Jean-Philippe Baert is a veteran of the martech industry now heading up a social media monitoring and publishing platform from Paris.
Baert let’s us in on his daily routine and shares some of his wisdom from his time marketing to marketers.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I’m the CEO of Mention, a SaaS company based in Paris and New York. We are a media monitoring platform that offers social listening and social media publishing. My job is to develop the strategy and vision for the business.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organization? Who do you report to?
We were acquired by Mynewsdesk owned by NHST Media Group back in
August 2018. Since the acquisition, as CEO I now report into Hege Yli Melhus Ask, Group CEO of NHST Media Group.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Hands on experience. I’ve been in the martech industry and worked my way up over the last 30 years. I believe market knowledge and experience growing a business is what is needed to fulfill this role.
Active listening is another one. I joined Mention a few short weeks ago, so it’s crucial to listen to those on the ground building the company up. It helps me define a clear direction for us to be able to improve our customer satisfaction, innovate our product and bring in more talent.
Tell us about a typical working day…
I started less than a month ago so I’d say so far each day is vastly different. We have teams in both New York, Paris and remote staff in Helsinki, Montreal and Monaco. During my onboarding it’s essential that I spend time with everyone. I’ve spent the last few weeks travelling to New York, Oslo and Paris to squeeze as much as I can out of our teams.
What has stayed a constant for me so far is reflection. Each day, I reflect on the team and people I’ve met with. I build off what they’ve shared with me so I can begin crafting a clear strategy and vision for the next 2-4 years.
Currently, my purpose is to help people realize their goals, get the best talent on board and grow our business. I am certain that when the onboarding dust settles, I’ll be knee deep in helping develop our product plans, meeting journalists for coffee, strategizing our customer approach, or joining a huddle with the tech team. That’s the nature of scaling a business, and I love it.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Meeting with great people and learning new things everyday from our incredible talent. I also love the visionary aspect of my role, it’s very fulfilling to map out a strategy with great minds from diverse backgrounds.
I love the pace of the martech industry. It moves pretty fast and is completely different than when I first started out. Everyday there are new social media features, capabilities, limitations and insights that offer our product opportunities and roadblocks. The thrill of delivering a product that people genuinely love, is what excites me. In a nutshell, martech is a challenge that I enjoy stepping into each day, it keeps me on my toes.
As for what I hate, probably that there isn’t enough time in a day. I actually live in the South of France and commute each Monday into Paris. I usually start the week with small objectives that ladder up to bigger goals for me to check off. Travelling back home each Friday allows me to decompress and refresh for each work week to come.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
I’d say my main goal for the moment is short term. It’s to revise our current budget with our parent company. This will allow us to set clear and optimistic objectives for 2020. This also means we’ll be doing some restructuring and reorganizing to the current teams we have to be more efficient and customer centric. Lots of big and exciting changes ahead!
My long term goal is something we’re projecting to reach in 2023 or 2024. It is to expand our business to a wider scope of markets and industries, such as agencies. There will be a big emphasis on analytics, to offer richer data that can influence decision making at the marketing level. But, there are some big jumps we’ll need to get there. One would be, accelerating our product development. By the end of 2020, we’ll have a complete social media marketing suite.
We have KPIs that measure up against each goal our departments outlines. We revisit them on a global scale once per quarter. Each team is responsible for tracking data and KPIs that are both qualitative and quantitative. This makes evaluating progress more precise.
What are your favorite tools to help you to get the job done?
I’m a bit of a minimalist in this area. I actually love my notebook and really value handwritten notes. Aside from my Gmail calendar or Slack I try not to clutter my day-to-day with too many extensions that impact my role. I prefer to focus on listening and learning.
The few tools I do use merely allow me to store information, which helps me make better decisions.
How did you end up at Mention, and where might you go from here?
I really enjoy working in start ups and scaling companies. Prior to my current role, I was working in a larger company, that didn’t offer as much opportunity to grow as fast as we wanted. So when I got the offer for Mention I was actually thrilled to be back in the action of a lively start up. As a marketer myself, leading a business solution used by digital communicators seems a bit circle I suppose.
Which advertising has impressed you lately?
One of my favourites at the moment is from Intermarche, it’s called ‘I dreamt that…’. It’s a twist on the classic holiday tradition of leaving cookies out for Santa. Instead children offer Santa vegetables, to ensure they stay in his good books before Christmas morning. As a parent, what I love most about this ad is that it revolves around love and care. Intermarche’s storytelling was spot on, and extremely heartfelt for the time of year.
What advice would you give a marketer starting out?
Alway try to build a bridge between what your company produces and what the market is looking for. It sounds simple, but it’s actually difficult to master. The ability to have anyone understand in seconds what benefits they will get from your business, is great marketing.
One of the best free resources is to listen to your customers online. Paying attention, and analyzing how your customers talk about your business is key. Review sites, forums and social media are some of the best places to get an honest opinion of your product and brand.