Wouter Blok has always loved a challenge. So when long-time friend and fellow adventurer Max Goijarts shared his vision for the future of OnModus, Wouter felt the adrenaline bubbling to the surface. In November 2018, Wouter began to participate in projects and client relationships. Now, as the new co-owner and partner at OnModus, Wouter will set his sights on challenging clients to leave the status quo behind and embrace the power of change. ‘Max described his desire to build something bigger than himself,’ Wouter explains. ‘And we really found each other in the OnModus Brand Promise.’
Bring it on
This certainly isn’t Wouter’s first rodeo. For more than 15 years, he’s been blending creativity, technology and data to help companies grow. And not just any companies: some of the biggest names and hottest start-ups and scale-ups in the world. ‘My goal is to make marketing suck less,’ he says with a laugh. ‘Customers often don’t feel understood when they encounter brand touchpoints that aren’t personal enough. And companies are so nervous about GDPR and other regulations, they don’t use data to its full advantage.’
That’s where Wouter comes in. His goal is to shake up the system and teach clients how to push the marketing technology envelope. ‘OnModus has already proven how the right technology and creativity can have an impact on the customer experience model,’ he says. ‘I want to expand that reach to the entire marketing chain, including all the social media channels. Together, we’ll create solutions that are contextually relevant.’
Proof of concept
Wouter has made a name for himself with his unconventional approach and adventurous attitude. He began his career at a variety of start-ups, including as CMO of EasyToBook.com, a Deloitte Fast 50 finalist and eventual CheapTickets acquisition. He oversaw the partnership with one of Google’s most sophisticated advertisers, Booking.com. And he spent 18 months in the U.S., as VP Digital at Sprint, one of the leading telecom companies in the States, with more than 54 million customers. As VP, Wouter proved the powerful, incremental effect that online marketing could have on sales at each of Sprint’s 5,000 stores.
‘I’ve stirred up a lot of dust at the companies for which I’ve worked. The hardest thing for C-level executives to learn is how to translate their vision into a concrete plan for what their internal organisation needs to do every day. Is your goal to increase online sales by 25%? Great. I’ll tell you exactly what it will take at every level and in every channel. Because sometimes the solution to growing online sales is making a big change offline. And vice-versa.’
Wouter says that the right blend of qualitative and quantitative data and a holistic view are key to success. ‘I’m here to break down silos and get our clients’ organisations running like a well-oiled machine. I give an omni-view of the organisation and show them that the validation process of a good hypothesis and the right proof points will create a self-learning organisation and behavioural change.’
Just do it
In addition to both being athletes of the digital world, Max and Wouter share a passion for pushing the limits in the physical world. ‘I call Max to tell him I’ve just taken a 2 km swim through the city of Haarlem, and he tells me he’s just completed a 10-hour bike ride,’ Wouter says. ‘I’ll try nearly anything. I’ve done NASCAR racing, flown a P51, and I once stayed in an indoor skydiving tunnel for more than an hour. Life’s just more fun when you're testing your limits.’
That attitude comes in handy at home, too. Wouter and his wife are testing their limits with four – yes four – children, aged 7, 8, 9 and 11. ‘My wife travels a lot for her work, so keeping the household running smoothly is another challenge, but one that means the world to me. We take our kids everywhere and travel a lot together. It can be really chaotic, but that’s what makes life fun.’
The road ahead
Haven’t yet met Wouter? You will soon enough. He’s ready to meet and get busy making marketing magic. ‘Clients who haven’t met me yet should know that our first few conversations will likely involve me telling them what’s broken in their business,’ he says. ‘But they shouldn’t worry. I’ll also give them a clear plan for how we’ll fix it.’
As for OnModus, Wouter’s vision of success is clear. ‘I’ll know this co-ownership is a success when we achieve the perfect balance in our business: the right size and strength to serve our clients best, and enough time and resources to invest in high-potential start-ups that have a real shot at success.’
Please join us in welcoming Wouter! We know he’s up for the challenge. We think our clients are, too.
Want to hear more from Wouter? Check out his first OnModus blog on creating local relevance online.