Karen Williams and Mark Westaby have six decades of combined marketing, communication and evaluation experience, integrating traditional marketing skills with deep expertise in digital and social media. We have been a team for 15 years, first in a client-agency relationship and subsequently as colleagues. The reason we’re still working together is because we share a passion for doing things properly and a belief that effectiveness in marketing is something that is often talked about but less often achieved. We want to encourage people to step back from the day-to-day and think about what is preventing often huge and sometimes unrealistic expectations from being met.  So what makes us qualified to help?

Karen has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing strategy and management across global markets. After graduating from Durham University with a first-class honours degree in French and German, she began her career in marketing communications at Cargill while studying for an MSc in Public Relations in her spare time.  Her next in-house role was as Director of International Marketing at US-based financial technology specialist eFunds, where she spent 11 years managing strategy, budgets, campaigns, teams and agencies across continents. In 2009, Karen founded Crescendo as a strategic marketing consultancy, helping clients refine their positioning, raise their profile and build effective teams to deliver on their objectives.  She has also worked extensively in research and consumer insight, creating bespoke intelligence projects to evaluate marketing performance and consumer behaviour, using an approach which translates metrics and ‘big data’ into genuinely useful insights to drive strategic decision-making.

As a former marketing director, Karen recognises the challenges faced by her peers in a complex and fast-paced environment, where traditional marketing skills are being lost and digital platforms don’t always deliver what they promise.  At Crescendo she focuses on aligning strategy with business objectives, allowing people to play to their strengths, making measurement count and using genuine insights to drive better performance.

A pioneer in marketing measurement, Mark graduated with a first class honours degree in engineering at Brunel University and worked as a consulting engineer and in R&D before “the need to do something more creative” led him to PR and marketing.  His early marketing experience was mainly in advertising before moving into PR where he became the youngest board director of Countrywide Communications (London), now Porter Novelli.  In 1993 Mark joined fledgling PR consultancy, Portfolio Communications, as a director and shareholder; and in the same year he started media evaluation company, Metrica.  Both companies grew dramatically through the 1990s leading to the Portfolio Group becoming a top 15 UK PR company in the early 2000s.

As the founder of Metrica and early member of the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, which he chaired for over four years, Mark has spent 20 years as a leading expert in marketing measurement.  Since the sale of Metrica, in 2009, he has pioneered both the use of social media to generate insight and the introduction of new statistical techniques to address rapidly changing demographics and their impact on traditional market research sampling.

Mark has worked on and led major accounts in the UK, Europe and globally, covering a broad range of industries and brands for which he has won numerous industry awards.  He has spoken at many industry conferences, seminars and universities, including the LSE, Cranfield, Stirling and the Cass Business School.