Meet Aedan Toal

October ’23

“Success in the workplace is working somewhere I feel valued and where I feel like I am contributing and working towards a common goal. It’s such a broad thing, and it differs for everybody. However, for me personally, success is just feeling like you’re not standing still, that you’re fulfilled, and that there’s a purpose to what you’re doing and moving forward.”

Can you tell me a little bit about your background, where you grew up, etc.?

I’m originally from Belfast, Ireland. It’s a unique place full of some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. I studied there & after completing Business Management at university, I started working for a local software company. I was really fortunate that my first professional job allowed me to develop and grow, plus travel and work around the world with many client-facing opportunities. I worked a bit in Oman, Australia, the US, and Spain. After just over six years, I moved from Ireland to Australia for a change of scene. I worked, and lived in Sydney for two years, and then moved to Amsterdam with my wife.

Tell me a little bit about your journey.How did you end up at

I started working in the marketing space at an agency when I was living in Sydney. It was mainly a sales-based organization, and they wanted somebody who could help establish processes for them. I got good agency experience & developed several relationships with affiliate marketing agencies, many of which were based in Amsterdam. And so, whenever myself and my wife decided to move from Sydney to Amsterdam, I already had quite a few connections. I went from an agency in Sydney to a company working in Amsterdam. I was there for six months when I saw the opportunity at Social Blue, now I met with Tim & Sjoerd and started 2 weeks after that. That was four and a half years ago.

How would you describe what you do to your grandmother?

Simply, I would say we at help brands connect with their customers. In my role especially, I would tell her that my team and I facilitate the relationship between the brands we help and our organization.

What interests you the most about our industry and why?

The most exciting thing for me is the rapid pace of change. I’m interested to see what’s coming regarding the next frontier and how we can generate leads in a new and interesting way. We’ve nailed a few different verticals, and I’m interested in these little new side projects that are constantly being worked on, whether foreign direct or marketplace.

Whenever we meet with I.T or sales or the head of marketing to discuss, for example, that we want to try this strategy, we want to take this approach… I find the idea of starting fresh, making mistakes, and finding new, winning strategies quite interesting because if it’s something new, it’s something exciting.

You’ve recently switched roles and now lead the campaign team in all countries. Can you share a little about that and your vision for the department?

It has only been less than one month, so I’m only sort of just getting my feet under the table. One thing I really want to do in this role is to give my team the recognition they deserve. Campaign Management is an essential function within our organization; however, we are quite quiet. So I want to share more with our colleagues in other departments & highlight the brilliant work being done by the team; and their exceptional professionalism and commitment. Being the head of that department and working with them daily is a pleasure.

“I want to highlight the brilliant work being done by the Campaign Management team; and their exceptional professionalism and commitment.”

Aedan Toal Head of Client Operations – EU & APAC

What do you think is the biggest, most interesting challenge about your job?

I would say the speed of change at is the most interesting challenge. The company I started working for four and a half years ago is entirely different from the one we’re in now, and it’s all been for the better. There’s little time to sit and take a deep breath because everything constantly changes. Everything is new, which is also part of the excitement, part of the journey, and sort of the adventure.

What advice would you give to the new people joining the company?

The best advice I could give would be to come in with an open attitude and a willingness to learn. Come ready to ask lots of questions. If you’re willing to learn, you’ll do really well here. If I put myself back to when I first started here, I still wouldn’t be here if I had not been open to learning new ways to manage clients and deliver projects. You just need to be open to learning new things and listening. And finally, be yourself. We want your input, your ideas, and your solutions. There are never any stupid questions.

What is your definition of success?

A non-work-related answer would generally be if you’re happy. If you have good health, wake up in the morning, and have something to smile about, that’s success. In the workplace, it would be working somewhere you feel valued and where you feel like contributing and working towards a common goal. It’s such a broad thing, and it differs for everybody. However, for me personally, success is just feeling like you’re not standing still, that you’re fulfilled, and that there’s a purpose to what you’re doing and moving towards.

What advice would you give our clients to make the most of working with

The most important element is trust. I know trust is earned, which generally always comes through with time. But if a client could trust us from the start, I know we could offer them much more value. The teams we have, whether client-facing, sales, marketing, or the development team, are really the best in class. They are really, really good at what they do. If we have the client’s complete trust to generate

their leads, we can do a brilliant job, but it’s just getting that trust from the start. In an ideal world, if I could onboard the perfect client, it would be someone who would trust us completely. Give us the budget and say, “Find my customers,” and we would absolutely smash it. I understand each company has its own processes, and trust must be earned. But I honestly believe there’s nobody better than us.

Obviously, you manage a lot of big teams across countries, etc. What is your number one productivity tip?

Productivity tip? Oh, it’s really dull, but I create lots and lots of lists. Another thing that works quite well is segmenting my day. I use my calendar quite often to ensure I have time to focus on the most important tasks, not the most recent ones. In my opinion, that’s where many people sort of get their wheels spun. They end up focusing on the most recent tasks that come in instead of prioritizing what they want to achieve for the day. So, I always suggest using the resources that you have. Make a list (or several), use your calendar to actually put time aside to organize your day, and just focus on the tasks that are truly most important.

What is an essential part of your morning routine?

I’d like to go for a run in the morning to have a bit of a clear head. I like to get some fresh air, not think about work, and then come back and have a cup of coffee. I don’t look at my phone when I first wake up. I just give myself that little time to get myself set in the day. And at the end of the day, I use the commute to sort of completely switch off. By the time I get home, I’m really not thinking about work. I noticed that when we were all working from home – there was no logical stopping point to my day. There was nothing to separate you from work and life. So, I like to have those moments where you just disconnect.

Speaking about your day, what is something you look forward to every day?

There’s quite a bit I look forward to. For example, one of the things I look forward to is my lunchtime walk. It might sound really boring, but every day at lunchtime, I will take my sandwich and head out the door. I don’t know what it is about fresh air and changing the environment, but after my walk, I usually come back with a solution to whatever challenge I am facing. Again, it’s a boring one, but my lunchtime walk gives me a bit of perspective and breathing room that I need to keep myself sane.

What is your hobby, passion, or interest outside of work?

I really like long-distance running. I’ve completed a few 100-mile races and enjoy the lead-up and preparation for it. It sort of suits my personality as I enjoy everything involved with getting ready for a race. During the event, there is a team element to the sport, as I normally have my wife and some friends there to look after me. All of those elements combine on the day and are something I am passionate about.

How did you get started with this hobby?

I started running when I finished university, where my diet was solely beer and bread, and I realized I couldn’t continue like that. So I started running, and then I got into doing the halves. Then a few of my friends and I started doing full marathons around Europe. Then I found ultramarathons, and it sort of just escalated from there. One day, I’d like to attempt a race beyond 100 miles. That’s something to aim for in the future.

What has been your favorite event or marathon?

My favorite was the UTA 100 in the Blue Mountains – just northwest of Sydney. It was a really, really cool experience. During the day, you’re running in the heat of the mountains, which is beautiful & challenging. Then at night, you are running through the forest from checkpoint to checkpoint, which is all essentially raves in the middle of nowhere. The camaraderie and uniqueness of the race will always stay with me.

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