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‘Marketing that is affordable should be available to all’

Husband and wife team launch firm during pandemic

WHEN Emma Dunlop-Walters was made redundant during the coronavirus pandemic she used it as an opportunity to set out on a new adventure – with husband Richard by her side.

While the world went on hold, Emma pushed forward with plans to set up her own marketing company and things have been going from strength to strength ever since.

Growing up in Shaw, the 30-year-old went to Park House School and then took a business BTEC at Newbury College.

“At school I really liked English and then I went to university in Newport to do a business and law degree,” Emma explains. “There was an element of marketing to it and that’s where it all started.

“In 2013 I started working in business development and I realised I liked the marketing side so much that I would study for my CIM [Chartered Institute of Marketing] qualifications.

“I loved everything about it. It was all really good and learning something new.

“In my spare time I would do other small courses too and it was brilliant as I got to bring new ideas into work.”

From there she moved to a law firm in Reading, where she worked her way up from marketing assistant to marketing executive.

Other roles followed as Emma continued to challenge herself, including a role focusing on ecommerce for a toy company, which she describes as a “really good time”.

Last November she took on a new job as a marketing manager, but then Covid hit. Sadly, the company was forced to make Emma redundant, but rather than dwell on it, she decided to turn it into a positive.

On July 5, the husband and wife team launched ER Marketing – while Emma focuses on the marketing and business development, Richard works behind the scenes on the technical side, including building new websites for clients.

“I left my job on really good terms and it has worked out well for us,” Emma says. “In a recession, marketing is always the first thing to go, so we had a couple of days where I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.

“I thought I would try freelancing and see what happens. We then got our first client in a few weeks and it’s just grown from there. Our work is all coming from referrals and it’s been really busy these past few weeks.”

Richard, aged 34, also grew up in Newbury, attending Shaw House and Trinity schools, before gaining a degree in linguistics at the University of Sussex.

After graduating he spent some time living in New York. “It was something I always wanted to do,” he explains. “So I went over there and worked in customer support, but also did freelance web development and writing. I loved IT and I loved computers; I also love reading and writing, so I did some general interest writing on tech issues while I was in New York.”

But for a long time, Richard has wanted to be a teacher.

He followed his dream and is currently in the third year of a BA in education at Reading University.

“I am a full-time student and I am lucky that I working from home, so I have a bit more spare time to work with Emma than I would have if I was going into university,” he says. “Hopefully I will go on to work at a local college and continue to work in the business too.”

So how do the couple find living and working together?

Richard believes they have very complementary skill sets, which makes it a perfect partnership.

“It isn’t something that we ever thought we would be doing,” Emma adds. “But we work really well together. We are doing a lot of networking and growing our expertise.

“We just want people to know that we can offer affordable marketing solutions. We believe marketing should be available to everyone.

“Starting the business was all very sudden and we had to launch overnight, but we keep growing and, who knows, the sky’s the limit.”

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