Interview
01/06/2022

#AskTheBoss: BurdaDirect

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If a company invites you for an interview, then you’ve cleared the first hurdle in the application process. So how do you prepare? And what makes your future manager tick? The #AskTheBoss series answers these questions while providing a sneak peek into different departments. Today we talk to Gerlinde Kimpel, Director Consumer Data & Services at BurdaDirect.

The pandemic proved to be an enormous boost for digital transformation. Many sectors came to realise that in the event of interrupted supply chains, contact with customers is the only way to generate sales. Active customer relationship management took on a whole new significance. How do you deal with this challenge at Consumer Data & Services?

By implementing a cross-brand digital and data strategy that consistently places customers at its centre. This enables us to address the interests of individual customers and align our services accordingly. For example, we used RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value) to analyse the purchasing behaviour of customers in the Mein schöner Garten online shop and identified 10 different target groups, including “Champions”, “Potential Loyalists”, “Need Attention” and “One Shot Wonders”. My colleagues can now define various measures to increase customer value in each target group.

Congratulations on your anniversary, by the way! You’ve been with Burda for 10 years – what makes your job so interesting?

The dynamic environment. Burda is always evolving. New business models are constantly being established around well-known brands and relevant companies are acquired to consistently expand the portfolio. This is a great challenge in terms of data management and data strategy.

What makes Consumer Data & Services an attractive employer?

We are responsible for consumer data within BurdaVerlag and help brands such as Instyle, Elle, Freundin, Bunte and Mein schöner Garten to generate leads. We talk to the editorial teams all the time and study consumer behaviour to find out about their interests. The data we acquire is processed, analysed and made available to the brands for further processing. On this basis, the right services can be offered to the right target group at the right time. This is an exciting task that our team really enjoys – we have a common goal and are truly dedicated.

What do you look for in an application? And what is your application process like?

Naturally, we gain an initial impression from the application documents, which are our first point of contact with an applicant. These documents should provide as many answers as possible to the questions we unconsciously ask: Has the applicant thought about the company? What makes their CV stand out? What are their specialist qualifications and are they committed? If we are satisfied with the answers they give on paper, then we’ll invite them for an interview. The first round of interviews is usually held virtually, via Teams.

What’s the best way to win you over in the final interview?

By being open and authentic, clearly conveying your specialist knowledge while also demonstrating your enthusiasm, team spirit and commitment. There is one thing that irritates me: in a recent interview, the candidate addressed me as “Du” (the informal “you” in German) without being prompted to do so. This might be acceptable in modern culture, but for me it’s just not the done thing.

What qualities would your dream candidate have?

A passion for the subject, openness to new things, reliability, perseverance and an appreciation for their colleagues.

What are your top tips for career starters?

Try out lots of different areas to see what really lights your fire! In my experience, this becomes obvious pretty quickly. Is it measurable success like sales, implementing business processes, or the creative work of our editorial teams? Whatever you’re drawn to, if you feel the fire then you’ll be a success.

A good bond with customers is one thing, a bond with your colleagues is another. How do you ensure the happiness of your employees?

With a clear objective, open communication, regular feedback and valuing their achievements, as well as professional, personal and individual support. Plus, we live by our values and are always ready to listen.

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Gerlinde Kimpel is Director Consumer Data & Services at BurdaDirect and relies on open communication, regular feedback and appreciation of performance in her team © HBM

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