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Coffee With Christian Thomson: Former Pro Surfer Makes Waves Online

Before Christian became specialized in Internet marketing, the British-born Langley resident created and built his first online travel company at the age of 19.

With zero investment and a whole lot of Internet marketing/Search Engine Optimization, the father of three was making sales of under a million dollars annually. He sold the company at the start of 2013 and now continues to provide marketing support for the growing business.

Clients include National Governing Bodies, the BBC, renewable energy firms, pro athletes, non profit organizations — just to name a few.

The former professional surfer is a dedicated, progressive and globally respected Internet marketing consultant based here in ‘the Valley who balances his work with play. Here’s the scoop on how this Valley Dad went from surfing waves to surfing and navigating the World Wide Web for his clients.


Tell us about yourself and your background.

I’m 32 and originally from England, and have been living in Canada for two years. I started surfing in Europe at the age of nine; I turned professional at the age of 19 through till the age of 25. During this time not only was I fortunate to surf around the world, but I was also lucky enough to work alongside some extremely good marketing and brand directors. I started to fall in love with marketing and set up my own online marketing agency called Marwick Marketing.


What brings you to ‘the Valley’?

In Spring 2012 my wife Theresa was diagnosed with advanced Lymptohmia. It came as quite a shock as a young family. We decided the most important thing was Theresa was near to her family which was Langley, Canada. We had a window of about two weeks in between chemo treatments to pack up everything in the UK and move to Canada. Early 2013, Theresa beat off Cancer. The kids and I have since fallen in love with B.C., so we’re here to stay! Tons of people ask how you can go from surfing professional around the world to living in Langley. That’s why ;-)


headshot Christian


Tell us about your family.

I’ve been married to Theresa who is from Cloverdale for over nine years. We have three kids Dylan (8), Summer and Joel who are four-year-old twins. We also have a very lazy cat called Monty and a funny looking Pug dog called Eva.


surfing2 (1)


Why did you make the switch from pro-surfing to ‘web-surfing’?

I love marketing. I also have over 12 years knowledge on channels like SEO and Google Adwords. When you combine a love for marketing with the nuts and bolts of Internet marketing, the results are great. I’m a very visual kind of person so seeing websites at the top makes me happy.


What do you enjoy most about your job? What is your biggest challenge?

I enjoy telling customers how much their website has improved, how much more business they are getting and working towards referrals and positive reviews as much as the financial payment for work.

The biggest challenge; there are two main areas. SEO is badly tarnished with ‘spammy’ unsolicited phone calls and e-mails, black hat SEO, people that have no idea what they are doing, basically a ton of BS. Once someone’s trust has been broken by one SEO firm or consultant, it’s hard to show them how it does work out.

The second one is educating business owners on how their marketing budget they already spend, on say Yellow Pages, could be better spent with Internet marketing. Not only how much more targeted it is, but how much more accountable the results are. There is a great blog from an established Fraser Valley business guy about how it’s hard to move from the “safe bets” of marketing to the newer channels that will gain the business the competitive edge. Especially if the business is already established.


Have most businesses embraced the power of search engine optimization? 

No, in fact we did a study of a 1,000 companies in the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce and a staggering 78% of the companies we looked at had a website that was not mobile responsive and lacked any form of search engine optimization. The ones that are doing will be reaping the rewards of the others not doing it.


If you could provide your top 5 tips for small business wanting to use Search Engine Optimization to their advantage, what would they be?

1. Do your research before you hire anyone. Ask for referrals and case studies.

2. Check your website to see how well it has been built using a free platform like this.

3. Never buy back links to your website

4. Be in control of where your website AND domain are hosted, they are your assets.

5. Install Google Analytics – it’s amazing how many companies do not currently use this free service.


All three kids and the pug surfing in Tofino


What do you enjoy most about living/working/playing in Langley?

I love the mountains and coming from England it’s great to have defined seasons! I find people seem to be much more upbeat and friendly compared to a lot of places I’ve travelled. Schools are good and ton’s of stuff for the kids to do.


What kinds of events/activities do you enjoy participating in with your family?

Camping, snowboarding, exploring the province, BBQ’s with friends, kite surfing…there’s so much to do here!


What do you love about being a dad?

Cuddles first thing in the morning. Seeing them asleep looking so restful and peaceful. Legitimately being allowed on the trampoline at 32 years old. Family dinners. Watching them grow physically and mentally. Being able to introduce so much to the new people. Sharing ideas and teaching them. The list goes on.


Where can we surf you online?

Twitter: @MarwickMarketin

Facebook: Marwick Marketing Company 

Website: www.marwickmarketing.com


Speaking of surfing…Check out Christian’s video!


One of Vancouver’s top Mom Bloggers, Kristyl Clark is a work-at-home mom of two little Valley girls proving there is nothing bland about the burbs. Her adventurous family seems to always be out on some sort of crazy quest, from helicopter rides and wild river rafting, to top-secret paranormal investigations and living the high-life sampling the fine wines and foods of the Fraser Valley region. The ValleyMom.ca blog inspires her loyal fanbase through the trials and tribulations of suburban family living, guiding readers to local hotspots and hidden gems in her Canadian backyard

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