Please describe your job: What do you do?
I’m chief product officer for Novatiq, which means I’m responsible for developing the Novatiq products we offer to the telco and advertising ecosystem. I help define those products, determine the benefits, set the pricing and how we market them – and essentially make them available to our partners and customers in our strategic markets.
Our strategy covers EMEA, and that includes Europe and the Middle East. We’re focussing on those countries because you need to gain a footprint in one region before having a truly global footprint. EMEA is the second largest market after the US so it makes it a logical place for us to concentrate on initially.
Talk us through a typical day…
Any day at Novatiq centres around a number of pillar points or specific update meetings which occur, generally in the mornings. I have two update meetings at 10am and 10:15am which are absolute constants in my diary and enable me to understand where we are in the product development cycle, how our current sprint is performing and make sure we’re delivering the latest features and functionality on time and to specification. They are staple elements in my diary, so I know everything is going according to plan.
Outside of that, there are a number of other touchpoints with internal teams. Almost half of my typical day would include internal meetings. In addition, a proportion of my day would centre around customer and partner interactions. These are important because we don’t develop our products in isolation, we have to understand what our partners and customers need. The last 20% is me buckling down and committing pen to paper, putting thought time into blue sky innovation for the product itself.
How do you maintain an effective work/life balance?
Walking around the kitchen table to make sure I get some exercise! Having a good work/life balance is something I always have to actively work on, as work can easily take over. So I have to make sure I switch off – which can be a battle – which has been made especially difficult by Covid when there is no tangible separation between work and home.
I’m conscious I need to improve my work/life balance but if I get a new idea in my head then it’s even more difficult to rein in! I have two children who need my time, so it’s very important to me that I work consciously to ensure there is an appropriate level of balance.
I try to look after myself, and one of the ways I achieve that is by using my Body Power exercise bike during meetings to stay fit and active. Obviously, that’s only during internal meetings with my team! I also walk around a lot during meetings – as I think it’s really important that you move and don’t just sit around all day. On sunny days I’ll walk out into the garden while I’m on calls too.
How has strategy changed at your company?
Our strategy has remained the same, but the way we work has changed this past year. Our strategy has to stay focussed on what we need to do – which hasn’t been impacted by Covid. The execution of the strategy has had to adjust to the new environment which has involved working with disparate teams, customers and partners working from home. We’ve adapted our ways of working by adopting platforms that everyone recognises and understands. We’ve also managed regular team and company-wide communications to maintain the status quo of working as a team.
How has customer behaviour (or your clients’ customer behaviour) changed during the pandemic?
We have a two-sided business model – with partners on one side and customers on the other. Partnership behaviour has changed positively: they now have more time to spend on evaluating new opportunities much faster. We work in the advertising arena and it has been a difficult time for our customers and by association for us. We’ve had to be much more creative in how we deliver what our customers need and how we solve their problems.
What do you predict for the future?
We will see continued migration to much more focused digital lives. Software and the acceleration of software usage by companies will also continue. We will be much more focussed on a digital and software based world, which is a positive move for Novatiq, although a monumental acceleration for society.
What advice would you give a marketer right now?
Build up brand credentials and make sure customers know you’re there for them. Don’t neglect your brand – and the value it brings.
This also puts you in a better position to activate sales – and ensure you have a balance of the two – which you will ultimately benefit from both when we come out the other side of the pandemic.
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