Andreas Pouros is co-founder and CEO of Greenlight, and has been a valued contributor to Econsultancy over the years. Let’s find out what he does, and how.
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Please describe your job: What do you do?
Andreas Pouros: I’m the CEO and co-founder of Greenlight, leading 150 people into our 16th year of delivering award-winning, best-in-class digital for some of the biggest brands on the planet.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
AP: I sit at the top, but report into 150 employees and 60 clients.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
AP: Quick decision making, strategic clarity, embodying our values, empowering others and listening a lot.
Tell us about a typical working day…
AP: I typically start work at 6:30am every morning on the train, getting into the office just after 7am. I will work intensively from 7am until around 8:15am on anything that requires some uninterrupted focus, e.g. writing a new business proposal or documenting a new strategy for a client.
By 9am the office is full of people. I have 12 direct reports, which many would say is too many, but it works for us because it means we have a flat structure and decisions can be made and executed very quickly. It’s how we’ve remained nimble and unbureaucratic as we’ve grown. This means that on any given day I will have a short catch-up with one or two of my directors. We’ll review their departmental performance, discuss any challenges they may be facing with their staff, clients, suppliers or processes. Sometimes this will result in some actions for me, for example, designing a new way of working or supporting one of our staff with some strategy work.
I’m a solid networker so I’ll meet new people almost daily and sometimes more formally in our invite-only KingCon Roundtable Conference. This often generates lots of new ideas about how we can improve our business, often brings us new business opportunities and partnerships. I think being open to new ideas and being curious is important in our sector and in leadership generally.
Finally, I hate being a bottleneck for anything so before I leave the office, without fail, I will make sure I’ve responded to all outstanding emails and everyone has what they might need to do their jobs. I’ll check emails periodically into the evening, just in case a member of my staff or a client might need something that I can respond immediately to.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
AP: I love working with people – staff, clients, suppliers and seeing things go from concept to delivering real return.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
AP: My overriding goal is to build and maintain a business that incrementally delivers more and more value to our staff and clients over time. A place where people love to work and clients never leave. The only metrics that I think really matter:
Revenue and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) obviously, and our YoY growth rate across those two metrics are amongst the most important. Similarly, client satisfaction and retention rate, including our Drum Recommends Rating. Lastly, staff satisfaction and retention rate, including our Glassdoor Rating is extremely important to me.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
AP: The collaborative document production features of Office 365 and Salesforce.
How did you get started in digital, and where might you go from here?
AP: I began my obsession with digital whilst at university where I taught myself SEO (before it was even called SEO), built several hundred websites and became a high value affiliate for some big brands, mainly in the travel sector. That was a lonely world though and I really do need human interaction so the obvious step was to take that knowledge, passion and experience and focus it on building an agency. Today, we are trying to build the agency of the future, one that can demonstrate as much excellence in creativity as it does with technology.
We currently offer over a dozen services, including systems integration, brand strategy, affiliates, SEO, PPC, display, data, and are award winning now in most of them. We believe that clients are increasingly fatigued by having lots of agencies with none of them taking real accountability for delivering growth or transformation. We think we’ve built an agency that is the best reflection of what customers now need and want. We’re beating some of the big management consultancies in pitches for big, expansive digital transformation briefs, so we’re starting to feel confidently vindicated that our way is the right way.
Which brands are doing particularly well in digital at the moment?
AP: The only brands genuinely doing well now in digital are those that have truly understood that good digital today requires a combination of excellence in branding, marketing, data and technological enablement. Amazon is the poster child for that – it backs up its proposition with spectacular logistics, good tools, exceptional tech-driven customer support. Those that don’t invest in all those areas, will not be able to compete and we’ve seen ample evidence of that recently, where a physical high street presence and regular TV campaigns just isn’t enough to survive anymore.
Do you have any advice for people who want to get into digital?
AP: Join a small to medium-sized agency, even at entry level. You’ll work on lots of brands and across lots of channels. You’ll learn loads very, very quickly. It can be intense but it will accelerate your career like nothing else can.
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