Meet the small Scarborough firm entering its 20th year as it prepares for "rapid change" in the digital sector

The founders of Yorkshire-based Emailmovers have said they are preparing for the digital industry to “rapidly change”, as the firm enters its 20th year in business.

Founded in 2003 by brothers Duncan and Jamie Gledhill, the small, Scarborough-based email marketing firm holds a list of global brands within its client base, including Microsoft and IBM.

Speaking of how the next 20 years could look for both Emailmovers and the wider digital industry, Jamie said: “The space is changing so rapidly. The pace at which it has been going this last couple of years has been phenomenal.

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“Artificial intelligence is going to transform all industries - especially digital - and if companies don't embrace that, and look ahead 12 or 18 months, and see where the technology is going, I don't know where they’ll be.

Brothers and Emailmovers founders Jamie (left) and Duncan (right) Gleghill celebrate the firm entering its 20th year.Brothers and Emailmovers founders Jamie (left) and Duncan (right) Gleghill celebrate the firm entering its 20th year.
Brothers and Emailmovers founders Jamie (left) and Duncan (right) Gleghill celebrate the firm entering its 20th year.

“That's where our focus is, we’re looking at where the technology is taking us, and how we can help companies to use it.”

Next week, the company is set to launch an artificial intelligence powered instant chat, designed to help people unfamiliar with emails to formulate them, assisting with tasks such as writing copy and subject lines.

“It's been trained by us, and it's been put together using our 20 years experience,” said Duncan, “which is a really interesting thing for us.”

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Since being founded in 2003, its founders estimate that the self-funded business has brought in around £20 million to the local economy. The firm also has a reach of over 700 million contacts across 54 million companies.

“Our first office was in our bedroom really,” said Duncan, discussing the firm’s early days.

“When you do something like this, you dont think further than tomorrow, you’re just trying to make enough money to buy groceries and pay your rent. If you can do that, you don't have to go and find a job.”

“Duncan and I started the business with a couple of phones in our bedrooms. Literally that and an idea,” added Jamie.

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The pair noted how in recent months, they have begun to see new sectors reaching out for help with email marketing, including firms working in recycling, training and recruiting. Duncan stated his belief that this is part of a wider shift in the digital industry.

“Ad space is often now the only way a lot of companies can monetise their model, and the problem is that most of that is through just two companies, Facebook and Google, who now account for 75 per cent of all online ad spend,” he said.

“So if either of those companies make a decision, it can have a significant impact on a business, and all of the employees working in that business.

“But email is independent, no one company can make a decision that affects your whole business, and so we’re really benefiting from people realising that. There's a lot of change happening at quite a profound level with how businesses think, and their tolerance to the dominance of Facebook Google."

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After initially setting up an office in London in the business's early days, the pair soon decided to move back to Scarborough, where both had grown up.

"We both spent the majority of our lives in Scarborough, and I think there was this feeling that there was nothing we couldn't do from here that we could have done in London,” said Jamie.

“We also wanted to really give back to the economy locally. We felt it was quite a unique opportunity because we deal with such big brands, global brands, and we just felt that the people in Scarborough would be equally as up for the challenge as the people anywhere else in the county, and we've not been proven wrong.”