A Week in My Life: Ken Leren, CEO of Marketing Town
Ken Leren is the Founder and CEO of Marketing Town.
Marketing Town is a marketing technology company that tracks, analyses and optimizes the performance of marketing campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands.
The company allows advertisers to take a holistic view of their activities and connect brands to prospective customers through techniques such as lead generation and affiliate marketing.
Here, he shares what a week in his working life is like...
My alarm is set for 6:30am, but our dog, Fibi, has decided otherwise. It’s not even 6am and she’s already up, demanding to go for a morning run at the nearby park.
Coming back from the park, I jump in the shower and get dressed, leave the house to get on the 7:36am train to London where I run through any outstanding emails.
Monday is the only day that I’m in the office for most of the day. When I get to my desk, I check what’s on the agenda for the week, prepare for those meetings and just get in gear. I find it very useful to block some time off in my calendar for our international expansion plans and to do some coding. Generally, Mondays are filled with internal meetings, so I meet with Vasso at 9:30am to get an update on the preparations for our fifth anniversary party and then meet with the rest of the team to run through last week’s activities and pipeline.
The afternoon entails some forecasting for our board meeting next week, sending out a few more personal invites for the anniversary party on Wednesday, as well as interviewing two candidates as we look to strengthen our team further.
I arrive at the office at 8:30am and immediately get to work updating the investment deck with the financial performance of the quarter and updated forecast. The last three months were exceptionally good for Marketing Town, so I want to make sure that’s reflected in the pitch deck.
The rest of the morning is spent on a meeting with the leadership team planning our integration with WhatsApp. Some of our clients expressed their interest in connecting with prospects in the same way they chat with their friends and family, so we are looking into integrating with WhatsApp Business so our clients can manage conversations with customers over WhatsApp at scale through Marketing Town.
At 12:30pm, I find myself wondering how time flies whilst walking towards Leather Lane market to treat myself to something more unhealthy than normal. I’m attending ‘Sooner Than You Think London’, Bloomberg’s flagship technology series, this afternoon, so my lunch option is a way to get myself physically prepared for a long evening of networking.
Some days consist largely of networking and connecting with other performance marketing peers, industry leaders and investors and today is one of those days. Since technology is constantly changing, attending such events is one of the best ways to stay up to date on the technologies currently being developed, including AI, Smart Cities, IoT, etc. I leave Central Hall Westminster inspired, with a pocket full of business cards and pending LinkedIn connection requests.
I love networking and meeting people who are vibrant and passionate about their work, but coming home is by far the best part of the day. It’s 11pm and time for bed!
The alarm goes off early - a long and exciting day awaits. Today is the day of our fifth anniversary party celebration, but I have a few important meetings scheduled for the morning which require my absolute focus. At 9:30am, I’m meeting a potential investor for a second meeting which is always a positive sign that the first meeting went well, and they want to understand the business and its potential.
After such a great start to my day, next is a catchup with a current client who we have been working with for three years now. They have asked us to develop a new feature for them and I’m meeting their CTO to discuss the details and agree on timelines. At Marketing Town, we are committed to solving problems and providing customised solutions to meet our clients’ needs. For me, this is the best part of the job - being able to add value to our current client base, as they tend to turn to you when they have additional requirements.
It’s now 1pm and I have two hours to kill before I head over the Stephen St Kitchen to help with the set-up of the venue and get ready to welcome our guests, so I decide to find a cafe nearby and go through any outstanding emails and do some work. The hours have flown by and soon I find myself at the party venue, unboxing the goody bags whilst tasting one of the special cocktails being prepared for our guests tonight.
The party marks our fifth year of success and I couldn’t be happier! The journey has been incredible and there’s no better way to celebrate this milestone than throwing a big party. The evening is filled with delicious food and drinks, and of course great conversations. It’s great to have so many friendly faces and lots of new ones in one place.
The party continues late into the night as our team and clients move onto the 1940s-style cocktail bar, Cahoots. Time flies when you are having fun. My head hits the pillow at 2:30am.
It’s 7am and I was looking forward to another hour of sleep when I hear Fibi scratching at the bedroom door and barking. Thursday is the day when she gets to go to the office and if you ever meet her, you will immediately understand where her job title (Chief Happiness Officer) comes from. She’s truly energetic and her role is to spread happiness around the office. Sometimes I wonder who’s more excited - the team getting to see Fibi or Fibi coming to the office.
Today, I’m on the 9:17am train to London and replying to all the thank-you emails from our party guests. The recognition of a job well done makes my day. Sometimes just a pat on the back goes a long way and is enough to keep you going! Of course, I couldn’t have done it without my incredible team so to thank them for a great night, I buy them Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast (I’m not sure whether doughnuts can cure a hangover, but worth trying I guess).
After one much-needed doughnut and coffee, it’s time to meet Joe and Vasso to carry on our chat from earlier in the week about revenue goals, expansion plans and automation. We are consistently dedicating time to brainstorm - specifically brainstorming for questions and not answers - as this makes it easier to venture into the unknown.
The day ends with another investment pitch before it’s back to the office to pick up Fibi and set off home.
Over the years, I’ve tried different approaches to managing my home and work life, but I found the approach that works for me is getting to the office four days a week and working from home on Fridays. I consider myself a morning person, so after a cup of tea, I sit at my desk and dive into the day by developing new features for the platform and optimising efficiencies. I’ve put the most challenging things at the top of my to-do list as I tend to have more energy in the morning.
There are a few distractions though: Fibi demanding attention and the team’s Slack #general and #random channels spamming the timeline with gifs and discussing anything from that Friday feeling and the weather to API integrations and campaign setup.
I might not be in the office for meetings, but I’m always available on the phone. First call of the day is with our chairperson, Mary Keane-Dawson, discussing various strategic points and going through the deck for our board meeting next week.
A highlight of the day is a call from Richard Dennys, CEO of Webgains, who asks me to be the admin of the newly created 'Affiliate Marketing Questions UK' Facebook group.
I decide that a very busy week deserves an early finish so at 3pm I take the opportunity to enjoy a rare moment of dry, sunny weather by taking Fibi for a walk and then meet my fiancé at a local pub.