Mark Bembridge is founder and CEO of Smartology, the adtech company that contextually places ads on premium publisher websites.
Smartology was founded in London in 2010, initially working with the BBC, FT, Independent and Evening Standard to target editorial content. In 2012, the technology was applied to advertising, with SmartMatch becoming a fully fledged platform in 2013.
We caught up with Bembridge to ask him about a typical day…
Please describe your job: What do you do?
As the founder of Smartology, I manage the business globally.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I am the CEO reporting into the board of directors.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
People and management skills are of key importance alongside being organised, tenacious, brave and entrepreneurial.
Tell us about a typical working day…
I typically check emails on the way into work to track international progress and prioritise a to-do list before diving into a mixture of internal and external meetings while working through other actions in between. Fire fighting also comes with the territory, so you need to be flexible to park whatever you are doing along the way as issues rise to the surface.
Where possible, I try to end the day with time for my wife and daughters before taking time to work again after they tire of my company!
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I love the creativity of bringing a highly skilled and professional team together to drive innovation successfully. When it works, it’s an incredibly satisfying feeling. I also like to fix problems and work well under pressure. Admin sucks.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
All early stage companies become increasingly focused on goals and objectives as the business expands. Our software engineers follow a strict Agile methodology, operations work with kanban, and global KPIs across the sales funnel are of key importance to track.
Alongside this, staff morale is always a key objective to drive your business and regular appraisals and comprehensive tracking of staff goals is of critical importance.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Apple Reminders, LinkedIn, corporate Gmail, Google Drive, CRM, Xero and Pleo.
How did you start Smartology and where might you go from here?
I started Smartology having spent time commercialising base AI technology within the media sector for a Finnish company, which gave me a strong foundation to drive Smartology. I’m here for the foreseeable, so I can’t think that far ahead yet.
Which publisher-brand partnerships do you admire?
UBS has done some fantastic award-winning work with Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal.
From a SmartMatch perspective, Mischon de Reya and London Business School campaigns running on the Financial Times have been stand out successes alongside Nomura who run on several publishers including The Economist and Bloomberg. What sets these clients apart is their dedication to producing high quality branded content throughout the year.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to work in digital at a publisher?
Digital is clearly the future despite the fact that the publishing industry is more at risk today than ever before at a commercial level. But while there are many challenges including the Google, Facebook duopoly, GDPR and brand safety, the complexity of digital media also makes it a fascinating area where there is much to learn and innovation can drive real change.
There will always be a need for high quality trusted journalism so while the sector will continue to see further consolidation, I believe now more than ever that digital publishing is a secure industry to cut your teeth on inspiring and important work.
If you’re looking to re-skill for your next role, Econsultancy offers a wealth of digital marketing training courses.