This article originally appeared on Prolific London here.
Artefact UK, which opened last year, is a marketing agency who “bring an engineering mindset” to the way they design digital marketing campaigns.
“Artefact’s in the data, digital marketing and consultancy business, and equally adept at all three” Sarah said. Last week, the French office hosted European AI Night so the Managing Director ventured to Paris on Thursday.
We find out more about what Sarah De Martin got up to…
Monday tends to be the day where I set myself up for the week. I’m usually riding my dressage horse on the weekends, and given he isn’t interested in cutting-edge AI advancements, it tends to clear my head of anything work-related.
So usually, Monday is the dedicated catch-up/planning day. But we have our Artefact founders from Paris with us in the office, so the day’s focus is on our UK growth, and where we need to invest that growth going forward. I surreptitiously try to wolf down a sandwich as I work, but they aren’t having any of it – the French don’t eat at their desks the same as we do. After ‘real’ lunch, we drill into UK growth some more, and start chatting about European AI Night: the Paris event Artefact France is holding on Thursday. It’s exciting, but the idea of trying to finish a work week, heading to Paris on Thursday, and somehow getting everything done in time for the Easter break is… interesting.
It’s already gone 6pm by the time the planning session wraps up, and I come out to the news that we’ve won a new client. So it would seem wrong if I didn’t grab a glass of white (or two) with a colleague at a lovely wine bar. I can’t disclose the name. My colleague likes the ‘ambience’ too much.
With four client meetings and little time to do much else, Tuesday becomes one of those days that stretches into an evening with the laptop. Still, no rest for the wicked and all that. Between client catch-ups, I manage to grab some time to head into a pitch status meeting for a big potential client. Even if I’m not involved in a particular pitch, I think it’s important to look at the brief and test it from an executive point of view, to make sure everything is on track, and then my colleagues can tell me if I’m talking rubbish!
Between client meeting three and four, I head into one of the weekly paid-search training sessions Artefact offers for staff and clients. It’s a properly insightful session that drills into optimisation and targeting, as well as setting appropriate KPIs – all areas, really. After dashing around and meeting up with our fourth client for the day’s final meeting, I take them to Little Social – it’s a French-inspired, vintage-style bistro in Soho.
Speaking of the French: when I get home, I’m half-listening to the news on as I work. Just tapping away, tidying up a few reports, and I hear that not all is lost for Notre Dame. Given I’m heading to Paris tomorrow, it’s going to be a very peculiar national mood. And customs are still on strike. So I’ll be both sad and late.
If you shook your kids awake at the time I set my alarm today, you’d be arrested. I crawl out of bed at an ungodly hour and get into the office around 6am, because we’re all headed to Paris this evening and I’ve got to hammer through a tonne of actions once the office opens.
First: interview a potential new strategist. She’s very switched on – she’s really keen to get involved in plenty of the activity we have going on involving voice search and Amazon. We need eager people like her on our team; since launching in the UK last October, we’ve kept growing at a sustained but rapid pace. That’s down to the quality of talent we’ve taken on.
Second: We hold a growth hack meeting with one of our automotive clients. I love this. I really do. Maybe it sounds cheesy or over-earnest, but it’s stuff like this that makes me appreciate both sides of my job – Artefact’s in the data, digital marketing and consultancy business, and equally adept at all three. So doing something like a growth hack meeting, where we dig for new solutions to take a client to the next step in their journey, is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. It’s always great to spitball with clients and bounce off their energy, and it really keeps the relationship tight. Even if we don’t agree on everything we come up with!
Then it’s a mad dash for the Eurostar. And still, no rest – or even a game of I spy – for the wicked, as my colleague Emmaclare and I catch up on a number of things on the marketing and new business plan, given neither of us have had a chance to come together this week. Done over a G&T, of course.
Once we arrive, we just walk the ten minutes from Gare du Nord to our quaint little hotel, ditch our luggage and head to a lovely restaurant, Le Richer, where a charming waiter looks after us all evening. Then bed, finally…
It’s AI Night!
I start the day with the most gorgeous croissants and bread, which always taste better in France. It just does. Then a 10am meeting with the Artefact Founders in our Paris HQ; there’s a buzz in the office, as most of them will attend AI Night with clients later on. And, to top it off, the weather’s hitting an enviable 24 degrees with full sun.
AI Night actually starts during the day – 2pm at the Palais De Tokyo, a contemporary art museum in the 16th District with the Eiffel Tower looming behind. Unfortunately, I don’t spend much time out in the sun, as I have a good seven hours of conference time to sit through. While that sounds daunting, it’s worth it.
The first few sessions are all about how the EU is supporting the growth and development of AI in Europe with some serious investment. We have two keynotes from high-profile French government officials (including Cédric O, State Secretary for the Digital Economy) and there’s plenty of talk about joint initiatives and collaboration between EU member states and industries, so Europe can compete on the world stage alongside the US and China.
Following this, there are some insightful panel discussions on applied AI, concerning businesses across a number of different sectors such as finance, mobility, consumer goods and healthcare. It’s impressive to note how some of these companies are using AI to enhance the customer experience, build for the future and challenge the status quo. We spend a lot of time in this industry being theoretical, so it’s compelling to see companies actually take action. And the most exciting thing is they’re only just getting started.
One of my favourite quotes of the day is, “It’s not a question of whether AI is relevant to your business, it’s how fast it can accelerate your business growth”. Agreed.
The evening finishes with dinner from our favourite waiter at Le Richer, then bed. We’ve got an early start tomorrow, due to Eurostar requesting we arrive absurdly early at Gare du Nord to get through customs, to combat ongoing delays. (They weren’t wrong.)
It’s Good Friday. Last night was a massive success. It also had free drinks. You do the maths. Happy Easter.