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5 Minutes With Joachim Holte

6th Feb 2015 Joanna Cockle

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As an online veteran spanning 15 years, Joachim’s working history has not yet involved a company without a ‘.com’ suffix. Most recently as Executive General Manager for Australia and New Zealand with the Wotif Group in Brisbane, Australia, where he managed the product, marketing and online strategy for the largest OTA in Australia. 

Prior to Wotif, Joachim spent two years as an integral member of the launch team at retail start-up buyster.com (now Wayfair) in Sydney, covering brand, market entry strategies as well as content, pricing and product strategy and site design.     

He also led the online marketing team for Yahoo!7/Yahoo! Australia and New Zealand and held other start-up roles previously.

Joachim now leads Wego’s marketing juggernaut as Chief Marketing Officer, has a BA (Hons) Philosophy from the University of Warwick, enjoys playing the guitar and skiing (not at the same time). He originally hails from Norway.

What are your digital / technology priorities for the year ahead?

For me mobile, especially mobile apps, is driving a lot of my priorities. Indirectly this leads to a larger challenge, which is dealing with the fragmentation between mobile web, mobile apps and desktop. At the end of the day people are using Wego and I want to make sure that they have a great experience independently of which device they are using. I also want to speak to the person – not the device – and this is quite a challenge at the moment (but we’re getting there).

Which brands or businesses are using digital / technology to its full potential and how?

I think you can’t look past projects like Charity: Water (https://www.charitywater.org/) who make very effective use of digital and technology to make it easier for people to help in providing clean water to everyone in the world. They’re like a charity startup – pick one problem to solve and do it in a disruptive way. Self-driving cars are great too, don’t get me wrong, but projects like Charity: Water and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation are really coming at world problems with technological solutions.

What emerging technologies or trends should people be aware of?

Personally I like the emergence of wearables. The Apple Watch, Google Glass and their ilk. I don’t think any of them are really practical, particularly desirable or widely useful right now, but I think there is a lot of exciting innovation to come in that area over the next few years.

What is the importance of video in the digital landscape from your perspective?

Online video is one part of the marketing mix and clearly it is where people are spending a lot of time online at the moment (and will surely increase well into the future). It is a great medium for connecting with people effectively, but it is still just one part of the mix that you use in concert with the other parts. 

How are people’s roles and positions in companies changing with the emergence of digital and technology?

I think the job titles change and the pace of change is increasing as well. But you still need smart people working on the right things. There might be more to keep up with but fundamentally you’re still trying to build a fantastic product that people will use.

What’s the best piece of innovation you have seen in recent time and why?

There’s been so much! One of the biggest things for me would have to be the iPhone. It wasn’t the first smartphone but it really turned everything on its head and changed the world we live in, and do business in, fundamentally. 

What are your strategies to stay ahead of the competition?

Build the best product for users, don’t pay too much attention to what everyone else is doing and keep your head out of the weeds.

What have you noticed regarding non-traditional competitors moving in and attracting talent away from your company?

We’re pretty non-traditional ourselves, so we don’t have too much of a problem. There’s definitively a war for good talent out there though.

How has employee engagement changed in recent times and how do you ensure that you have the highest levels among your employees?

I really don’t think it has changed too much. Hire smart people, set measurable goals and let them get on with things. No amount of free food will keep employees engaged if they don’t have a mission.

What is your favourite local food?

I am far too partial to hainanese chicken rice!

Where is your favourite place to travel?

Probably Moreton Island, just a 45 minute boat trip from Brisbane. Tropical paradise complete with oysters and good friends.