How are you settling into your new role?
It has been an unique and impressive transition period of two months since I started as zanox CEO in February with lots of travelling and many inspiring conversations with old and new colleagues, partners and customers all over Europe. As a special challenge I had to cover two jobs in two wonderful cities at one time for a short period – my new position as CEO of the zanox group in Berlin and ensuring a smooth transition to Lauri Koop, my successor as Managing Director zanox-M4N Benelux in Amsterdam. But since March I am more than 100% focused on creating a successful future for the zanox group. And Berlin is now my new home during the week - my family will move in August.
How does it differ from your time at M4N?
TJ: Sometimes numbers are not everything even in Performance Advertising – but sometimes numbers give you a pretty good idea of what has changed. So instead of managing about 60 people in the Amsterdam office, now I am - together with my board colleagues Stefanie, Joachim and Christian - responsible for more than 600 international colleagues in 12 countries across Europe. With this ambitious team we enable 90 million online sales per year on a global scale for more than 4,000 companies and co-operating with thousands of innovative publishers. This international environment has created a unique spirit driven by passion, a straight “hands-on” mentality and openness among the people at zanox.
What is it you are hoping to do differently from your predecessor?
TJ: Our former CEO Philipp Justus has helped zanox to become the European market leader in performance based advertising. His idea of creating a single strong European network was one of the reasons for me to join the zanox group and integrating M4N in the zanox network. When working in the Berlin HQ you also can feel the spirit of the three founders Thomas, Heiko and Jens still lingering in the company. So now it is time to go for a global roll out where we will focus on the innovative power of publishers who will adapt to the tremendous growth in usage of different devices like tablets and smart phones by consumers. Offline and online are blurring, old media can be used with new media.
When your new role was announced, there was a quote from you about expanding the 'platform and services to further devices and sales channels'. Could you provide some specifics on the expansion plans you have?
TJ: The dramatically changing consumer buying behaviour triggered by new devices and the availability of mobile internet states a new challenge for the transaction-based performance advertising industry: Advertisers, publishers and networks must adapt to this new freedom of choice of consumers – not the other way around. But I am convinced that the developments in the mobile domain create new opportunities for us as an industry – bringing our philosophy of performance advertising to new devices like smartphones, SmartTVs or even to offline retail stores. This is a great opportunity for a network like zanox to promote and integrate innovative new publisher models and new technologies and to connect them with our advertisers across Europe – in order to offer the right solution for the consumer at the right place and the right time with the best-possible digital shopping experience. Opening up the zanox platform, providing more access with apis and supporting publishers to use our data to really come up with innovative new concepts are ingredients for further growth.
In your opinion, what benefits does the Netherlands hold over other European markets for performance marketing companies hoping to expand into the country?
TJ: It is the Dutch consumer who is really testing and adopting new technologies in a very unique pace. Companies who are looking for an “early adopter market” in the field of digital commerce and digital advertising will find their perfect match in the Netherlands.
a4uexpo Europe is returning to the Netherlands. What does this mean to you on a personal level and to zanox?
TJ: For me personally – I can ride my bike to the a4uexpo Europe location in Amsterdam which is actually right where I live. And for zanox – we have already showcased at a4uexpo with our local offices in London, Munich and Barcelona – so we are happy now to host a4uexpo Europe with our Amsterdam team for the second time.