Karen to do double as marketing firm expands in one year
Karen Carmichael took over the helm at shopper marketing firm MXB at the age of just 28.
Now, aged 34, she's in charge of a company which is set to double staff numbers and turnover in the space of a year.
The Belfast-based agency now boasts a range of international multi-billion pound clients including Twitter and Procter & Gamble (P&G).
And with 13 years under her belt in marketing, and picking up accolades along the way - including being crowned IoD Young Director of the Year in 2012 - Mrs Carmichael has now grown the specialist agency significantly.
She married Derek two years ago - he is part of the Carmichael Group which owns a series of restaurants and hotels - and has a stepson, Jack (13).
"It's about creating a marketing campaign that influences shopping behaviour - influencing shoppers at each stage of the shopping journey," she said.
"We set out as an integrated marketing agency and we took the decision to position ourselves and specialise as a dedicated shopper marketing in 2014.
"Things have changed with online, and all major brands are having to target customers at different stages. And digital has become massively important, and that's our area of expertise. We are the first specialist in Ireland.
"That has had a big impact - we have experienced massive growth since we carved this out."
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Lisburn Road based agency is growing the team to some 16 workers.
A runner-up in this year's Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in the Excellence in Marketing category, MXB was commended for the itsforwomen.ie campaign.
Featuring Olympic boxing gold medallist Katie Taylor, the campaign helped Coleraine-based insurance company MCL Insurance double turnover in 12 months. "That's the brand we got shortlisted for in the Business Awards. They are based in Coleraine, and we acted for their campaign in the last year," she said.
And MXB is responsible for some big name clients - dealing in design and promotion of Twitter throughout Europe.
"We also export design and print to France, Italy, Spain and Canada through client brand Twitter," she said.
"We work with major global brands such as Twitter and are the appointed creative agency for P&G in Ireland creating shopper marketing campaigns for their range of brands across several categories and retail customers."
But MXB isn't resting on its laurels - with further plans to grow, especially into the UK market, over the next few years. "We definitely have an ambitious growth plan," Ms Carmichael said.
"And we will be targeting the UK market, and our growth plan will see us targeting clients in the next 12 months. We have really big plans."