Why working at Spark Networks is not like working for another “in-house” company
When it comes to Marketing, working in an agency is often revered as the best way to accelerate your learning curve – especially at the beginning of your career. But this isn’t always the case. We asked Senior Marketing Manager Katerina di Marco to reflect on how Spark Networks’ diverse portfolio makes for a unique in-house role – with all the challenges and opportunities you’d come to expect at an agency.
I have always searched for challenges and that is how I got my first job in Berlin. Coming from a production and project management position in Havas Prague, I applied for a Junior Offline Marketing Manager role at Spark Networks in 2015 (Affinitas at the time). I was lucky enough to gain the trust of the former CEO David Khalil to take over responsibility for ten markets just a few weeks after the interview, despite being totally new to marketing. Sounds crazy? I believe that if one is willing to learn and has great mentors around, seemingly difficult goals are relatively easy to achieve.
One thing worried me though. Having come from an agency background where every day looks different, I wondered how working in-house would be. One company, one marketing channel to manage and one relatively small Offline Marketing team. Wouldn’t I get bored once I learned the ropes?
It’s been over three and a half years since my interview with David, and I’m now a Senior Manager with my own team. But there are still days I feel like that same person in 2015 – facing tasks I’ve never come across before and learning new skills, which keeps it exciting. Spark Networks evolves fast and working here is not like being part of other in-house Offline Marketing teams. Here’s why:
- We are international
The company has a presence in 29 markets, from New Zealand to Mexico and from South Africa to Sweden. The Offline Marketing team currently manages six markets, with the USA being its main focus. Unlike in the online world, where Google dominates the space and majority of the European and American countries can be managed within one interface, the offline marketing landscape is very diverse across various markets. The USA is big on cable TV, while we need to book free-to-air channels in the UK to get sufficient reach. In Australia, we buy TV spots, while in the UK we pay per audience impression. Media agencies are our partners in all key markets but knowing the specifics of each media ecosystem is a must for an Offline Marketing manager at Spark Networks.
Spark’s Freemium & Preemium apps: operating in 29 markets worldwide
- Multiple brands with unique audiences
Spark Networks has a widening portfolio of dating brands, each serving a specific community of people. For example, EliteSingles reaches highly educated professionals with a focus on 35-the 45 age range, whereas SilverSingles targets the 50+ demographic. Understanding the media consumption of these different audiences allows us to reach them through the right channels. This year’s launch of our SilverSingles TV campaign has been a great success thanks to the A50+ audience being the strongest age group watching TV worldwide.
While TV viewership for younger audiences has been on decline, A50+ audience stays strong. Source: Nielsen Total Audience Reports (2012-2018). US Market
- Offline is not only TV
Despite the fact that the majority of Offline Marketing budget is allocated to TV (as it’s the leading medium with the highest reach), we experiment with other mediums as well. You could see EliteSingles out-of-home campaign at Paris underground around Valentine’s Day, click-through a Hulu ad that runs in the USA or hear LDS Singles radio campaign surrounding the live broadcasting of the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Brand performance
On the one side, we are part of the Brand team, which allows us to get insights from and contribute to the creative and production processes, on the other side, we are highly performance driven. Any campaigns we run are measured and evaluated based on hard KPIs and/or soft metrics depending on the campaign’s objective. Our decisions are data driven while keeping our creatives ‘on brand’. We believe this is a strong mix that supports sustainable growth.
One of the best performing SilverSingles Brand creatives
Spark’s worldwide portfolio of diverse brands means there’s never a dull day at work. I love the fact that I am not limited by one brand or market, and that I can strategically move budgets across in order to achieve the best performance and support the company’s growing success.
Like what you hear? Keep an eye out for our open Marketing positions here!
By Katerina di Marco