The benefits of retaining an experienced marketer on a project basis.

This is the story of how Brixham Trawler Agents (BTA) transformed their marketing activities from being purely reactive towards a more focused, proactive and planned approach.

Brixham Trawler Agents operate and manage England’s largest fish market by value of fish landed. Over the last few years the business has experienced rapid growth but over this period marketing activities had been under-resourced. In addition, BTA had decided to radically change how the traditional fish market auction was operated by moving away from a traditional “shout auction” to a cloud-based online clock auction where registered fish buyers would be able to log-in from anywhere to buy fish.

The challenges BTA faced included:

  • An out of date internally focused website
  • Very little current marketing material
  • A lack of internal marketing resource
  • Low visibility of BTA’s role in managing Brixham Fish Market
  • No marketing plan

When they retained me to manage and implement their project my first task was to get together with BTA to establish exactly what they wanted to achieve. Over several sessions we concluded that BTA wanted to:

  • Raise awareness of their products and services to a wider audience Highlight the quality of the fish landed and the internal processes in place to sustain this quality
  • Increase sales of both fish, and current services
  • Promote their plans and the investments they had made/were making, to a wider audience
  • Improve the visibility of related business available within Brixham that provide support to the fishing industry e.g. local engineering companies etc.
  • Launch the new clock auction

The first step of the process was to carry out an audit of current marketing materials, activities and resource but we had already established:

  • The current website was not fit for purpose as can be seen from the visual below,
  • The web domain ( did not reflect the main business area (Brixham Fish Market) and did not provide the necessary platform to access the new online auction.
  • There was no internal marketing resource
  • Social media activity was ad hoc and operated from personal profiles
  • There was a lack of existing marketing material

The key method of achieving BTA’s objectives had to be online and it was quickly agreed that the focus should be on the creation of a new website and the implementation of a content engine to promote the key messages to the relevant and diverse audiences.

An example of the old website home page

Original Brixham Trawler Agents Home Page

The directors stated that they would prefer a local web company to build their site; they also agreed that the new web domain should change to reflect their business stream and become Once the objectives were finalised I created a detailed web spec and sent out to several local companies. They, in turn, pitched their services until a final decision was taken to retain Whitespace Advertising an Ashburton based web design and development company.

It was also agreed that whilst the website was being built we would introduce a blog to promote what was happening, to keep people in the loop. The blog would be hosted on the domain and any posts created would be ported over when the new site went live.

Stage 1: Web Development

Working closely with Whitespace we developed the timescales and the scope of the project and identified the key milestones along the way. Rob at Whitespace set up a Trello account that we used as a key project management tool.

We agreed the web sitemap and the project got underway, first step was to sort out the blog, which eventually became two blogs.

My main role was to liaise between Whitespace and BTA to ensure everything went to plan, on time and on budget and manage any additional 3rd party service providers. I also had responsibility to write the web content, write, amend and upload the blog posts and ensure each post and web page, including images, was properly optimized to ensure they got indexed and found by the search engines (SEO).

Another key task was to identify the images and video we required for each page on the site and the individuals/agencies who would bring them to life.

BTA were kept in the loop through regular progress meetings, phone calls and email.

Stage 2: Content Development

The web sitemap is a list of the pages of a website. It has a number of uses, it is used at the planning stages to identify the web pages to be created by the design team, it formulates the website hierarchy and is a tool used to help the webcrawlers identify pages to be indexed by the search engines.

Once the sitemap had been agreed the content for each page had to be written and supplied to the web development company to aid the design work. Working with BTA we identified the key experts in each area that would need to be questioned and interviewed to supply the relevant content.

After each “expert” interview the content recorded was edited, signed off and supplied to Whitespace to be added to the web page. Once the draft copy for each of the pages was available it was easier to identify the images that we would need to upload to each page. Knowing the length of the content also helped the web designer to layout each page.

As BTA wanted to promote the quality of the fish landed at Brixham harbour it was critical that we had great imagery that reflected and highlighted this fact.

Through various sources and referrals we chose Brixham based photographer Rachael Ryder to supply the web images, this entailed early morning visits to the Fish Market, a trip on an inshore trawler and several visits to the local fish wholesalers based on the quayside.

For the video and drone footage we chose Buckfastleigh based videographers Jack and his team also had a few early morning starts to cover the fish auction and a trip to sea to capture some excellent drone footage of a returning beam trawler that included a transfer at sea to get some on board shots.

Exciting times.

Stage 3: Social Media Management

BTA were already active on social media and have a fantastic source of imagery and video footage uploaded on a daily basis. We set up a new Brixham Fish Market Facebook page and moved the main Twitter and Instagram accounts over to business pages and updated the bios with links to the new blogs.

Stage 4: Search Engine Optimisation

The final stage of the process was to ensure each of the signed off webpages and corresponding images were fully optimized for search.

When the site went live Rob from Whitespace set up 301 re-directs from the key pages on the old site to the corresponding pages on the new site. Any pages from the old site that were no longer required were re-directed to the new home page.


“Before we retained Andrew, we had a very narrow view of what was required. Andrew came in and explained what we should be doing and why. He delivered an excellent project that BTA is very happy with and our audience are still talking about”.

Adam Mudge, BTA

The Results

Over the course of the web build we had over 2,500 visits to the 7 blog post written and published. From an SEO perspective this gave the site a boost when it went live.

The company FaceBook page is creating a great deal of engagement. In the short time since going live, it has had over 800 likes and more than 800 follows but the real plus is the number of people that each post is reaching and the interaction taking place within the community.

Traffic to the website continues to grow and is now around 50% higher since launch. With activities now based around a content marketing and social media plan, traffic will continue to grow.

Visits To Brixham Fish Market Website

From the chart above you can see that both referrals from social media and organic search results are having a strong impact on bringing traffic to the site.

However, the biggest improvement achieved is in the visitor experience. The site is now easy to navigate, has strong content and visuals, explains what BTA do and how they can help all finished off with a fantastic introductory video on the Home Page which promotes the “sea to plate” message in a strong visually appealing way.

Take a look for yourself by visiting

Next stage

The next phase of the plan is the launch of the new clock auction process. Watch this space….


Retaining a marketer to manage your project whether it’s a new web build, a product launch or a sales campaign isn’t for everyone. There is always a cost involved. However, some of that cost is normally built into any quote you’ll receive from a marketing agency.

The advantages of retaining an experienced and qualified marketer include:

  • Getting access to the experienced marketing resource you need without the need to recruit any full time staff
  • Having someone who can hit the ground running
  • Providing you with more time to focus on managing your business
  • Peace of mind that you’ll get exactly what you want on time and on budget
  • Knowing the wool won’t be pulled over your eyes through geeky, techie marketing speak because someone else is handling the project on your behalf
  • Getting access to the marketers team of recommended and trusted specialists

If you’d like to find out more details about my marketing project management services get in touch.  Call 01803 413481 or fill in the contact form

I look forward to hearing from you.

Andrew Leon Walker

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