Company: Media Frenzy Global
Title: CEO and Founder
Industry: Public Relations & Communication
From a quaint town in southern England, Sarah Tourville started Media Frenzy Global Media Frenzy Global in 2006 after working many years for Motorola, Inc. in London where she managed their media and analyst relations program. This experience equipped her with strong industry connections, experience in implementing international media campaigns, and an enthusiasm to impact organizations through accountability and results.
With this fusion of knowledge and desire, Sarah quickly started working with a variety of businesses, from major tech names to start-ups, helping them create powerful and memorable tech brands.
After spending some time in Dubai, Sarah found herself in Atlanta, where she opened the U.S. office in 2013. Now operating on a local, national and international level, Media Frenzy Global is fueled by the excitement of stirring the market, causing a commotion, and grabbing attention. Clients know that our work makes an impact on their business, and they come to Media Frenzy Global for our culture of collaboration, our innovative thinking, and sometimes for Sarah’s English accent.
In your own words, can you tell me about your professional journey in getting started to where you are now, what your path has been?
Sarah Tourville: I’ve been in public relations and marketing all my career. I did a university degree in International Marketing, where I majored in languages, so I spent some studying in England and in France, which was lovely.
That’s really where it started… I wouldn’t say I’ve always loved technology. I just love the technology industry. There’s a level of professionalism in the industry that you don’t always see in other industries and, at the same time, it’s just constantly changing. After doing my marketing internship in London at a tech company, I knew it was the field for me. I started out with a company called Worldspan, which is now called Travelport. Their HQ is here in Atlanta.
It’s weird. I was traveling to Atlanta from England at the beginning of my career not knowing I’d ever live here. In fact I became quite familiar with Vinings and loved it. Worldspan was a great place to work. I helped launched Expedia across Europe the first online travel booking site, and while I loved the travel industry it wasn’t quite where I wanted to be in technology. I wanted to work for one of the top 500 companies that were disrupting an industry. I wanted to learn from the best. I wanted to be next to the best in corporate.
At the time, Motorola was in its heyday. Its market share in the US was significant and in Europe it was growing, so I joined Motorola. My first day I went to Turkey, and I was marketing to resellers in Istanbul, and then I was sent to Dubai and Prague. I was responsible for PR and Marketing across Eastern Europe and Middle East East and North Africa at a young age of 24, but it was great.
I spent a good amount of time learning about different markets, how to you arrange press conferences in Istanbul, media training in Prague, who the influential media are in each market, how to customize the messaging. I loved everything about it and I was good at my job.
After spending 7 years at Motorola and working with many agencies, I believed I had what it took to launch my own company. I care about my customers, attention to detail, communications and the impression you make through inspiring words and visuals. There was also a gap in the market for someone with these values who understood the tech space particularly telecoms and mobile. I went ahead and set up the agency, and that was in 2006. We were lucky. Our first client was Symbian which was Nokia’s open-source partner, so we launched the first ever open source platform across key markets in Europe,… It was my first client, and it was great, and I loved being my own boss. It just really snowballed from there.
We just celebrated 10 years in business. It’s all been around Public Relations and Digital Marketing helping tech companies or companies that leverage new technologies to tell their story and build their brand.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Sarah Tourville: I think as every entrepreneur would say or any business owner, it’s just completely mixed. I have a 70-30 split in terms of what I do. 30% is I’m overseeing what’s going on with our clients, and I’m touching every client as much as I can. I am also out regularly building relationships, doing speaker engagements and at industry events. I’m the one building the business and building the revenue and the company, so it’s about meeting prospects and building the brand.
Time management is such a huge skill that everyone has a different approach to. What kind of time management tips do you have as far as when you’re an entrepreneur and you’re having to do a little bit of everything and still do the business development?
Sarah Tourville: I try and be very purposeful about what I do. I feel like I am pretty good at time management. It’s taken me years to be good at it. I’ll work nights, many nights if I have to. So maybe I’m not good at time management after all? Probably not, because I’m the one turning my laptop on at 9:30 most nights when I put the kids to bed. There’s only so much I can do in a day. I’m up early. I try to workout most mornings and I’m always thinking about that 70-30 rule (70% on the business and 30% in the business).
When it feels like I’m too much in the business and not on the business, I pull back. Katie our VP of PR and Marketing does an amazing job being in the business and she handles most day to fay things so I can focus on the business. So I have to always be mindful about what I am doing and who I am meeting with. You never want to be arrogant about meeting someone only if they’re the right person to meet, but you’ve got to be a little selective. You cannot share your time with everybody. It’s being, again, very purposeful about what I’m doing.
How do you turn yourself off at the end of the day? I know we just talked about sometimes you don’t, but how do you pull back and just have “you” time?
Sarah Tourville: I don’t know. “Me” time is working out or horse riding. At night it’s hard especially if I’m worried about something. I’ve had many nights where I knew I wouldn’t sleep so I get up and get work done. In fact I am very productive at 2am. I also love running and running, mentally helps me. I answer many questions when I’m running and solve problems.
When you were first putting your team together, and even now when you look at adding people to your team, what kind of qualities do you look for in your employees? How do you find the right fit?
Sarah Tourville: I think it’s hard finding good talent. Not to say there’s not a lot of good skilled people. There are, but you want such a combination of criteria in that person. I was very lucky, because my first hire and my second hire are still with me today.
I tend to assess people by how they handle the entire interview process. Are they on time, prepared, inquisitive, smart? When negotiating how do they manage themselves? Are they professional throughout?.
I am looking for professional yet easygoing people, people who genuinely want to be part of something growing and be the best at what they do. I want to give everyone the platform to be their best, support the Media Frenzy vision and together we will create something amazing. Jessica our senior marketing manager is the epitome of what Media Frenzy is about. We recently went through a challenging project and I thanked her for commitment and dedication. Her reply was,”I’m just happy to be apart of it.” The fact that she still feels this way after nearly 4 years means a lot. That’s what it’s about. Be apart of it. It’s not going to always be good, but it’s going to be fun along the way. Flexibility, open mindedness, passionate about what you do, not seeing it as a job. Maybe they sound pretty common, but that’s what it takes.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge that you’ve faced professionally?
Sarah Tourville: The biggest challenge is probably me. I need a lot of energy to do what I do and in 10 years time, I question if I am going to want to continue at 120 miles per hour. Right now I love my job. I see the opportunity to create the most successful tech agency in America and for as long as I can see that vision and stay healthy and still have a family life, I won’t let anything get in my way. Of course there will be challenges, but the team and I will deal with these together.
Sarah’s App Recommendations
It’s always hard to focus on your brand when you’re focusing on your client’s brands. It falls in second place behind your clients.
Sarah Tourville: It is. You’re completely right. I would say it’s only been the last six months where we actually have a progressive marketing and PR plan for Media Frenzy. We dabbled for the first couple of years, but we are now at the point where every Monday at our internal team meeting, we go through each client, and Media Frenzy is on that list as a client. We treat ourselves as the client. If we don’t treat ourselves like that, we’re going to limit growth.
Who would you consider your mentor to be or someone that’s really influenced you professionally?
Sarah Tourville: I am not sure I have a mentor. There are two people however we influence me daily. The first is my husband who is a smart businessman. I tell him everything. He listens and he advises, and he’s my brick. I would say the other mentor is Katie Kern who is our VP at Media Frenzy. She doesn’t mince her words. She says what she thinks in a very honest, authentic way, and I respect her opinion hugely. And then there are women entrepreneurs in tech. I have huge respect for any woman that builds her own business in a world where there is still inequality. It’s not easy.
What three pieces of advice would you offer to another female who’s looking to start up a business?
Sarah Tourville: First of all, choose a business that you have a passion for. I hear people sitting down and saying, “What business can we do? We should’ve done that …” I don’t believe it works that way. You need to choose something you have some knowledge in and passion for. Identify that passion.
Second thing would be find the right people. Even though that takes time and sometimes you can’t hire for a while, but for that first hire, make it a good hire.
The third one is about staying focused and not being swayed and manipulated by people who want a share of what you have created. I have met several people over the last few years who want to partner or take a percentage of the business because they think I need them. So don’t give it away easily. Stay focused on your path. I don’t think you need to look for people to lean on..
Fun Fact: What Song Best Describes Sarah’s Life?
“I believe this song is the epitome of what I think my past is and what I represent. Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This.”
“Sweet dream are made of this. Who am I to disagree? I travel the world and the seven seas. Everybody’s looking for something. Some of us want to use you. Some of them …”
“Some people do want to latch on, and it’s about, again, what is your sweet dream? What’s that dream you’re creating for yourself? I love Annie Lennox. She’s huge into community, to giving back, and she’s a very strong woman.” Tourville says..
Today, Sarah Tourville‘s company, Media Frenzy Global, has eight full-time employees here in the U.S. and four full-time in the UK – in addition to a range of different consultants for additional support in writing and creative work. Their next big challenge? Growth. They’re hiring right now, and looking for more media consultants to strengthen the team. They also have several partnerships on the horizon. Tourville describes it as a partnership of agencies that she’s really excited about. She’s also equally excited about joining the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBNEC), which is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States.
“It’s great that the U.S. recognizes female-owned businesses and provides incentives for large corporates to work with small women owned businesses. I am looking forward to learning from other women who have achieved national status and growth for their business and apply this to Media Frenzy.
Want to learn more about Media Frenzy Global? Follow Sarah and her company at the links below.