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Investors aim for digital revolution

A group of North East entrepreneurs has set up a new national digital marketing company, which has already signed contracts worth £100,000

Andrew Barratt, grandson of Sir Lawrie Barratt - founder of house building giant Barratt Homes - has teamed up with Chris March, who set up and subsequently sold publishing house Room 501, and digital marketing expert Steven Parker.

The trio have set up Digital Allies, based in the Evolve Business Centre, Rainton Bridge, offering expert and independent advice on all aspects of digital marketing. It works together with clients on their digital strategy, procurement, talent management and training & coaching.

Parker, who is the new company's managing director, has been working in digital marketing for more than 10 years, with Trinity Mirror (North East) and Mediaworks. He is a part-time lecturer for Nesma, the North East Sales and Marketing Academy, teaching on the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Digital Marketing Institute programmes.

He says: "Unique is an overused word, but Digital Allies is the only consultancy I'm aware of that offers a full advisory service across each digital marketing discipline, which is fully independent. We are also the only business in the North East offering digital procurement services specifically for the private sector.''

Digital Allies has already secured work on large projects in the hospitality, public sector, higher education, insurance, and legal sectors. It has six staff and aims to have 14 employees and turnover of more than £600,000 within two years.

Barratt, who has worked in marketing and now owns a student property portfolio and luxury holiday lets company, says: "I was eager to invest in Digital Allies. Having worked in various marketing roles in regional and national organisations I immediately recognised the need for such a consultancy. Digital marketing is a rapidly evolving area and it is almost impossible for senior executives to keep abreast of the latest developments, or to know whether their advisers - internal or external - are truly expert and up-to-date. What they need is a trusted ally.''

March, Digital Allies chairman, says: "We have great ambitions for Digital Allies. This is a national company but we are firmly based in the region and proud of our North East roots.''