Q&A with new UK Sales Director Stuart Flint
Hi all, I just joined Microsoft this month and the team put together some questions to get to know me a little more and to kick off my blogging career here, so these are my answers:
Why Microsoft? What was your impression of the company before you ‘got the call’?
As a bit of a gamer myself I have to say one of the biggest pulls to Microsoft was Xbox! But it’s also not very often you get a call to become the country sales director at one of the largest and leading technology companies in the world. Incredible, innovative products, as well as a strong heritage and reputation in the UK advertising market meant it was something that immediately had my attention.
This is an exciting time for the ad industry, and Microsoft - a media owner that can offer multi-platform solutions to a large and varied audience across all its products. Being part of that, and working with such a talented sales force, was very appealing.
What do you see are Microsoft’s strengths in the industry?
We can deliver great content across multi-platform products – I think we have really exciting advertising opportunities and integrated solutions for our customers. We also have a suite of products that allow us to build deeper engagement pieces for consumers within the context of what they’re doing – on the likes of Xbox, Skype, Windows 8.1 apps and MSN content solutions – as well as reach products like the new Video Network, Ad Exchange, Outlook.com and Bing that are flexible for brand and DR opportunities.
I don’t know of any other business with the same breadth and depth across screens and consumer services.
Tell us a bit more about your role here and what your plans are for Microsoft?
My role is to drive and influence revenue for the UK Advertising & Online team. In short, I will be growing advertising revenue in the UK, delivering a gold standard service reputation and developing new relationships – while at the same time maintaining and evolving the existing relationships we hold across media agencies, clients and creative agencies.
It’s still a bit early to be making solid plans as I only joined last week, but what I can say is that my aim is to improve on what already appears to be a very successful team and department.
If you were starting your first job in the industry today, what’s the best piece of advice you could receive?
Network, network, network! And be genuine.
Who, or what, is your inspiration?
I’m inspired by bright and highly motivated ‘doers’. A doer is anyone who realises that things don’t just come to them – you’ve got to go out there and get it for yourself.
What has been your favourite piece of work/ project/ role you’ve worked on so far in your career?
I really enjoyed the start-up mentality of Virgin Media when it launched the new TiVo service just over three years ago. I was tasked to promote and evangelise the product, at the same time setting up and developing a sales team to deliver on the revenue opportunity through its interactive home screen, pushing integrated content as well as pre- and mid-rolls on its catch-up services catalogue.
It was exciting because it was new and nothing the market had seen before – it certainly made you wear out your shoe leather and knock down doors. Agencies loved it because it was something different and exciting to take to their clients, and I think it had real potential as a developing advertising platform in the UK. The whole campaign was hugely rewarding and brilliant fun.
What’s your favourite sport and who do you support?
I find triathlon athletes inspiring – they’re disciplined, multifaceted and incredibly fit. They can compete with the world’s best individual swimmers, cyclists and runners, which is amazing.
I also support Tottenham Hotspur – it’s a family inheritance! We’ve had another tough year after such significant investment, so a top four spot has to be the aim next season.
You’re known for your immaculate dress sense – what’s your secret?
Is that a wind up? Either way, thank-you! I’ve got no secret, though – just be comfortable in what you wear.
Finally, Cannes Lions is the next big date on the ad industry’s calendar – what’s one thing you hope to learn from the festival?
Cannes is an opportunity not only to spend time with your guests on a more intimate level and build even stronger relationships, but also connect with worldwide colleagues to share ideas and be inspired.
The Festival has some wonderful speakers, and there are three that really stand out for me who I’m hoping to get the chance to see: Dana Anderson from Mondelez International, Dave Allen from Beats music and Giselle Bundchen, who will be discussing the Fashion industry.