My career trajectory has been challenging, eventful and ever-changing. Having worked through both positive and difficult economic environments. I am fortunate to work in an area, I am truly passionate about and really enjoy.
For some, a professional career is a destination. From the very start, the goal is to achieve some level of proficiency or stature in your chosen field of work. For others, a professional career is a journey. From the very start, the goal is to experience work from a variety of perspectives in your field and adjacent field.
My career journey
While I did stay on a analytics career journey, it followed a path I never anticipated. Rather than diving deep into the single discipline of data science, I accidentally discovered the joys of working across various disciplines - Business Intelligence, CRM, Media, Digital etc.
The more confident I became in my ability to explore new disciplines and cross boundaries, the more I became intrigued with complex business challenges. I am very pleased with my career path so far. I get particular satisfaction from sharing experiences, lessons and interests with fellow professionals and sharing my career knowledge.
So how did I get here?
From as far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a different type marketing professional, so that’s what I did at university, graduating from London Metropolitan University with an Applied Consumer Psychology.
This is a unique course that provides both specialist knowledge (psychology, marketing, research methods and advanced statistics) and broad range of business skills suitable for a practitioner in Marketing. In particular, the emphasis is on learning how psychological principles can be applied by organisations to enhance their performance in the marketplace.
I had thought that I would go down the chartered psychologist route when I completed my qualification, however through my studies and work experience. I realised being consumer psychologist was not for me at that stage. I was more interested in the application of psychology for marketing strategy. Before I graduated, I was fortunate then, to be successful in gaining a role as market researcher with National Opinion Poll (now GFK after acquisition). During my time at NOP/GFK, I was exposed for the first time, to the world of C-Level strategic decision making and while working with NOP/GFK, I became interested in the value of real insight to power business strategies.
London Probation Office - MIS team, is where my data career journey really started. During my time as a data consultant at London Probation Office, I analysed London criminal offence data and provided sentencing recommendations using historical offence data. After that, I worked for Department of Educational and Skills, again using data to recommend government programmes for young people (NEET) - Young people not in education, employment or training.
However, I was bitten by the marketing bug and felt I needed a new challenge bring my analytical skills to marketing marketplace. Whilst in marketing, I worked in a variety of roles including working for leading direct marketing agencies, boutique marketing consultancy, digital creative agency and media agency. It was a great experience and opened my eyes to a whole new world of business transformation possibilities and career opportunities.
In 2007, an opportunity arose with gt/vml (WPP agency) which offered the opportunity to join their team and help them make the best use of data opportunities to elevate digital creative output. It was a very interesting opportunity, so I went for it. During this time, I joined the WPP global Microsoft team and worked on R8 Launch, Audi A5 Launch, HTC EMEA launch, BBC Children CRM strategy, Christian Aid, Aviva customer journey optimisation, Windows Mobile Media Kit, Microsoft EMEA Silverlight launch etc. Little did I know that 2008 would be the year that the financial world would be brought to its knees.
In June 2008, the impact of the impending financial collapse was evident and it became clear that this would have an impact on the area of digital creative marketplace. This prompted my next career move which took me to MediaCom as Head of Digital Planning.
My role at MediaCom was the management of media data, data integration, partnerships and insight tools development. There was a definite period of readjustment, as I got used to the rhythms of the leading Media Planning and Buying in UK.
I’d come full circle and enjoyed working in data integration again and, in particular working with tier 1 global brands, talented colleagues, collaborative workplace and again part of WPP family.
First phase of my career, I mainly worked with 1st party data and now, I had the opportunity to work with 2nd party data and 3rd party data. During this time, I joined the GroupM analytics team and also worked on T-Mobile "Life is for Sharing", Audi Social Media listening, Eon Social Media Listening, Tommy influencer outreach, IKEA web analytics, Lucozade online-offline campaign integration, Shell Social Media Listening etc. The role also gave me the opportunity to engage with key partners at a completely new strategic level. I really enjoyed being involved in developing data transformative strategies to support the development of MediaCom competencies for mature UK leading brands.
I spent over two tears at MediaCom UK team but I was always eager to continue to elevate my strategic expertise. As the economy began to slowly recover, I was on the lookout for career enhancing opportunities. I started to expand my skills to across MediaCom teams - bringing data to SEO, Creative, Mobile, TV Media Planning, Sponsorship, Social Media and Content.
Doing a job I loved
In 2011, an opportunity arose with MediaCom Worldwide senior management team as Global Director, Social Media Technology. I could sense that social media was beginning to get global attention and this momentum was something I was keen to be involved in.
The social media landscape was complex and included various streams - social media listening, social media management and social media activation. I was delighted when they offered the role and I looked forward to combining my background in analytics, digital technology and specifically social media to make an impact in my new role.
My combination of skills and experience meant that I could hit the ground running and was able to get stuck into the role right away. I joined the GroupM Global Social Media Taskforce and worked on EA EMEA Data integration, Shell Global Social Media, UniCredit Champions League Sponsorship Activation, Skoda Tour de France Evaluation, Major League of Baseball Strategic Positioning, etc.
This role involved increasing brand engagement and the management of the full social media proposition, technology sourcing, partnerships, local training, thought leadership and management cycle of the MediaCom social media programme including the strategic development of connected digital touch-points.
My advice to marketing professionals is to start thinking about what you want from your career early in your employment path. Don’t leave it too late. Build up a portfolio of experience and skills through getting relevant work, challenging projects and engaging with different sectors.
If you join a company that doesn't follow your visible career path, identify opportunities to learn new techniques and bring back skills that will distinguish you from other professionals. Also, learn a language, travel and embrace other cultures. In an ever changing jobs market these are a skills that is increasingly required by employers.
What I’ve learned
Ivan Fernandes provides Strategic Thinking and Planning (insight, data, media, digital, technology, content and ecommerce), has 10+ years strategic marketing experience and data leadership.
New business growth, comes from new strategic thinking.
Ivan Fernandes, Founder and Managing Director at Digital Business Partners