Q&A: Tina Judic of Found reveals what it takes to become Marketing Agency Leader of the Year

Tina Judic of Found was named Agency Leader of the Year at the recent Drum Agency Business Awards,

At The Drum Agency Business Awards 2018 last month, Tina Judic, chief executive officer of performance marketing agency Found, received the Marketing Agency Leader of the Year award for agencies of up to 100 staff. The Drum Network spoke to Tina for her reaction to the award and to quiz her on the secrets of great leadership…

Congratulations on your recent award – what’s been the reaction to your win so far?

It's been fantastic! From colleagues and clients through to people I haven't spoken to in years popping up to say ‘well done’ and prompting long-overdue catch-ups. My diary has never been so busy and I never quite realised how far afield these awards are regarded. It’s rather humbling.

What’s really been special has been the response from the team here at Found. It’s lovely for us to win awards, but this one, in particular, very much recognises our amazing team effort so it was lovely to celebrate something which really shows off our agency, what we’ve achieved and where we’re heading.

And the actual award itself is one of the best I've seen (and it weighs a ton!)

What do you think makes a great leader?

There are three things that really resonate with me: inclusion, empowerment and standing for something.

Inclusion shouldn’t be something you have to actively consider, it should instead be intrinsically woven into the very fabric of how a good team works together. Creating an ‘ownership culture’ is paramount to how people view their experience at work; the difference between simply being a job to something that people very much feel a part of.

I feel very strongly about building a strong team around you; a team that brings the skills to the business that will make a difference and also empowers people so they can take ownership and flourish. At Found, I'm surrounded by digital specialists, financial smarts, creative thinkers and above all, people motivators. All of them bring a level of brilliance to the business that, in turn, facilitates empowerment of their team too.

Finally, stand for something and your team will stand with you. Let your team know what you stand for and where you’re heading. I’m a firm believer in two very simple words which I’ve carried with me through life: be kind. This resonates through all aspects of everything I do and think about; whether it’s being thoughtful in praise or having to give negative feedback to a colleague in a constructive and fair manner.

What are the big trends in performance marketing for 2019?

True integration will become real. As we further connect the dots of channels, actions, audiences and cultures, we’ll see a greater coming together of performance marketing purpose and impact.

Technology has enabled our industry to evolve exponentially and this has given us immeasurable insight into the way we can now understand, consider and target audiences. I believe we’re also going to see cultural engagement having a much bigger impact over the coming year too.

Understanding culture and social communities, and specifically the shared passions and themes that bind people together, will enable brands to really identify how they can further reach and engage with their potential consumers. With this will also come a lot more social marketing for social good, with brands seeking to make a difference. However, people will be quick to boycott brands who have no purpose.

Alongside that focus on integrity, we’ll also see even greater emphasis on privacy which, in turn, impacts on our trust. The rise of post-trust is an issue all businesses should be carefully monitoring as being perceived as untrustworthy naturally affects how people interact and engage with a company or brand.

Finally, data and voice search. Data will continue to rule the roost and be the foundation of all successful performance marketing activity, and I don’t think any of us are underestimating the impact that voice search will continue to deliver.

Found recently acquired Disrupt. What was the strategy behind this move?

We believe the future of marketing lies in the ability to deliver connected performance and the ability to understand and measure content and engagement through attention. As a team we strive to go beyond just vanity metrics to really leverage data to enable our clients to tell stories that have a measurable impact for their audiences.

Through our acquisition of Disrupt, we’ve been able to solidify this approach further and break the barriers of ROI for our clients. We’re now dealing with the most connected generation of digital users and the Disrupt services we acquired, and embedded into Found’s core offering, operate in the thick of these users’ lifestyles, creating experiences and content that connects, entertains and enriches their lives.

What advice can you offer other agency leaders on bringing two operations and teams together as one?

Assuming you’ve done your homework to establish whether the two businesses share the same culture and values, which I believe is so integral for any acquisition, then my advice would be to take the time to understand the people. Talk to them, help them understand – and buy into - your vision for your business – and the amalgamation of two businesses - to clearly illustrate fit, value and purpose.

You’ve also dedicated time to co-founding the Digital Disruptors initiative? What was your motivation?

Digital marketing is a great space to work in and I wanted to find a way to help others enter this great career. Digital is such an exciting industry to be part of and it’s agile enough to have multiple entry levels, from post-school to post-university or even as a career shift.

However, I’m worried that we’re not being as inclusive as we could be to encourage more digitally-savvy youngsters to think about working in this industry. I co-founded Digital Disruptors with a dear friend of mine, Julie York, to enable more young people to investigate digital, the options it provides as a career choice and, most importantly, to empower them to think dynamically about the opportunities it brings to our everyday lives.

By building a platform which harnesses the amazing array of creativity and innovative thinking that makes up our industry, we can also give these young minds direct access to some of its smartest individuals and businesses. We’re on a mission to find the next generation of digital pioneers and if Digital Disruptors can provide inspiration, or even a stepping stone to making desire a reality, then I’ll be very happy.

As an industry, you’ve also been nationally recognised for your ‘fairness’ when it comes to equality in the workplace. Why is this so important to you?

It’s logical: be kind, be fair. This doesn’t mean you can’t be demanding or have high expectations, but simply ensure there is clarity around what you expect from those around you, how you can support them and how you can help them further develop their own careers.

We were recently named the UK’s Best Workplace for Women by the Great Places to Work team which is a huge accolade but also demonstrates how much we put into ensuring ‘fairness’ in the workplace. Found’s ongoing success is borne out of our shared passion, determination and overwhelmingly collaborative approach. To achieve this, we’ve resolutely built a team who exude talent and ability and who’re all focused on the desire to achieve optimum results – and that’s all irrespective of gender.

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