As a Digital Strategist, Thomas Van Den Elzen (35) always wants to look at the bigger picture and find out why something is happening. “Understanding the customer, tackling the problem, laying out the big lines, and coming up with the right solution. I feel that this is one of the strengths that I can use at All Colors of Communication”, says Thomas.
This former journalist with a specific interest in history and international politics sees a common thread in his career path so far. “On a global political level and the news front, I think it is important to know why some events occur. When you understand this context, you can look at the whole picture”, Thomas explains. He extends this idea to his work within All Colors of Communication by first looking at what needs to be done and then taking the second step. “Understanding the client, tackling the problem, laying out the big lines, and coming up with the right solution. I feel that this is one of the strengths that I can use at All Colors of Communication”, says Thomas.
Before joining All Colors of Communication, Thomas did an internship with the online editorial staff of Het Nieuwsblad after completing his journalism studies. Afterwards, he accepted a vacation job there and also a temporary replacement assignment. After getting a taste of journalism, he studied Political Science and Conflict & Development Studies at UGent. Following these studies, he spent six months working for a startup in Barcelona founded by former Googlers, where he learned about the world of online marketing. “There I discovered that digital communication and building a strategy to achieve certain goals are really my thing”, says Thomas.
“Back in Belgium, I started applying for jobs and noticed a vacancy at Bloovi – a platform for startups and entrepreneurs. There I was tasked with building the content strategy, assembling a team of writers and making Bloovi a vibrant online community. We attracted thousands of visitors with our Bloovi events (e.g. WebTomorrow) and reached over 100,000 monthly visitors through our website. It was a great time in which I learned a lot.” But after 5 years, he sensed that you sometimes hit limits with startups. “After some startup experiences, I felt the need to be surrounded by more experienced colleagues to reach ambitious targets faster. At All Colors of Communication, I entered an environment with tons of experience and plenty of colleagues to advise and assist me. Knowing they are there gives you confidence and energy to have a nice impact on clients. In a startup, you often hit boundaries and it is more difficult to get things done quickly. With our team of by now more than 40 colleagues, this is absolutely not the case”, says Thomas.
Understanding the client, tackling the problem, laying out the big lines, and coming up with the right solution. I feel that this is one of the strengths that I can use at All Colors of Communication
In addition to creating digital strategies for clients, inbound marketing is also one of Thomas’ areas of expertise. Digital communication is experiencing tremendous growth, but the way you communicate to a target audience is also evolving. Inbound marketing (via HubSpot) is an example of this. “Setting up inbound marketing strategies is a long process. For example, you need quality content to appeal to your target audience, you need to figure out how you can get them to convert and how to add value from your brand to each step of the buying process. A tough challenge, which also requires a lot of expertise from colleagues to make it happen. Just think of writing the content, the design and development of landing pages, and the creation of blogs and assets such as e-books”, says Thomas.
In his job as Digital Strategist, Thomas wears several different hats. “At All Colors of Communication you are not pushed into a corner. You get the chance to follow your passion and use it both internally and for clients. This allows you to shift your focus from time to time, or to zoom in on something you find interesting. This way you continue to develop yourself and ensure that you keep contributing and making an impact. That’s what I do it for”, Thomas emphasizes.
There is a quote from Steve Jobs that Thomas recognizes and passes on to young starters he coaches: “You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Thomas uses this principle as a basis for looking back and forward to what is yet to come.