Big agency standards

without big agency costs

Effective & affordable marketing services for small and medium sized businesses

Established in 2013, Blackbird Marketing is run by Catherine Blackwell, who set up the business after 12 years’ experience working for a broad mix of clients at some of the North West’s most respected marketing and design agencies.

Catherine has a first class degree, a postgraduate qualification from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and started her career in a B2B clientside role, so is familiar with both ‘sides of the fence.’

“Working with Catherine is always enjoyable. She’s smart, reliable, has great judgement and a fine grasp of detail.”


Frank Fenten, Managing Director, We Love the Web

Blackbird Marketing adopts a different approach to the traditional agency operating model

One of our fundamental observations about the way that a lot of marketing agencies operate is that there is often a huge and unassailable gap between the client and the agency. Agencies aren’t always brilliant at really getting under the skin of a business and clients aren’t always brilliant at providing agencies with what they need to do their jobs.

This seems to be made worse when the client doesn’t employ a dedicated marketer, so someone is responsible for handling marketing along with another role (or several, in the case of a lot of small businesses). When something has to give, it often seems to be marketing that’s the thing that slips.  What’s more, agencies like to get briefs – but only marketers write briefs. We spotted a problem.

That’s why Blackbird Marketing aims to operate a bit differently. Rather than adopting what might be seen as a more traditional agency role, we act more like a marketing manager would do. What does this mean in practice? We characterise it like this:

  • We don’t always wait for a brief. If we’ve done our job and know our client’s business well enough then we consider ourselves responsible for defining it ourselves. This is especially pertinent when we’re acting on a retainer, when we make it our business to always be  actively seeking out the next opportunity. This doesn’t mean we go off and do stuff without telling our clients – but we’ll come to you with the action plan, not the other way around.
  • We’re persistent. We don’t ask for something once and then let a project hang around for months because a client hasn’t supplied us with the right stuff to complete it. This doesn’t mean we’ll harass you  forever – if you really can’t provide something then we’ll use our initiative and find another way.
  • We don’t treat commissioning third party services like print as a way of making more money out of clients. If you’re paying us a retainer, then we’re happy to find you the right person for the job at the right price and let them invoice you direct.

If you think this sounds like the kind of approach that would work for your marketing, then please click here to get in touch.


From my years spent working at larger agencies, I bring a proven strategic approach and apply exacting standards to the work produced by Blackbird Marketing. At the same time, I value flexibility and a personal approach and believe my clients do too.

Catherine Blackwell, Director


Working with SMEs can represent a great opportunity for a marketer – they have to be smart with their resources so it’s about identifying opportunities and finding the most efficient ways to really make a difference.

  • I’m sensitive to the commercial realities of SME marketing – budgets aren’t limitless and initiatives need to work hard
  • I won’t try and sell you something because ‘it’s what I do’ – I recommend what’s right for your business, and if that means recommending other people, then that’s what I’ll do
  • I won’t compromise on quality
  • I’m passionate about what I do and bring that passion to my work. If a job’s not for me, I’ll tell you!
  • I’ll always talk like a human being – and won’t hide behind buzzwords and jargon.

Project work

We can work with you on a project by project or ad hoc basis.

Retained services

We can also provide a retained service, usually as a capped number of days per month.

Contact us today for an informal chat about your marketing
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