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  • Writer's pictureLuana

DD Talks - Interview with George Ganea (Senior Director, Marketing & Panels)

Updated: Jan 10



- Hi George! Thank you for accepting my invitation!

- With pleasure!


- Where do you think you see yourself in five years? (career-wise)

- Just like in job interviews... You never know what to answer. Usually, it's good to say that you see yourself in the same company. But back to the question: Where do I see myself in five years? Well, I think still at DataDiggers and definitely in the same team, because I really enjoy what we do. Now what I would like is for us is to remain the same people, because I really enjoy working with you all and want us to grow in terms of branding, to be recognized, and to be able to do more things. And I think the most important thing is to be able to create more videos, because there are many who already do that... I really enjoy making videos. And I hope the pandemic/war will end, and then it will be even easier for everyone…

- And to make advertisements, right?

- Yes, yes! That would be phenomenal!

 

- Can you briefly describe your position/role and the main tasks you are responsible for?

- I am the Director of the Marketing and Panels team. This team has grown since I joined DataDiggers. There were only about two colleagues handling this before, but it was not very organized, and at that time, there was only one brand: DataDiggers, not MyVoice. As DataDiggers expanded, our team grew to nine members. Our primary focus is to promote the MyVoice and DataDiggers brands and maintain strong relationships with our panel members. DataDiggers relies heavily on panels, which are databases of individuals from 64 countries who participate in our surveys. Fostering connections with these panel members is essential for our success. Our team fulfills two crucial roles: 1. Brand promotion and 2. Serving as a liaison between the brand and the needs of panel members.

- Perfect!


- Do you have a favorite project? If yes, can you tell me how it turned out?

- Yes, I have a favorite campaign. The one that worked out the best was the 'Short Film Breaks Festival' campaign on MyVoice. We showed panel members various short films or music videos, and they voted for their favorite. It went very well; people were very receptive. So, yes, I think that was the best in terms of results. But I also loved the 'Run a study, plant a tree!' campaign on DataDiggers the most. Because the message was excellent, and we did something 'small' for the community, for nature. I wish to do more campaigns like that.

- So, you liked it more because it was something 'concrete'.

- Yes, we managed to do something good, to help someone else besides ourselves. It wasn't marketing.

 

- Do you want to improve or acquire certain skills?

- When I left Ipsos, I had a crucial moment because I had become very interested in online marketing. And even though we do online ads, somehow, I think we are not 'proficient' on Google Ads yet. I would like to learn how to do that better. I think it would help me a lot. It's a very technical skill. But that would mean having a different job, that's for sure.

 

- How would you describe your working style?

- I am very organized. Even my inbox is well-organized with folders, no unread emails, etc. I try to note down everything so that I don't forget something important. I've tried to find tools so I don't have to remember everything myself. I use Workflowy, for example. Oh, and I even try to tackle the unpleasant tasks. I go by the principle: 'Eat your frog!' Because our perception is scarier than reality... Our projects are not as difficult as we perceive them to be.


- What idea have you implemented within the company that you particularly liked?

- Well, the first significant idea was to introduce MyVoice as a distinct brand from DataDiggers. Previously, we had only one brand, making it challenging to tailor our communication to our two primary audiences: clients and panelists. This realization prompted the creation of two separate brands, MyVoice and DataDiggers, each tailored to their respective target audience. This seemingly straightforward concept had a profound impact on our success.

- Great! But on a team level, was there something?

- Well, I think the monthly feedback meetings we have had a significant impact. I don't know where this idea came from or when it started. But clearly, there was a need. And I always look for solutions.

 

- Can you tell me about the techniques or tools you use to stay organized?

- Well, for applications, I really like Workflowy. But, in general, I like to use tools to keep myself organized. And I would like in the future to have as many things automated as possible. For example, we don't go to the market as much anymore; we use apps for that: Freshful, Sezamo. And one of the very nice things about these apps is that when you remember a product, you can add it directly to your shopping list in the app. So, I don't have to sit and remember, keep this unnecessary information in my mind.

- And it would be nice to have something more than that. Like how it used to be, when the milk truck came. I mean, to automatically bring you everything you usually order from Freshful, once a week/month.

- So... automations. That's the answer!


- Can you share a positive or negative thing your boss would say about you? You can refer to either Daniel or Paula.

- I think they would describe me as hardworking, and I take pride in that. My father instilled in me a strong work ethic from a young age, teaching me to approach even the most unappealing tasks with dedication and determination. This commitment to hard work is a defining characteristic of mine.

 

- If you were to hire someone for this position, what skills would you want them to have?

- I think it's important to have someone with a unique vision – to understand what needs to be done without necessarily being told. To have an overview, to understand what is needed, less of what others think is needed. Because neither Paula nor Daniel have a lot of experience in marketing, and besides us, there is no one else in marketing. So, it's important that everything comes from us. We need to monitor what's happening in the industry and implement it here.

 

- What role does your position play in the overall success of the company?

- I believe it makes us very visible, and this is clearly seen at trade shows, with clients coming in, and in the perception others have of us, etc. If before, we might have been seen as 'people who started a company', now we are seen as a 'company'. People have higher expectations now, and it's great to rise to that level. When someone has expectations of you, it gives you direction.

 

- How has your role changed since you joined?

- I think I always enjoyed having a team. You have limited resources, and you have to distribute them in a way that you achieve your goals. And you also need to keep the people happy. When I joined, Paula and Daniel were actually just looking for a Copywriter, but the need was so great that we managed to build an entire team.

 

- In which direction do you think this company is heading in the next few years?

- It's extremely complicated to predict that. Regarding panels, it's clear what we need to do – to grow significantly. But at the same time, we're trying to become more visible in Romania, especially as a full-service provider. And globally, we aim to gain more clients. In any case, the company has grown a lot, from 5 employees to 30 in a few years. I hope we remain a solid company and continue to grow steadily and balanced. Essentially, what I would really like is to become the first choice for others when they're looking for a panel provider.

 

- With which other departments does your department work most closely and why?

- I think we mostly work with colleagues from the Research department. In general, our work is based only on what we do, but at the same time, we work with everyone because we need information from them. And the best thing is that we always ask for and receive feedback, which helps us evolve constantly. Basically, we don't depend on anyone, but without our other colleagues, our work wouldn't exist.

 

- Does your job involve independent or collaborative work?

- I believe my work is purely collaborative. Maybe I have 2-3 things that I do on my own.

 

- Do you usually attend industry events/workshops? Which one is your favorite?

- I attended a few events when I was at Ipsos, but they all seemed extremely boring to me. It seemed like there was too little useful information. Training sessions are more useful from my point of view... I am aware that we could also attend events like 'Brand Minds,' but I believe it's much more important to always stay connected and keep your eyes open to what's happening around you than to go to X events per year. You learn more that way.

 

- Do you prefer remote or onsite work?

- I like both onsite and remote work, but I think it's suitable for different periods in everyone's life. For me, currently, remote work is more suitable because I need to be at home, take care of Rapha, and take Mara to school. And probably this will happen for another 5-10 years from now. Probably when I'm 50, and the kids are in high school, I'll want to be onsite again, and it will seem more OK that way – rather than staying home and getting bored alone. We, as people, have evolved, which is perfectly normal, and the 'worker' in us is just a part of us and not the only part. We are very interested in family, in how we personally evolve. And to combine all these aspects, the easiest way is to do it remotely. For example, this way, I can work, organize some meetings and then pick up Mara from swimming. Before, people just went to work and that was it. But as I mentioned before, we do it this way now also because it's possible... If we worked in a factory, it would be complicated. But I read a very interesting article recently about Generation Z, and apparently, they like going to the office. I think the most OK way is actually hybrid. But you have to be able to do it, obviously. Personally, I consider it ideal to work from Monday to Thursday and come to the office only one day. And on that day, you can organize various meetings, meet with colleagues, go to lunch together, and socialize.

 

- What does the ideal company look like for you?

- I love working for DataDiggers because it's important to me that Paula and Daniel are open to trying new things, testing, playing. From a CEO's perspective, I believe it's most important to set some targets and then let people figure out how to reach them – in the way they think is best. And obviously, hold them accountable if it doesn't happen. In larger companies, it happens that a lot of people get hired, and the leadership structure becomes so cumbersome that nothing happens. There are usually too many people who need to make decisions, give approvals. Plus, what's very nice for us is that we can take risks. If we do something wrong, we can't lose much, but if we do something very well, we can win tenfold. This balance encourages you to try new things – unlike a very large company, where you don't want to try anything risky. I definitely prefer an agile, smaller company.


- If you could start a business, what would it be?

- Well, I have an idea that I think could make a lot of money. Maybe I'll discuss this idea with Paula and Daniel, haha. Basically, in filmmaking, you make short films. And to make it known, you upload it on YouTube or submit it to festivals. Before, this was done by putting a film on a CD and sending it by mail – which was very expensive... And later, this was done by uploading the material on an online platform. The largest online platform was from Amazon. And probably, that's what I would do too... But I'm actually passionate about films, not business. I don't necessarily consider myself an entrepreneur.


- Describe the ideal corporate culture from your point of view. (Talk about the most important aspects)

- I think I talked about this in the previous question. In conclusion, what I like is an agile organization where people set some goals and let others reach them. So, as little micromanagement as possible and very high flexibility. To trust each other, understand that we are experts in what we do, and get the job done.


- If you were to apply for this position, could you describe the best strategy for the next 90 days?

- I can also say what I did the first time I came to DataDiggers. I did an analysis, looked at everything they had on the marketing and panel side. And then, I made a 20-page PowerPoint with all the gathered information. I pointed out what they were doing well and what they could do better. And from that, we figured out what we needed to do. Then, of course, you need to talk a lot with your managers, understand what they really want. It's not okay to go with the flow and start projects directly – you need to have a plan.

 

- What is your favorite research method?

- I really like focus groups. Because there is interaction between participants. You mostly 'throw' ideas, and you let them discuss. And you moderate to prevent them from going into a 'gray' area, to keep it relevant. And clearly, it's important here not to have people who talk too much or too little. Usually, one becomes a leader and talks the most, and then covers the others. And it's nice that people don't know each other, thus creating these social connections. You can show them ads, movies, etc. A focus group helps a lot in the research part to understand what is interesting, what is relevant.


- Thank you, George!

- With great pleasure!

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