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Me in Merkle - Frances Roche

Me In Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the incredible individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. This week we chatted to Frances Roche, paid social director, at Merkle.

1. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now? 

Born in North London, raised in Hertfordshire, currently living in South-East London, much to my parents’ distaste (being south of the river and all that…). 

2. What drew you to your current career? 

I studied History at university and while I loved it, I knew I didn’t want to stay in that field and I didn’t fancy the cliched routes of becoming a lawyer or a teacher. I wanted to be more creative and somewhere more dynamic. Over the summer of second year, I worked in a uniform shop, manning the phones, and had a lot of spare time, so I applied for lots of work experience and found some in a digital marketing agency. I loved my time there and knew I wanted to work in this field after.  

3. Why Merkle?  

Ask anyone this and they’ll say the people. I love that they push you to be better and we keep each other on our toes while being an incredibly supportive environment too. I’ve worked here for 4.5 years, and I can honestly say I’ve never not liked working with someone. 

4. Tell us a bit more about your day-to-day. 

My role is split into two main areas – clients and people. I spend about 60% of my time leading paid social for our largest accounts. This means responding to briefs, creating media plans, chatting to platform partners, curating new processes to help things run more efficiently, leading account teams of 4+ people, and everything in between. The rest of my time I spend managing people and helping lead the department. I currently oversee a team of 30 in the UK and manage our relationship with Merkle India which currently stands at 17 people. I oversee the capacity planning and career development for this very large and ambitious group of people! 

5. What do you enjoy most about Paid Social? And what do you think future developments will be? 

I love that it isn’t just one thing – there’s creativity in thinking strategically and of new ways to tackle a problem. There’s a commercial backbone where you need to be considering the impact of what you’re doing for your clients. There’s a need to think about things on a micro and macro level, so you know how paid social fits into the wider picture but also that it’s functioning when looked at on its own. There’s constant change so you need to be keeping up to date with the industry.  

The future development that is most exciting to me is the increased importance on AR and automation. We can’t forget the cookie-less future too as that’s going to set the scene for a lot of change in social, and digital in general. 

6. What would your advice be to somebody considering a career in Paid Social? 

The industry moves quickly and it’s common to think that you should speed through promotions with it. True, this may happen quicker than in other industries but don’t be afraid to take your time. By learning to be patient and consistent, and focusing on what you enjoy and why, you’ll get more from the role, and you’ll have greater success further down the line. 

7. What is your greatest accomplishment?  

Tough one, I’m still incredibly proud that I completed the London Marathon, raising over £2000 for charity, although part of me is tempted to go again and see if I can go faster…  

8. Tell us a bit about your experience so far with Merkle.  

My role has changed a lot as we have changed as a business. Initially when I joined, we were a newly formed department with fewer than 15 people – now we’re more than 50. The types of clients we now win are often of a completely different scale to what they were when I joined. For me, this has brought a lot of opportunities – I’ve felt like I’ve moved with the business, been encouraged to think more commercially and really pushed to get better at my job. I’m happiest when I’m being challenged and while it hasn’t always been a walk in the park, overall it’s been a massively positive experience. 

9. What inspires you about Merkle’s workplace culture?  

I find it inspiring to be around people who are determined to stay ahead of the game, evolve with the industry, and genuinely be lovely at the same time. 

10. What was your dream job growing up?  

I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up…  

11. Are you involved in any of our DEI Pillars? If so, which one and can you tell us a bit about it? 

I’m on the Disability Pillar. We aim to make the workplace more accessible for all – so far, we’ve done things like create one-sheeters on disabilities people may have, curated the workplace disability passport, and organised training for managers – to name a few! 

12. How do you like your eggs?  

Poached. Always. I’ve had to teach myself to like eggs so don’t @ me, this is progress. 

13. What are you currently watching on Netflix/Prime?  

Ventured into AppleTV to watch Ted Lasso. Highly recommend.  

14. What’s your guilty pleasure?  

Reality TV. To be honest, I don’t feel that guilty about it. 

15. What is your dream holiday destination?  

Mountains in the summer where I could go on long hikes with beautiful views but chill by the pool with a book in the sun after. 

16. Best advice or mantra you live by? 

“Maybe it’s time for more women to be in charge.” Leslie Knope