Getting Ahead: Daniel Cross

What made you want to get into brands/advertising/media/marketing?
More of a who than a what. My 1st year consumer behaviour lecturer at University Otago, NZ and ex-NZ basketball coach, Tab Baldwin. As a 1st year student who really didnt have a clue what to do in life, I had never met anyone which had made a subject so interesting.

Company: Lateral Group
Job title: Director of Strategy

What made you want to get into brands/advertising/media/marketing?


More of a who than a what. My 1st year consumer behaviour lecturer at University Otago, NZ and ex-NZ basketball coach, Tab Baldwin. As a 1st year student who really didn’t have a clue what to do in life, I had never met anyone which had made a subject so interesting.

How did you get into the industry (including relevant qualifications and professional training)?


After finishing my bachelor’s degree I was offered a teaching scholarship in the marketing department at the University to complete my masters. In 1997 the two next big things were the Internet and the newly formed concept of CRM. Frustrated with writing about a phenomenon and not participating, I ended up cutting the scholarship short and heading to Australia to try my hand in marketing. I quickly realised that IT consultancy paid better than a marketing graduate role and picked up a job supporting ERP and CRM implementations around Asia Pacific. My break into the industry came from a chance referral from a friend to a head hunter that was looking to put together a new agencies management team. I joined Monde at the height of the boom and together we almost made it to IPO before the bubble burst.

What was good and bad about your first job?


The best bit about my teaching scholarship was helping students to understand and feel passionate about marketing which gives a great sense of achievement after giving a really good class. The worst bit of teaching, well, that’s easy- that’s got to be marking.

List your jobs to date


If you count business cards I’ve had a few! After my first couple of jobs I developed the habit of moving into roles that were either new for the organisation or in entirely new organisations. I was Technical director of Monde online and then I was head of Interactive at Vertis Inspire before joining Data Lateral as Client Services Director and then becoming Director of Strategy at Lateral Group.

What were the best and worst, and why


Helping to set up Monde at the height of the dot.com boom was a real blast. We had a range of really sexy clients from Jaguar to MTV and were continually pushing boundaries. I think a very similar thing is happening in the UK industry at the moment. I love the opportunity that we are getting to really get under the skin of clients businesses and help them turn their direct marketing around.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?


I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of inspiring individuals….

What is your biggest achievement to date


Career wise: Sitting on the board of the UK’s leading DM provider.
Personally: Finishing an MBA at London Business School.

On what do you base your success so far?


Bridging the gap between technical solutions and business needs.

What are your ambitions?

To build an organisation that can really change the way the industry does things, and to do it with a great team and of course have a good time along the way

Change one thing about your job:


Admin, it’s a very necessary evil.

Change one thing about your industry:


The perception that data can’t be fun 

Change one thing about the world:


Closed minds. Take a new perspective once in a while and see where it leads you.


What is your favourite brand?


Innocent smoothies. It’s just fun.

List your “media diet
• Marketing Direct
• Harvard Business Review
• Economist
• Wired
• Campaign
• NMA

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