Dr Christine Bailey is CMO at Valitor and our latest ‘day in the life’ interviewee.
We caught up with Bailey to ask her about her daily routine, what she loves about her job, the skills, KPIs and tools required, and what she might do next.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I’m the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Valitor, an international payment solutions company headquartered in Iceland, with a strong presence in the UK, Ireland and the Nordics.
My role is to help drive the transformation of Valitor from a 36 year old Icelandic issuer and acquirer to a world leading international payment solutions company.
More specifically, I have 5 objectives in 2019: amplify the Valitor brand, build content and thought leadership, generate leads for customer acquisition and development, increase customer retention and employee advocacy.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I report to the CEO in Iceland, although I’m physically located in London.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
I’m using a mixture of leadership, stakeholder engagement, people management and marketing skills on a daily basis.
Marketing requires such a broad skill set it’s rare to have all the necessary expertise in-house, so I work with some fantastic agencies for support when I need it – typically with market research/customer insights, PR, social, digital, lead gen, martech etc.
Tell us about a typical working day…
The mantra “work is a thing that you do, not a place that you go” very much applies to me. I could be working from home, at one of our Valitor offices in the UK, Denmark or Iceland, out and about meeting suppliers, speaking at a conference, visiting customers or networking.
Some things are a given – like speaking to some team members or checking in on social media on a daily basis. Last week I was ‘docking at the mother ship’ in Iceland and I spent time with the Icelandic marketing team finalising our 2019 marketing plans, meeting with our digital agency and our Icelandic sales leader, catching up with our Group HR Director, planning our ‘Valitor Day’ for all employees, working with our strategy director and CEO on our company kick-off presentation, attending our monthly leadership team meeting and speaking at an event we hosted for the Iceland Women Leaders Association (FKA).
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
One of the things I love about my job is that no two days are the same! I also love working for a mid-size company, where you can ‘roll up your sleeves’ and use your marketing skills but still have a strong influence on the wider business strategy.
Payments is a really exciting space to be in right now and I can’t imagine working somewhere that isn’t multi-national. We have 25 nationalities at Valitor and we operate across 22 European countries. I also love working for an Icelandic company because Iceland leads the world in gender equality.
What sucks is not always having the best technology to work effectively. Having previously worked for the world’s leading networking company, I’m used to amazing collaboration technology, CRM systems and analytical tools. I miss Webex the most!
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
At Valitor we use a methodology called OKRs (Objectives & Key Results). Every team has them, flowing down from the CEO. I have five objectives this year (as mentioned earlier), mostly in support of company objectives of growing net revenue, increasing employee advocacy and customer satisfaction.
Our KPIs are around brand awareness, customer sentiment and NPS (Net Promoter Score), MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) and SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads), Share of Voice (SOV) in target media, social and digital engagement and employee engagement. We use other metrics within the marketing team so we can constantly monitor and improve, but the KPIs are the metrics we share more broadly within Valitor.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
We use a lot of tools in digital and social like AdvertOne, Biteable, TrendKite, Sprout Social, Google Analytics, HotJar, Siteimprove and Canva, as well as some really great research tools such as Wappalyzer and Statista.
How did you end up at Valitor, and where might you go from here?
I’ve spent 25+ years in B2B marketing in the technology sector, leading European marketing functions for some of the world’s largest companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems, as well as for smaller companies. I’ve spent two years ‘on the other side’ working for a high-tech PR agency and I’ve set up my own marketing consulting company twice – once when I was doing my doctorate (in customer insight) and again before I joined Valitor.
I’ve been made redundant three times in my career and each time it’s helped me to break free from my comfort zone and taken me down an exciting new path. I knew after I left Cisco that I wanted a CMO role next, ideally for a company operating in Europe (as opposed to a US company). In the meantime, I set up my own company again and was having a ball consulting and doing speaking engagements when along came Valitor. It was exactly the kind of challenge I’d been looking for so it was impossible to say no!
I see a bright future ahead with Valitor, but I always say “have a direction, don’t have a plan”, which helps you to have a clear direction but an open mind about how to get there. My direction is to be a “marketing guru” and I’ve always dreamed of writing a marketing book so watch this space…
Which customer experiences do you admire?
Having published a doctorate on the use of customer insight for customer acquisition, development and retention, I’m always admiring of companies that use insight in clever ways to deliver a personalised and relevant customer experience. A customer experience is a journey, it’s not something that ends when you make a purchase.
We’ve just conducted some research around the “after payments” experience because although people might not care about payments when they first make a purchase, they get very emotional if the second or third interaction doesn’t go smoothly. For example, when you return goods and want a refund. It’s so hard to acquire new customers – this effort is wasted if you don’t deliver a great customer experience throughout the customer life cycle.
What B2B marketing campaigns have you admired lately?
I serve on the advisory board of the Society for New Communications Research (SCNR), now part of The Conference Board and I’m a judge of their annual marketing awards. I always look forward to reading the entries and hearing about best practices in marketing. I’m also a customer insight geek, so I had to admire Cisco’s recent win at the AI awards for their in-house machine learning platform that they use for their own customer service and next best action.