The Edit Blog

Edit Under the Hood: J Cromack, Chief Growth Officer

ARTICLE BY Nic Ryan
READ TIME: 4 mins
13th July 2022

Q. Congratulations on your new role at Edit, can you tell us a bit about it? 

A. As Chief Growth Officer I’m responsible for the growth across the company. Essentially, I’m focused on building out Edits proposition and service offering to our clients, ensuring we have a clearly defined gotomarket position, and then building and delivering the growth through both direct and for alliance and tech partner channels. I’m also focusing on how we embed privacy at the heart of everything we do for our customers, to help them on the journey to addressing the privacy-conscious consumer. 

Q. And what was your background prior to joining?

A. I’ve worked in the marketing sector for over 30 years, over five years as CEO and Executive Director at Wood for Trees, and five years as CEO of the GIG at DST (formerly the Lateral Group). 

In 2014 I co-founded MyLife Digital, a data-privacy business built on the principle that individuals should be able to control the use of their personal data, which was a ground-breaking concept given this was several years prior to the introduction of the GDPR. 

Because of my background I’m really striving to help organisations use privacy in a way that will generate them what I call the privacy dividend, but also help them build trust with their consumers and therefore grow them into loyal fans by being more transparent with them around the data they hold – giving individuals more meaningful control over how their data is used, as well as helping organisations being held to account as to how they are using that data. 

Just because they have a right to use the data doesn’t necessarily mean they should use the data and therefore helping them to bridge that gap and using data ethically.  

Q. What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?

A. I would say my biggest professional achievement was being awarded Privacy and Trust Champion by DataIQ for the work we did at MyLife Digital and being adamant that people’s attitudes to privacy would change and therefore brands needed to do something about it, providing greater transparency and meaningful control to consumers. 

The DataIQ team identified what I’d been doing and wrote the award entry and submitted it to judges who were made up of incredible people from the world of data, so it was pleasing to receive the recognition for all the hard work myself and the brilliant team had put in over the years. 

Q. And what’s been your biggest challenge?

A. I think the biggest challenge I’ve faced was effectively convincing people six or seven years ago that privacy was a big issue and that brands needed to address it. We did feel that we were banging a drum with not many people around us listening.  

When you’re building a platform, everything that goes with it is bleeding edge, ground-breaking in fact, so a huge challenge funnily enough was GDPR, it was getting in the way of what we wanted to achieve. This was because once we were starting to gain traction we would come up against roadblocks where companies couldn’t start to think about implementing transparent control mechanisms until they had completed all their pre-GDPR audit work!  

In a way, we were probably too early and that caused us a lot of pain but ultimately our persistence paid off and there are now a number of significant customers using that platform and it’s found a great home at DataGuard, who are now a technology partner of Edit’s and we’re working on some really exciting initiatives to help our clients re-ignite the first-party data in a privacy-first way.  

Q. The industry Edit operates in is fast-moving and highly competitive. What do you think makes the business stand out?

A. The people, Editors are just awesome. I really admire their ways of working at Edit, I love the approach that the delivery team take using Orbit, the process and results are just outstanding. 

From a client perspective, I believe Edit are really well positioned because we are all about optimizing customer connections by rethinking first-party data and technology. 

We do rethink ways in which the data could be used, the way it is being used and we’re not looking to say, “hey, you just need a new tech platform”, we’re looking to help our clients optimise their existing assets. A lot of organisations will come in and work the data and implement the tech and then effectively hand you the keys back. Whereas we have this transformational CRM component where we have the people who can then translate that data into action, build customer journeys, and we have teams who can translate that customer journey into a technical specification so it can actually be deployed within the tech our client has invested in. Often you’ll see clients just not getting the value out of their tech investments. Edit are all about optimization and driving that value out of both the data and the technology. 

Q. Other than your phone, what’s one item you couldn’t live without?

A. It would have to be a kettle bell. I started kettle bell training in 2015, and I’ve never stopped. I train two or three mornings a week. When Covid hit our brilliant coach delivered kettle bells to all our houses, and we continued on with remote sessions. I wouldn’t be without them, if they weren’t so bloody heavy, I’d even take them on holiday with me in the luggage! 

Q. What is your favourite biscuit to have with your tea or coffee?

A. Biscuits don’t last long our house. My wife runs a home from home dog boarding business from our house, which is great as I’m a big dog lover and I never know how many dogs I’m coming home to.  

I don’t really like dog treats, and unfortunately, I’m gluten intolerant and I am still to find a decent, gluten free, dunkable biscuit. If anyone can find me a decent gluten free biscuit, I’d be forever grateful! 

Q. And finally… Which celebrity would you most like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

A. You’d want someone who was funny, right?  Because if you’re stuck in a lift with them, you just don’t want someone boring. So, I think I’d have to choose James Corden. He’s funny, highly successful, so he’d have some really interesting stories about how he’s gone from being in Gavin and Stacey to now, one of the biggest TV presenters and personalities in America.