Neema Shah Khan is head of marketing at Freeview.
Let’s find out what it takes to succeed in the exciting world of TV and telecoms.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I’m head of marketing at Freeview. We’re a TV platform offering over 70 TV channels and on demand shows, all for free. I’m responsible for above the line, digital, retail and our brand visual identity.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I report into Owen Jenkinson, the marketing director. My team includes a marketing manager and marketing executive and together we manage our creative, media, digital and retail agencies. I also work closely with a range of other teams including comms, product development, commercial, strategy and insight and legal.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Adaptability – I enjoy looking after such a broad range of marketing areas but it means being ready to put different ‘hats’ on from day to day or even meeting to meeting. And things move fast, so it’s important to be reactive as well as proactive.
Creativity – There are two elements to this. Firstly, our focus is on developing effective marketing campaigns that really stand out and engage, so it’s important to have a creative eye and judge what will cut through. Secondly, although Freeview is in over 18 million homes we don’t have the big budgets or resources of our larger TV service competitors. It means having to think smart so we can do a lot with less.
Relationship building – As well as managing relationships with internal stakeholders, a crucial part of my role involves working with a variety of external partners. This includes channels and content providers, manufacturers who are licensed to make Freeview products and retailers who sell Freeview TVs and boxes.
An eye on the industry – The TV and video-on-demand (VOD) industries are moving so fast, with new players coming into the market all the time. It means keeping abreast of both changes in technology and TV content demand so we can always be one step ahead.
And finally, a real love of TV which is pretty easy for a telly addict like me!
Tell us about a typical working day…
It’s a cliché I know but there’s no such thing as a typical of day. That said, the things I do regularly include catch ups with my teams and agencies to ensure campaigns are working effectively across all our different touch-points. We also meet regularly with our board and update them on how things are going, what’s coming up and so on. I’m trying to get the balance between meeting time and thinking time right so that I can focus equally on longer term strategic planning and time to actively deliver projects. This could include checking status on a digital campaign or refreshing our brand identity.
Recently, we’ve been very busy with Free Love Freeway, which brought together dozens of iconic TV shows into one epic ad. It took a lot of work to bring together channels, rights holders and creatives but it’s really paid off. And I spend a fair amount of time working with internal and external partners on upcoming plans and priorities too.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
There are lots of great things about my job. I’m lucky to work with a fun and supportive team who all look out for each other. And I also get to talk about great TV and get paid for it! In terms of downsides, going on TV ad shoots aren’t quite as glamorous as some people may have you believe. Although I’ve been lucky to go to South Africa and Spain as part of my job, I’ve also had to sit in the rain for hours on end or in freezing cold warehouses drinking lukewarm tea!
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Our new campaign is focused around brand building and driving to tangible action. As a result we keep a close eye on brand engagement, product understanding as well as Freeview Play TV and recorder sales. We also keep an eye on BARB data to look at the number of Freeview homes versus other TV services.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
In terms of data, we use a range of tools because we don’t have subscribers and therefore don’t have access to ongoing data from our customers. Creative use of things like TGI and BARB data help us to build a profile and segment audiences. We’ve found Google’s Attribution 360 tool really useful for tracking the connection between our TV advertising and our web traffic. And from a practical point of view, I’m a big fan of Evernote for managing all my notes and information in one place.
How did you end up in TV, and where might you go from here?
I actually started out doing work experience at an ad agency after graduating. One of their clients was Sky and they were looking for a marketing executive. I decided to apply and got the job. I’ve been client-side ever since. I really love working in the TV and telecoms industry, it’s incredibly dynamic so I’d be perfectly happy to stay within it. That said I wouldn’t say no to looking at related industries in the future, such as arts, leisure or tourism.
What are your favourite brand campaigns?
I think the ongoing work that Specsavers do manages to build an emotional connection through humour and entertainment as well as demonstrating a key benefit in a simple and memorable way. I particularly admire campaigns that manage to be both brave and ground-breaking such as the Bodyform ‘Blood Normal’ campaign and the various Channel 4 Superhumans campaigns.
Do you have any advice for people who want to get into marketing in your sector?
I can’t deny that it’s a competitive market. To stand out, it’s important to show you can multitask across projects, build strong and collaborative relationships with others and of course, have a genuine passion for TV.