(As usual, a reminder that Econsultancy has a jobs board where you can find plenty of interesting positions in the digital, marketing and ecommerce industry)
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do and how has it changed since January?
Greg Le Tocq: Over the past 12 months, my day to day focus has been on helping to grow our Giftcloud business, which is making ripples in the gift card industry. We have a fantastic group of household brands on our portfolio including First Utility, Talk Talk and Vodafone, who we’ve worked with to change their use of gift cards for maximum impact across acquisition, retention, loyalty, and reward.
Building new businesses and helping them gain traction in the market is what I really love to do, and both Giftcloud and Vouchercloud have given me the opportunity to do this.
Since the management buy-out earlier this year my day to day has naturally changed to taking back more of a strategic view, with my focus on Vouchercloud as well as Giftcloud. Vouchercloud has experienced extraordinary growth in the last year and the marketplace is seeing plenty of change at the moment meaning there’s huge opportunity for further growth. My goal is to ensure we’re realising all commercial opportunities to continually drive forward our multi-channel strategy, and hold our strong position in the market.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
GLT: I would say there are three key skills that stand out – firstly, the need to maintain a forward thinking vision. It’s important to the success of the businesses that we build on our work and stay a step ahead of the game and competition, innovating where we can and keeping our minds focussed on how the future could look.
It’s equally important to bring everything back to the consumer and think like them. We should never get too caught up in the day-to-day to forget that our overall aim is to deliver solutions that make the lives of the consumer easier, and to succeed in that we need to think like a consumer first and foremost. Finally, a key skill would be the ability to remain passionate about the products we’re creating in order to deliver this promise to the consumer.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
GLT: Due to the diversity of both the Vouchercloud and Giftcloud businesses, a typical day doesn’t really exist. One day I could be assisting in a new business pitch for Giftcloud, another I could be talking about the evolution of our platforms and products, and the next day I could be working on our plans for the next financial year and long term future. This kind of diversity is one of the main things I love about being in the industry and my role.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
GLT: I’m lucky enough to have been involved in two fantastic businesses from day one, where we’ve evolved two physical propositions – the paper voucher and plastic gift cards – into digital ecosystems, effectively revolutionising those industries. It’s been hugely rewarding to be part of this with a fantastic group of people, and I love that no one day has been the same over these 12 years.
The fact that we are revolutionising a multi billion dollar industry with Giftcloud is extremely exciting, as is helping businesses to reach their short and long term goals. From a practical perspective, I also find it satisfying that we’re saving people money on their purchases every day with Vouchercloud.
It’s much harder to say what sucks! There are challenges in every industry and role, and of course this one is no different. There are always new voucher sites cropping up and, although it keeps us on our toes, it can be frustrating when clearly spammy sites with short term gain in mind achieve temporary traction. This isn’t something I can see changing any time soon, however our experience in the industry means that we’re well aware of what it takes to see long term, consistent successes and we remain focussed on this.
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
GLT: My overarching desire with the businesses has always been to roll out market leading products to keep ourselves ahead of the curve and make a genuine impact on the industries we play in.
In terms of metrics for Vouchercloud, we measure everything from traffic to our platforms to the quantity of exclusive content we have for our customers. Our business insights team work very hard everyday to analyse and optimise performance to make sure we’re always ahead of the game. With Giftcloud, we predominantly look at the amount of spend that goes through our B2B and B2C platforms, as well as the number of big contracts we win.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
GLT: Google Analytics is absolutely invaluable to both businesses, and is something I refer to regularly throughout the day. It’s crucial to our success that we continually measure results, react effectively and optimise. It enables us to track performance versus previous weeks, months and years, and continually make improvements to our sites and content.
Naturally I regularly use my phone, laptop and tablet for work, but also to view our content which is accessed across all devices (increasingly so on mobile). It comes back to my point about thinking – and acting – as a consumer first and foremost, and accessing our content regularly across platforms helps me to interrogate the consumer experience and journey.
E: How has affiliate marketing changed over the past decade?
GLT: Over the past decade, more and more brands have entered the space and affiliate marketing has become an integral part of the marketing mix, benefitting from its own departments and substantial budgets. It is becoming harder to find brands without an existing programme – we were one of the first to run campaigns with the likes of Uber and Airbnb over ten years ago, and they now run fully blown affiliate programs.
Largely, the model and way of doing business itself hasn’t changed over the past ten years, however a notable development is that we’re seeing powerful publishers (including Trinity Mirror and DMGT) enter the space and generate substantial revenues from affiliate marketing, showcasing its importance and potential.
E: Do you have any advice for people thinking of working in this part of the industry?
GLT: From our perspective, one of the things that is so interesting about working in the industry is that whether you’re into data analytics, tech, account management or operations, there is a role for you in the business. It’s a hugely diverse place to be, full of industry experts and creative thinkers adept at coming up with solutions to the ever changing consumer shopping behaviour. Whether you want to be brand side, agency side or publisher side, there are plenty of opportunities out there.