Digital shake-up leads to firm’s four day week

John Readman (second from left) and the team at digital marketing firm Modo25, which has a four-day working week and says it pays London wages in Leeds.
John Readman (second from left) and the team at digital marketing firm Modo25, which has a four-day working week and says it pays London wages in Leeds.
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A Yorkshire entrepreneur has revealed ambitious plans to shake up the digital marketing world by launching a new business which offers its staff a four-day working week on a full-time salary and London wages.

John Readman, who is behind the growth of several digital agencies including Summit Media and Search Laboratory, has launched Modo25 with the seven-figure backing of Skyscanner founder Bonamy Grimes.

The Leeds-based business, which he described as a hybrid digital marketing and advertising technology firm, intends to create at least 30 jobs in the next 12 months in the city.

Mr Readman said the new venture was launched in response to a shift in the market with more businesses trying to bring their digital marketing in-house. “We want to help companies do their own digital marketing by helping them with strategy, training and recruitment,” he told The Yorkshire Post. “There’s still a massive lack of trust between brands and agencies and there is a confusion over fees. We’re not an agency, we’re not in-house, we’re a bridge between the two.”

From the start, Mr Readman has made a surprising promise never to sell the business. “Businesses fail because their focus is on making a profit and growing to the point of sale,” he said. “That’s not what we’re about.”

Mr Readman said he was paying London wages in Leeds to attract the best talent. He added the company’s four-day week policy was going well so far.

“There’s a lot of research that shows if you have less time to do something you buckle down and get on with it,” he said. “We are getting just as much work done, if not more. It’s not about doing less work, it’s about smarter work.”

He added: “We want to attract people who are from Yorkshire, who moved down to London because they didn’t think opportunities like this existed in the region. We want to bring Yorkshire talent back to Yorkshire.”

Mr Readman said the seven-figure investment meant he was able to give staff ‘the best’ technology and equipment to help them do their jobs.

“We want to create an environment for success,” he added. “The reason why people come to work is changing and there are opportunities if you handle it in the right way.”

Modo25 currently employs a team of 10 who all have experience working with big retailers including Argos and Asos. The initial team includes chief operating officer Abi Liddle, an ex-client service director of Epiphany, and Mike Longfellow – an ex-client service director from Enjoy Digital.

Mr Readman also plans to recruit a global work-from-home associate workforce including students, stay-at-home parents, and retirees, to enable a rapid ability to scale.

The firm, which operates from offices at No.1 Aire Street, will typically work intensively with clients for six-12 months and then step back to provide support services to the in-house digital marketing team.

“In-house digital marketing often fails because the person responsible has no-on to ask when they have a question,” Mr Readman said. “This is the best of both worlds.”

One of its first clients is Haddow Holdings, a Bradford textile company, which has a swimwear brand.

Modo25 has also promised a profit share with all staff. In addition a percentage of profits each year will be split between a Yorkshire charity and 1morechild – a Ugandan orphanage. “We’re not just about growing to make a profit for shareholders,” Mr Readman said.