My Job in 5: Ucheora Obi

My Job in 5: Ucheora Obi

Describe your role
I am the research and insight manager at Macmillan Education, with a specific focus on the EFL (English as a foreign language) side of the business. Macmillan Education has been building a completelynew marketing team this year, reflecting a shift towards a more strategic and customerled approach to how we market our products. Being a new role, my job is extremely varied and no two days look the same! My main remit is to act as a key bridge between our publishers, brand managers and customers, building robust research processes for the development of our products along the way.

What do you like best about your role?
The wide exposure that I get to the business! My role sits across all of our publishing and brand teams, looking at both traditional and more innovative digital publishing. As a people person, I love the variety of people that I get to interact with. Being in a new role has involved taking the time to understand how things have previously been done, which can be a challenge, but it appeals to my inquisitive nature. Knowing that I’m playing a part in shaping how things will look going forward is extremely rewarding. Plus, working in a team of bright, passionate and friendly people, certainly makes going into work enjoyable.

Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
One of the key strategic projects that I have been able to initiate is a global customer segmentation—a first for us. This is an ongoing project, but I’m excited to see the impact it will have on the business. Another important part of my role is the creation a fortnightly industry newsletter. This hasm been a successful mechanism for delivering news within the business and raising the profile of our new team; and it keeps my creative juices flowing. We have lots of exciting new products coming up, so researching and contributing to the product development
process keeps me busy.

Which skills do you need for your role?
A key skill is active listening. I have to be able to understand (or at least empathise) with colleagues’ challenges, and translate these into actionable research briefs/plans, with a commercial focus. I have found that being personable and open-minded is helpful when engaging with colleagues— especially those who are new to research. To this effect, resilience and flexibility can also be important.

What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
As is true of any industry, don’t be afraid to bring in the skills and knowledge that you have developed. Researching different types of customers across a variety of industries has shown me that there are some inherent needs that humans have. I believe looking outside publishing can help us to enhance our understanding the industry (and vice versa).