how others spoke of the great culture here. That makes me want to get up every day and give everything for this company.

We certainly have ambitious growth plans and the nature of our clients being global tech firms means providing global expertise combined with regional and local market know-how and execution can only benefit those relationships

Ben Fox

C

What were the key factors that influenced your decision to expand Fox Agency into the US market? 

Ben Fox: Expanding into the US has always been ‘part of the plan’, it was more a case of getting the timing right and getting our ducks in a row before taking the leap. The size and maturity of the US tech market makes it a no-brainer. And, with 30% of existing revenues coming from the UK market, there was a degree of risk were we not to commit to local market presence and support. Luckily, we’re now of a stage of maturity where we can invest the required time, resource and financial backing to make a real go of it with confidence. 

With the US already contributing 30% to global revenues, how much do you think the New York office will impact future revenue? Was it important for you to already have a steady US client base before taking the leap?

Ben Fox: We have been preparing to expand into the US for several years. Clearly, having an existing US client base provides both the confidence in the opportunity, and a foundation from which to grow. Our existing work in the US market provides us with an understanding of the B2B market, audiences, channels, and cultural nuances. 

Our US operation is part of our ambitious growth plan over the next 3 – 5 years. Given the size of the market and the opportunity, we expect our US business to be comparable to our existing European operation within this timeframe. 

What insights from the UK and European markets will be valuable in the US, and how will you adapt these to the American context?

Ben Fox: Our work with global B2B tech brands means we have exposure to firms operating across a world of technology verticals, across Europe and North America. There are commonalities that we already apply across our client portfolio, be it through understanding corporate structures, technology market trends and topics, go-to-markets, tech products and solutions, and audience drivers. 

  • I think it’s fair to say the US market is significantly more ‘commercially focused’ in its messaging and comms than perhaps we’re used to in Europe. 

Ultimately, our clients are all seeking accelerated growth. We achieve this by adapting our approach depending on the market, audience needs, and proposition. 

What was it about Paul that made you realise that he was the perfect fit for the US COO role? 

Ben Fox: First and foremost, Paul is a genuinely open and thoroughly decent human being. This became clear in our initial conversations as he offered help, advice, support, and expertise in building out our US plan and forecast (over several Teams calls and endless emails), all very much in his own time and with zero expectation of payment. 

Then, as we met for the third or fourth time, it became clear that Paul’s experience in launching and scaling Kingpin in the US was exactly the level of direct market knowledge we were lacking for our US adventure. 

It’s amazing to look at how much we’ve achieved and how far we’ve come already since Paul joined just a few months ago. With a defined proposition and service offering, and great team in place, we are ready to hit the ground running in 2024.

Do you have future plans for Fox Agency’s international presence and growth? Are there more office openings in sight? 

Ben Fox: Maybe…

We certainly have ambitious growth plans and the nature of our clients being global tech firms means providing global expertise combined with regional and local market know-how and execution can only benefit those relationships. 

For now, having launched into two new markets in 2023 (Germany & the US), we’re going to focus on building out our teams and operations across UK, Europe, and the US; but expansion into other markets is definitely something we are considering. 

You can learn more about Fox Agency and the US expansion here.

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