Joe Pascoe

‎Senior Marketing Manager, ‎Victorian Plumbing

Ben Somerset-How

Client Director Creativebrief


Cheryl Rosenthal

Creativebrief: How has your career path led you to marketing at Victorian Plumbing?

Joe Pascoe: I’ve been working with Victorian Plumbing since 2012, joining as the only dedicated marketing staff member way-back when we were a much smaller retailer.

As the business grew rapidly, so did the team and my responsibilities. I was very fortunate to be taken on, trusted and given the chance to develop alongside a rapidly growing business.

I briefly took some time out last year after relocating to Birmingham, but I was fortunate enough to be asked back to head up a new digital-dedicated location in the city centre.

Creativebrief: Why did you choose a career in marketing?

Joe Pascoe: I’m actually from a creative background, with little formal business training. After studying at art school, I finished my degree in photography but never felt that I wanted to pursue a solely creative career.

I’ve always been a huge fan of brands and retail, and spent a lot of time, even at a very young age, self-learning a tool-belt of skills across digital to help me forge my own path.

I’ve never been, but I can’t imagine a stuffy business school curriculum being able to keep up with the constantly-changing digital landscape that me and my team see at the front line.

Creativebrief: In the last 5 years your revenue has rocketed from £4m to £120m. Can you tell us the drivers behind this success?

Joe Pascoe: With the recession, the market changed to be extremely value driven - so we positioned ourselves as a much cheaper, convenient alternative to showroom or retail-park retailers.

Our MD, Mark Radcliffe gave the marketing team full support to grow our acquisition channels as quickly as possible. No business was too-much, and we focused our attention on scaling extremely granular PPC acquisition campaigns whilst maintaining profitability. This has paid off extremely well - we’re by far the most profitable in our space; similarly sized competitors are struggling and we’re going from strength to strength.

Our success has also driven by a brilliant product strategy, focused around breadth and depth in stocked brands and in-house designs. Victorian Plumbing’s range is even unique against other online bathroom retailers.

Creativebrief: You led Victorian Plumbing into TV advertising. Is there a new marketing channel on the agenda that you are appraising for the business?

Joe Pascoe: It’s important for Victorian Plumbing to take a second look at bricks and mortar retailers, as a substantial percentage of the market still goes to these retailers over us. I want us to be aggressive in taking business away from offline retailers such as B&Q and Bathstore to maintain our growth.

It’s very difficult for us to give the advice and personalised help these retailers offer to our 2 million monthly website visitors, so we’re looking at scalable CRM campaigns and personalisation solutions to create tailored experiences for each visitor.

Creativebrief: What do you think are the main challenges facing marketers today?

Joe Pascoe: Having faith in TV to deliver brand-building objectives is tough. I’ve always known digital, but I struggle to buy into third party tools and outdated reporting methods to accurately report how well TV campaigns are delivered.

The steady drop in overall TV viewing paired with the increasing amount of advertisers spending on TV again is a little worrying; TV is unrivalled in being able to tell stories on a large scale.

Creativebrief: Can you tell us a little about your use of CGI?

Joe Pascoe: All of the product imagery for Victorian Plumbing products are now computer generated - from high quality models and photo-realistic renders. Victorian Plumbing were the first in our space to embrace the use of CGI in our merchandising. As an online retailer, accurate and inspiring product imagery is extremely important to us and we took a lot of learnings from the kitchen industry on how to create CGI renders of our product.

Currently, we have five full-time team members working within CGI for us and every product has been created as a highly detailed 3D model. This allows us to be very agile in creating product imagery for the present customer requirements.

More importantly, this sets us up extremely well for the future retail experience - whether that’s something as simple as offering a 3D planner, or something that uses augmented or virtual reality.

Creativebrief: What campaigns have really stood out to you this year?

Joe Pascoe: It has been an interesting year for big campaigns, lots of brands have tried to capitalise on fast-moving social issues - some successfully, some not. I thought Lynx did well with the ‘is it ok for guys..’ campaign. I also really enjoyed the Baz Luhrmann film for the H&M x Erdem collection - I’m a big fan of film for fashion, and it’ll be interesting to see how they top last year’s Wes Anderson advert at Christmas - probably my favourite Christmas campaign of all time.

Creativebrief: Do you see yourself as a generalist or a specialist, does it matter?

Joe Pascoe: A generalist, for sure. It’s extremely important to have a wide range of skills - my goal is to lead my own retail business in the future, and I’ve found that those who succeed are those who are able to be self-sufficient from end to end, especially in the early years. Even when recruiting, I’m naturally drawn to people who self-learn and use personal time to develop their skill set.

At Victorian Plumbing, members of the team who adapt to business needs and tailor their output based on what’s required by the business always tend to do well.