Leaders

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Felix Schmidt on the value of risk

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Some people enjoy a good challenge. Others simply thrive in one.

Felix Schmidt was just appointed country manager at partnership automation provider Impact and he has already high hopes for his future in the company. Having learnt about his past successes and his drive for corporate social responsibility, we strongly believe there isn't a place that Felix can't reach in his career.

Today we are Getting to Know a successful and ambitious marketer from Germany, a natural-born experimenter with a genuine passion for overcoming risks and obstacles.

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Tell us a bit about your current role.

I have been with Impact for the last seven months as Country Manager for the Dach region. We’ve only recently opened a new office in Berlin, Germany, so technically I’m the first ever employee in the DACH region, which I’m certainly proud of. My role is essentially to establish a successful team here that can hopefully emulate the successes that Impact has had across the rest of the world

Germany and the surrounding regions present strong growth opportunities for any business, where digital penetration stands around 97%. Germany is also the fifth largest consumer market globally. So, I am looking forward to helping support Impact’s growth within this market, where there really is huge potential for advertisers. 

How did you get to your current position? What was the biggest challenge?

Prior to joining Impact, I worked as head of business development at MenschDanke and head of key account management and sales at Webgears. When I heard that Impact was looking to expand in the DACH region and was opening an office in Germany, I knew I wanted to be a major part of this exciting period of expansion for the business. I have always enjoyed a challenge, and the role I’m currently in you can say presents a very big one. 

Now, the challenge that some businesses have, is that they don’t know where to start with developing partnerships or how to implement a more successful partnership programme, or even which types are right for them. Their challenges become my challenge and essentially, I look to help these organisations by providing them with technology that can then help set them up for long-term success. 

What is your personal background and what role did it play in your career?

My background is mostly in sales and customer-facing roles. I enjoy making connections and providing value to clients and customers. One common theme throughout my long career, regardless of the role or industry I’ve worked in, is the desire to deliver strong results and provide long-lasting fruitful partnerships, which is what led me down the path of partner marketing. I soon discovered this was a natural fit for me and I really enjoyed working in this sector. One thing I love most is that it is incredibly agile and forward-thinking, it can respond to market changes quickly and we are very much a solutions-orientated industry with real results. 

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

I have a passion for technology, so I assume I’d be working in a sector that has some association with it. I’ve always strived to work in an industry, and more importantly in roles, that push the boundaries of innovation and require you to, as Steve Jobs might put it, “think differently”. One of my favourite authors, Frans Hasuer, once said: “If you take a risk and it doesn't go as planned, welcome to the club”. So, in any role that I am in, I’d want the ability to be bold and be encouraged to experiment

I’m also passionate about social responsibility. I would enjoy working in a strategic consultancy for sustainability. Especially large companies have a social responsibility for the use of our resources and the health of all of us. A lot can still be done here and helping the world to become a better place fits my inner drive.

What is one top marketing tip you learned in your job?

The power of partnerships is incredible and something that should be tapped into wherever possible. When bringing two separate entities together there is massive scope for success in both parties, and as the old saying goes ‘two heads are better than one’. Partnerships enable organisations to not only reach new audiences but further enhance the perception of the brand to existing customers. So, my top tip would be, if considering partnerships, then take the time to ensure it’s the right one for your brand and your partner, where both will mutually benefit from the customers you’re reaching. 

What is your top one advice to aspiring marketers?

Getting hands-on experience if you can. I feel that it is always the best way to understand what marketing techniques best suit the way you work. Try to get as much experience as possible, from optimisation to analytics to campaign creation, this will really help you hone in on expertise and find something that you really love doing. 

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

Probably when I designed a performance-based commerce content strategy for media houses, in order to generate new revenue streams and prove incremental value in affiliate marketing – most famously for Germany’s largest newspaper Bild.de, which resulted in revenue gains of over 500% in two years. A close second might be leading Webgears Group as whitelabel provider for savings across three markets including Germany, UK and the US. Both were brilliant experiences and right now I am proud to be working with Impact, hoping to have just as much success here. 

How do you recharge away from the office?

Usually I escape from the Berlin urban jungle and spend my free days in the countryside. As much as I appreciate the city for the broad digital industry and almost unlimited opportunities, it is always good to enjoy a break in the nearby nature reserves. The Spreewald, 70km away, is highly recommended. Besides the legendary pickles, you can find many activities like canoeing, mountain biking or hiking to help energise your batteries.

What’s your one big dream for the future of marketing?

The digital industry has grown extremely fast compared to traditional industries. During that development consumer data has become the new currency for a broad market of technology providers. Unfortunately, data is not always used in the best interest of the user, as Cambridge Analytica taught us. Regulations such as the GDPR and e-privacy directive are intended to counteract the uncertainty. However, this puts a large mass of fair players under pressure.

It is my dream that we can build a world in which marketing is a transparent discipline, that is understood by everyone involved, and creates real added value for consumers.

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