In this latest edition of EMEA Employee Spotlight, we’re meeting James Collis, our first ever Solutions Consultant for EMEA. Prior to joining us, James headed up the Solutions Consulting team in EMEA for Visual IQ, a marketing attribution software provider. James brings 14 years’ experience in digital consultancy to his position at Narvar, where he helps ensure our platform meets the needs of our EMEA customers. So, without further ado, let’s hear from James himself.
Q: What do you do here at Narvar?
I’m the first person to be appointed as a Solutions Consultant in EMEA. My role is, fundamentally, a commercial one – but at the techie end of things. Essentially, its my job to ensure from the first meeting with a prospect that we can meet their technical and business requirements and that we have everything in place to build a long and successful relationship with them.
And my role doesn’t stop there. I often work in the implementation side of things too, helping clients with product consulting and working with them to ensure they are getting the most from the Narvar platform. This plays well to my previous experience and allows me to see at first hand just how beneficial the Narvar platform is for customers.
Q: What brought you to (and what excites you about) Narvar?
I’ve spent 14 years focusing on how brands can optimise the ‘upper funnel’ of customer experiences – whether that’s raising awareness of a brand or trying to generate interest or intent. Throughout, it always struck me as odd that retailers spend all this time, effort and money on winning the customer and then pretty much ignore them as soon as the purchase is made. Indeed, as the years have gone by I’ve personally become increasingly impatient with retailers that fail to offer a simple and clean online experience.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to work with a business that’s trying to bridge this chasm in the customer experience. It feels like we’re doing something no one else is doing and offering retailers something truly valuable. And then there’s the fact that Narvar is such a young company: there’s something special about working for a start-up, and I’m really excited to have this opportunity to help Narvar achieve its growth ambitions in EMEA.
Finally, and this is an important one, it’s great to work for a company that passes the mother test – after all these years she finally understands what I do for a living!
Q: What’s your favourite thing about working here?
I can’t think of many companies where you have the chance to build a sector from scratch – and one that meets such a clear need. In years to come, I’ll be able to look back on my time at Narvar and know that I was part of a company that quite literally transformed how brands interact with customers after the point of purchase. I expect that, thanks to the work we’re doing, there will be a shift in focus and spend from the upper funnel to the post purchase phase, and customer loyalty will increase dramatically as a result.
It also goes without saying that the team here is a huge plus point. In fact, the welcome I received at Narvar was the warmest I’ve had in my career.
Q: What are you passionate about?
I grew up in the country, and it remains in my blood. My great passion is spending time in the countryside; whether that’s in Britain or further abroad, on foot or motorbike. Outside of my leisure time, I’m passionate about helping retailers change their conversations with customers. It’s hugely rewarding to see how our clients can transform their relationships and how this translates to measurable business impact.
Q: What’s your go-to book or movie recommendation?
I must admit to not really ‘getting’ fiction, but I am a fan on non-fiction; particularly autobiographies. There are many great autobiographies to choose from, but for me the best are those where I already know a little about the writer and I’m interested to find out what makes them tick or how they push themselves. Recently, I read John McGuiness’ autobiography, which I would recommend to any fellow motorbike fans.
Q: What’s something that would surprise people about you?
I’m one of the few digital marketing professionals in the UK who used to be a toy developer! My first job out of uni was a toy importer – but it wasn’t long until I joined the world of digital sales and marketing. Some people might also be surprised to hear I have a degree in farming. I grew up on farms and am never happier than when in a field. One day, when I’ve fulfilled all my ambitions in the digital world, I hope to open a smallholding of my own; maybe with a little butchers’ shop attached.
Q: Who’s your favourite retailer (or retail experience) and why?
That’s a tough one! I’m what you might refer to as a functional shopper: I only get something if I need it. So, you might find me from time to time in Infinity Motorcycles looking for new shiny things for my bike or at Screwfix looking at tools I really can’t live without. I also really like Hideout Leathers – they hand make beautifully crafted motorbike leathers. The kind of shops I like are quite niche, and it often strikes me that their online capabilities aren’t always that great – maybe something we could help with!