A mixture of creativity, journalism and a happy team is the combination Conrado Lamas uses to grow his startup in Barcelona, Spain.

Conrado Lamas

  • Where are you based? fBarcelona, Spain
  • Current position/company: Head of Marketing Department at Signaturit. We’re based in Barcelona, and we also have offices in Paris and Berlin.
  • Where are you originally from? Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and I’ve been living in Barcelona since 2010. 
  • What did you study? I actually studied journalism and did a Master’s in Political Science and International Development. I have an academic, almost political background, so it’s interesting that I ended up in startups and now specialize in them. I think it’s a sector where different backgrounds are super welcome and they always bring a different perspective on the issues that arise. 
  • What countries have you lived/worked in? I’ve lived in Rio (Brazil), the US, and here in Spain, in Bilbao and now in Barcelona. I come from a very international background and family, and have visited many countries. 
  • What languages do you speak? I speak Spanish, Portuguese and English. I try my best to speak Catalan but I have a two-year-old’s level (because that’s my daughter’s age).

How did you end up working in the content/marketing industry?

My background is in journalism so I started working with content very early on. I was a freelance journalist, then worked in PR in Brazil for almost three years, before finally moving into marketing. When I came to Barcelona, I was looking for opportunities. I really didn’t plan on joining a startup – it just happened. I was working in a company with Nacho González, the founder of Infojobs, on a side project called salir.com. They were trying the Brazilian market but it didn’t catch on.

So, we founded Mailtrack at the end of 2013, and my PR skills proved very useful. It was a unique B2B SaaS and we got a lot of media attention. We released Mailtrack in South America, the US, Europe, India, South Africa and many other countries. It was and still is a great success. It became a craze here in Barcelona for a very low-budget marketing and marketing release. I’m super proud of that experience and I still apply a lot of the things I learned at Mailtrack everywhere.

What’s your favorite content campaign ever (yours or someone else’s)?

At Mailtrack, I’ve always been proud of my ability to have something to say. Connecting ideas, creating productions, talking with other companies and startups to co-market. Even in PR. This is something that I sometimes miss in other companies or in content marketing in general. I think we can be too safe sometimes.

It was Hemingway who said: “Write drunk, edit sober.” In marketing, I often tell my team that you should go a bit over the top and think about things in a way that’s a little absurd, and then take it down a notch. Otherwise you’re just like everyone else and it’s very difficult to stand out if you’re just like everyone else.

This is especially true in a saturated market like the Internet, where everybody is using the same few channels and everybody looks alike. Looking unique is extremely important – not only with regard to your content but also in your design and your unique value proposition of the product itself. I think that’s key.

What’s a normal work day for you like?

Unfortunately, my normal work day is often full of meetings. I think it’s a big issue and we were just talking about it with the team today. On the one hand, it’s extremely important to communicate across teams, and when you’re the head of the department you’re expected to spend a lot of your day communicating. Once you realize that, you begin delegating. And that’s something that I’m proud of. I think we’ve done a good job of delegating and that’s why we’re scaling our marketing efforts so well. We’re entrusting our work to people who can do that job better than I can, and who can take the leadership on those tasks. 

A large part of my day is talking with people on other levels, which is important. I’d like to organize the meetings better and talk to my team about how to make them more relevant. But in a managerial position, I think a lot of talking is unavoidable. In fact, it’s desirable – coordination is important.

What are the top 3 skills you need to do your job?

This is a great question. Coming from a communications, content and journalism background, since 2012 and 2013 the data-driven approach that is essential in marketing has been at the forefront. Data is essential everywhere and it must be part of all decision-making processes. 

But over time I’ve learned to value my soft skills. It’s honestly where I stand out, and it’s what people value in me. And I think it makes sense. In every company I’ve worked at, I’ve always been an important player in bringing that team spirit to the entire company – of cheering people up, you could say. 

We work for eight hours every day, and often even longer in the management team. So it’s important that we create a pleasant environment, as well as one of hard work. There are going to be stressful situations but you have to try to enjoy it. It’s a privilege to be able to enjoy your work. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s the case for most people. Since we have that privilege, I think it’s something that we should really value and use, because it’s also going to impact everything that we do. Especially in marketing, we need that creativity running. We need that good spirit in order to come up with those good ideas. 

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your career?

We’re always going to make mistakes in life, but I think I have few regrets. When you look back at everything you did before – including your mistakes – it explains where you are now. I’ve always been very impatient. And just like everything in life, there are two sides. My sense of urgency is high, and a lot of people tell me that. I also can be very anxious. On a personal level it can have its downsides… and it’s something I have to work on and control constantly.

There have also been points in my career where I’ve made a bad decision to change companies when I should have been more thorough regarding the positions. So, that’s a lesson that I learned. As you mature and gain experience, you feel more confident about the value you can bring to a company. You are in a more comfortable position as you can almost choose and say, “You know what, I’m not going to rush it.” The next time I want to make a change, I’ll take my time and make sure it’s a good decision.

What’s unique about the content/marketing industries in Europe?  

I think that’s hard to answer. Specifically in legal tech in Europe, we typically come from more of a security and legal standpoint than other markets, such as the American market. Since this is your focus from day one, it puts you among the safest solutions out there.

I went to a couple events this year and one of my biggest conclusions about them, even outside Europe, is how we all speak the same language nowadays. It kind of doesn’t matter where you are. The content marketing here – the KPIs and our performance – is similar to what they’re doing in Brazil, for example.

What is the biggest challenge facing the European content/marketing industry in the next 5 years?

I don’t know if this is specific to Europe; I think it applies to content marketing in general. The developments around SEO, and how targeted marketing and content has become. This is pushing everybody toward relevance. Not too long ago, we were all trying to trick our content into getting good rankings on SEO. But now, it’s more and more about being relevant and interesting to your target and to your reader. And that’s a good thing. That’s a good development. 

It’s about thinking about what your target and what your audience wants to know and learn. That’s becoming the message. Once you’re able to think about your reader and their needs, you have to market to them specifically, and this is good for everybody. 

What’s your biggest piece of advice for people and/or businesses looking to break into the content marketing industries in Europe? 

It’s about looking for simplicity. You know the idea: “it’s more difficult to make things simple”? I think that’s very true. We’re all overwhelmed with content. We’re all overwhelmed with work and our personal lives. Nobody wants to overwork: we want to have our personal time and to disconnect from the Internet. We want to read less, but more quality.

It’s a trend. You have to keep that in mind. It’s about keeping things short, simple, to the point and extremely relevant. It’s not about showing off how good you are with words. It’s about delivering value in the quickest and easiest way possible for your targets.

Quick-fire round: 

  • Favorite social network? Twitter. I love Twitter. It’s savvy and I like the humor on it. 
  • Long-form or short-form? Short-form. 
  • Content marketing or branded content? Branded content. You want to educate with your brand. 
  • Favorite book? Right now I’m reading “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah.
  • First thing you do in the morning? Regret that I’m waking up early.
  • Language you wish you spoke? I tried to speak French but I didn’t do well. Right now maybe Catalan. I feel bad that I’ve been here for so long and my Catalan is very bad.
  • Smart or casual? Casual. I’m always as casual as I can be. If I could come to work in flip flops… 
  • Most important wardrobe item? Flip flops.

Conrado Lamas, LinkedIn

With more than 10 years’ experience in brand management and public relations, Conrado Lamas is in charge of international positioning and communication at Signaturit. In 2013 he co-founded Mailtrack and has been an important player in the product’s launch and rapid expansion in Europe, the US and Latin America. He joined the team at Signaturit in 2019, after woking at some of the most successful startups and scaleups according to Wired magazine and Red Points.

If you or someone you know is a content, marketing and/or communications professional in Europe and would like to share personal insights in our Community Spotlight column, please get in touch with us at hello@thecontentmix.com