Mark Ash is CEO at Pure360 and started his career at DoubleClick during the early days of digital advertising.
Though email may be seen by some as long in the tooth, as far as digital channels go, it is still as effective as ever and home to plenty of innovation, from personalisation to AMP.
Ash tells us more about running the business and what his average day demands.
Hi Mark. Please describe your job: What do you do?
Mark Ash: As CEO of Pure360, my job entails supporting and developing my team so that they can collectively work towards achieving our company goals. Pure360 is a leader in data-driven marketing automation, email marketing, web and mobile personalisation. We’ve been a trusted provider for 1,000s of brands for over 18 years now.
Our mission is to support our customers to be the best marketers they can be. That means giving our customer not just great tools but also the practical support they need to deliver outstanding marketing campaigns. This is what drives consumer engagement and, ultimately, outstanding campaign performance. We provide our customers with learning and development programmes supported by a first class customer success team who have delivered thousands of campaigns.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Mark Ash: I officially report to the board and to shareholders. However, I’m very much a team player and believe I am accountable to everyone who works with me at all levels. People really are the lifeblood of an organisation, and help make the business as successful as it is.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Mark Ash: As a leader within an organisation, I think knowing your ‘why’ is incredibly important. Knowing what drives you and others is absolutely essential for knowing how to get the best from your team. Having a clear vision is also important for steering a business towards its goal – something I’m ultimately responsible for driving.
Likewise, being curious and open-minded keeps a leader agile and ready to tackle whatever challenges present themselves in the future. I think it’s important to be comfortable with your own vulnerability so that you can embrace honest reflection and make the right changes where needed. Similarly, I believe it’s important to not take yourself too seriously – keep it fun and enjoy the ride.
I believe that these qualities set a good example for all team members to follow, which in turn, enables them to grow and be successful.
Tell us about a typical working day…
Mark Ash: No two days are the same. Invariably, I pivot my focus towards an ongoing list of projects that the leadership team have agreed on in pursuit of our business goals.
However, I like to spend as much time with my team and with customers as I can, as this is something I really enjoy. I thrive on trying to come up with solutions to solve problems or make improvements. This might be in the form of supporting a marketing or client event, working on a strategy with our amazing customer success team, delivering a coaching session to a team member or writing content for our Pure Academy training platform.
Other than that, I do anything I can to avoid getting too deep into spreadsheets.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Mark Ash: Those Eureka moments such as solving a problem, hearing a customer’s delight to a new solution, hearing about a campaign that has smashed all performance expectation or hearing about new customer wins. I also love training sessions that deliver the penny-drop moment, seeing smiling teams within the office, watching the product team devise a new solution – I live for all those light bulb moments that lead to meaningful, positive change.
What sucks? Dealing with issues when they’re too late to fix.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Mark Ash: Our goal is to become the marketing automation provider of choice for marketers in the UK. This will ultimately be based on the reputation we have for the outstanding work that we do. In terms of KPIs, this is demonstrated through organic growth and referral. The ways in which we treat our staff and customers plays a big part in this and we use a number of different feedback measurements; for example, our customer health scores, net retention and NPS scores. We also monitor staff health through Peakon and other KPIs. The business financial metrics are the by-product of a healthy ‘people’ business.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Mark Ash: Communication with the leadership team is absolutely essential. Face to face is always the preferred method of communication, but where this isn’t possible, my phone is my favourite tool for getting the job done. Slack and Google Hangouts also keep us all connected wherever we are. CRM and customer health metrics keep me abreast of what’s going on in the business.
How did you end up at Pure360, and where might you go from here?
Mark Ash: I was approached about the opportunity to work with a talented bunch of individuals in an established company with aspirations to take the business in a new direction. So many of its values and attributes aligned with my own, it felt like a great match. Who could say no?
Which campaigns have impressed you lately?
Mark Ash: Some of the work that our clients are doing is extremely impressive and is generating some fantastic results. It’s amazing results that impress me most. For example, our client Luke1977 is a fashion brand that has doubled its revenues by implementing automated personalised retargeting campaigns. Similarly, Fitness Superstore has been able to save a huge amount of time and resource by consolidating its email and web personalisation tech into one, which has allowed them to deliver outstanding ROI.
What is the bleeding edge of email right now?
Mark Ash: Interactive real-time email is powering a transformation of the format. Google AMP gives us a glimpse of what may be possible in the near future. The ability to activate script within the email body transforms the way people use the format and allows brands to deliver a more efficient and frictionless end-to-end experience like never before. Who needs to use apps or visit a website when you can do everything within an email on your mobile. It opens up all kinds of possibilities.
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