Mark Bond joined Croud as Chief Operating Officer in early 2019. Since then he has travelled to all four of Croud’s offices in New York, Shrewsbury, Sydney and London, met everyone across the business and gained a real insight into the way Croud works.
We spent five minutes with Mark, delving into his experience to date, what attracted him to Croud, as well as discussing what the future has in store for the agency.
What attracted you to Croud?
Firstly, it was interesting. Digital marketing is so fundamental to what we see, feel and do and I wanted to explore it further. It was important for me to do something that I was interested in.
Secondly, the culture and the people. I wanted to work in an organisation where I would feel comfortable and where I could make a useful contribution. After meeting the founders, Ben and Luke, I could see myself working with them and using my knowledge and background to help drive the agency forward.
Thirdly, it was an organisation where I thought I could make a difference. We defined the role, and with my background working client-side, working with startups, and running a bunch of companies which were similar in size, I had good experience to bring to the leadership team. This was particularly the case with Serpico, which is to be a massive part of Croud’s future, as my experience managing in-house teams, understanding the types of issues they face, and having done lots of in-sourcing and out-sourcing, would hopefully be an asset.
Tell us about the role of Chief Operating Officer, what do you do day-to-day?
A typical date for me is pretty varied! I’ve done a fair bit of travel in the past few months to our other offices as I have been getting a feel for how Croud works globally. A typical day could be going to a pitch and seeing an existing client – there is a large client interface element to the role. The other part of my day is operational and often consists of a bunch of meetings where we examine how Croud runs, if we have the right people in place, what’s in Croud’s future and do we have the right resources, planning and skills to accommodate this. The aim is to ensure we are always set up to deliver the best work, in the most efficient way, to our clients.
You mentioned travel, what have been the main differences between Croud’s offices?
What’s really nice is that Croud is fairly uniform around the world and all the offices have the Croud feel – I think we have done a good job of creating such a strong culture. The main difference is between the UK and the Sydney / New York offices, where the teams are smaller, and therefore feel like how Croud UK would have done three years ago. They work together, play together and drink together – they are all very tight communities. Once you get to 150 staff, it’s hard to be as close-knit.
What do you find most interesting in digital?
I would have to say client strategy as I am interested in how you deploy the individual elements, the overarching strategy, the impact and how you choose the entire marketing mix. I don’t have the deep functional interest to work in a channel like SEO, so I won’t be changing role anytime soon. I wouldn’t want to disappoint Piers by not wanting to talk about the finer points of SEO on a regular basis in the Windmill either!
What does the future look like for Croud?
My ambitions are to grow the company; to double or triple the company’s size in the next two to three years, whilst maintaining the culture. It is about putting the right things in place, so that we don’t compromise the way we deliver, how we operate or what our culture is. It’s all about managing the growth.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to join our industry?
It’s been a long time since I tried to get into a field, and there are a lot of people at Croud who are in a better position to advise on this! I have a philosophy that if you are passionate about a subject, have an openness to learn and a positive attitude, you can achieve anything. Having deep functional expertise is not the most important thing, it’s about being driven, being willing to learn and willing to listen.
So having poked fun at Piers’ passion for SEO I have to own up to my own obsession, I have seven bicycles. There is always at least one in pieces as I frequently take them apart and rebuild them – if you’re daft enough to ask, I can bore you with the details. “Why on earth do you need seven bikes?” you ask. If you’re not a cyclist I will never be able to get you to understand why it’s absolutely necessary!
If you would like to find out more about Mark, or Croud, get in touch.