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unLTD Business feature: Celebrating 10 years in business

South Yorkshire based businesses CQ Strategic Marketing, Agemaspark and Airmaster are all celebrating milestone anniversaries this year at 10 years, 20 years and 30 years respectively. They took part in a roundtable to discuss how doing business has changed during that time.

The panel was Chaired by Caroline Broad of Clarion Solicitors.

Jackie Cook, managing director at CQ Strategic Marketing specialises in marketing services for manufacturing SMEs without their own in-house marketing team. Since starting out as a sole trader in 2012, Jackie has witnessed many changes in the industry and more recently created the Equality in STEM network to encourage greater diversity in the industry.


Manufacturing has always been at the heart of my profession, even back to the days where I worked as a secretary. After a few years, I had the opportunity to join the marketing department and the company supported me through gaining marketing qualifications before later joining an international engineering company. From this, I noticed that many engineering SMEs didn’t have access to an in-house marketing team, so the idea for CQ Strategic Marketing was born and now we work with businesses across South Yorkshire, and Europe!, to essentially become their marketing team. I love the diversity of what we do, every day is different.


We work with a very diverse mix of clients, and I love finding out more about what they do and how things are made – especially when we get to visit the factories and become immersed in the processes. My clients are based internationally, so advances in technology facilitate those relationships.

When I first started out in marketing, we were sat stuffing piles of paper into envelopes and doing everything manually, whereas everything now is done digitally. It’s been a very welcome change, as clients are keen to know how their marketing is working and more specifically, which parts are most successful. We can provide so much data to the clients now – details of traffic on their websites, open rates of emails which helps us to be far more strategic than 20 years ago.


We are working with clients on promoting their apprenticeships and training programmes as we know there is a skills shortage, so we need to work on enticing people into the industry and helping them to grow within it. Social media is also key in this day and age to promote the business and the sector – gone are the days of the mailer where you never knew if anyone actually read it or if it went in the bin! Working with trade associations is another way we can promote the sector as a whole, as well as our own business.


I’ve set up a network called Equality in STEM. We’ve started running columns in unLTD magazine (strategically chosen as it goes out to a range of businesses in South Yorkshire, not just engineering companies) showcasing female role models in the industry. In the industry, we recognise issues with diversity and skills shortages, but we must get the word out to parents, teachers and others out in the community in the hope of moving practices forward in the future. There’s lots of different options for career paths, and we need a shift in perception that engineering doesn’t have to be a man’s profession. We need to remove any barriers and restrictions to the industry for it to be for all.


I think technology will continue to change as much as, if not more, than it has in my last 20 years in the industry. The ways we communicate will be changing, and we’re moving to an era where we need to market to all of the stakeholders, so the marketing emphasis is shifted to include the supply chain from an environmental perspective and the attraction of future skills as well as feeding the business development/sales funnel.

To read the full article in October’s unLTD Business magazine please visit: 

To watch the video of the discussion, please visit:

CQ celebrates 10 years in business!

10 years in business!
Wow! We are delighted to be celebrating 10 years in business, it was this day in 2012 that Jackie Cook left employment to start what has become CQ Strategic Marketing.
Jackie said “I started off as a sole trader whilst I could see if it could work. 18 months later, after an introduction from a mutual friend, I met up with the lovely Gaynor Carr at Café Massarella in Meadowhall where we came up with the ‘CQ Strategic Marketing’ branding. Little did we know that would be the start of a great working relationship, I can’t imagine CQ without Gaynor now, thank you for all you do, graphic designer, friend, sounding board… we recently went for lunch where it all started to celebrate our 10 years in business.”
“Around 8 years ago we met Peter and Ash from Spotlight Studios through a mutual client, which was the start of another great partnership becoming an integral part of our team, they have worked with us on most of our clients’ developing websites, digital animation videos, SEO and PPC campaigns. We share the same values and approach to clients, prioritising their needs above our own.
“I set out to support SME manufacturers without in-house marketing teams, we have worked with companies from Norfolk to Leeds, we still work with one of our first retainer clients and have recently helped them develop a marketing strategy and communications plan including, new branding, website, marketing materials, selecting various business exhibitions for them to launch their new business. Along the way we have added marketing training and coaching with our separate brand CQ Marketing Academy where we train your in house team to run some of your marketing or we provide marketing strategy and planning for senior management teams.”
We are currently working with manufacturers based across South Yorkshire trading nationally, as well as a couple of manufacturing trade associations including one based in The Netherlands. A recent addition to our client base is a specialist recruitment consultancy looking after recruitment of design engineers for technology and engineering businesses.
The spin out of my 18 years of work in engineering and manufacturing is my passion project, Equality in STEM in partnership with Spotlight Studios who share our passion for inspiring, developing and supporting more diversity in the STEM sectors.”
A massive thank you to our clients, suppliers and business network and we look forward to many more years!
#10yearsinbusiness #businessbirthday

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