The Drum's 'Unsung Heroes' series is a celebration of the people in the industry who slog hard behind the limelight for their companies, brands, and clients. As they are seldom in the spotlight for their contribution to the success of campaigns, this is their time to shine.
For Erin Jang, a regional partnership manager for APAC at Dataxu, she is keen to change the way she is perceived and treated because to most partners, she is seen as a client. Instead, she rather be treated as a partner who understands their offering and wants to figure out a way of working together to best succeed in the market.
Why is your job important?
Partnership managers help build the foundation for a collaborative digital ecosystem - a concept we talk a lot about in our industry. Partnerships are particularly crucial in this industry because they make everyone’s solution stronger across different facets.
There’s no one company that can do it all, and integrating partners into both the internal ecosystem as well as the external offering makes it easier to ensure long term success. Besides building partnerships, there's also the need to maintain them - this being critical to facilitate consistent and effective communication across all stakeholders, a fundamental element of transparency.
What is the hardest and stressful part of your job?
Being expected to know pretty much everything across all of Dataxu’s partners off the top of my head. This means I’m responsible for interfacing with supply, data, measurement, and technology partners in the region – that’s no small task.
There’s so much to know from the big picture to small minute details, and with partners frequently improving their offerings, there’s a lot to keep up with. It’s not just about technical knowledge, but also about blending this expertise with market experience to solve our clients’ needs. Not to mention having to customize this approach for each market.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Forging partnerships that empower our sales and account teams, while meeting client needs. I also get immense gratification from supplying clients with expertise and knowledge on partners. As partnership managers, we often take it upon ourselves to educate our clients and ensure they fully understand what they’re signing up for.
First thing that comes to people’s minds when you tell them your job?
There’s not much education on, or discussion around what a partnership role entails, so one thing I get a lot of is, “So... are you like a salesperson?” There is, of course, an element of sales involved, as is the case for many jobs. But, the focus of the role lies beyond sales.
How would you correct/explain to them what you do then?
I work with partners like data providers, creative / media agencies, and inventory suppliers to ensure Dataxu’s clients have access to the best-in-market offerings.
Is there anything you want to change in your job?
I wouldn’t change anything about my job, except maybe how I am perceived, and ultimately, treated. To most partners, I’m seen as a client.
However, I’d rather be treated as a partner who understands their offering and wants to figure out a way of working together to best succeed in the market. That to me is the hallmark of a partnership – collaborative, rather than transactional.
Who is someone you want to emulate in your industry?
No one in particular. I think the industry, while fast-growing, is still young, such that no one person has demonstrated dominance and mastery over yet. This is the silver lining – there is so much room to grow and experiment, to do your own thing and carve out your niche.
In your role as regional partnership manager, what is the most memorable thing you have done?
I worked with SK Broadband in Korea to formalize a partnership that made Dataxu the first platform to integrate with and have access to SK Broadband’s IPTV VOD inventory!
To me, this meant TV advertising was at the cusp of change; the future of TV advertising wasn’t just coming, it was already here. Being able to target specific households and buy live TV spots from anywhere in the world is still unimaginable to most but we can already do it.
If you weren’t a regional partnership manager, what would you be?
Running a ‘yoga teaching – kombucha & beer brewing’ bed and breakfast.