It’s been an exciting year since I wrote my guest blog post for PhDs at Work in February 2014. At that time, I was responsible for the German business operations at DWPub. We were in the early days of developing a campaign for ResponseSource, our Journalist Enquiry Service which we had just launched in Germany and France. ResponseSource is used by journalists to gather information for articles. Via our website, journalists can send requests for information, expert comments, case studies and more to PR professionals representing companies and organisations in different sectors. ResponseSource has been an established brand in the UK for 18 years, and DWPub is now expanding the service to France and Germany.
Six months after I wrote my blog post, I was promoted to Business Manager DWPub Europe. I am now responsible for the German and French business segments of the company. My primary task is to drive the launch of ResponseSource in France and Germany, and to grow the business in the two territories. I’m looking after four full-time German and French team members, and we are currently recruiting three more people to join the European team in our Croydon office.
Over the past year, we have been working to further develop and adapt the service to the German and French markets and expand the community of users.
There were two projects that I particularly enjoyed working on. The first one was a nationwide study we conducted among German journalists in collaboration with the ICT market research organisation BITKOM Research. The goal of the study was to explore the impact of digital technology on journalism as well as on the media industry in Germany. More than 1,300 journalists took part in the study. The results, which we presented at a press conference in Munich, triggered lively debates in the PR and media sectors in Germany. I’ve written about some of the results of the study in this blog post.
The second project was a networking event in Germany. We organised a British breakfast with the company founder Daryl Wilcox. Many journalists and PR professionals used the opportunity to meet the inventor of ResponseSource and ask questions about the service and the business.
While we have been working with a German PR agency for the past 18 months, we’ve just recently hired a PR agency based in Paris to promote ResponseSource in France. We are now planning our first major event in Paris in co-operation with the agency.
It’s fascinating to see how the business develops in France and Germany. German journalists and PRs have generally been more cautious with our service and take their time to assess it before they use it. It seems like users in France, on the other hand, have been quicker to adopt the service. We have continuously adapted our product to react to the specific local requirements in these markets during the ongoing launch phase. This introductory period will be completed this year, and then the use of the service will become chargeable, like it is in the UK. This is an exciting phase with lots of big decisions to be made. Turning a free into a paid service is a big change, so it is important to get our users involved and keep them engaged. We conducted market research earlier this year to develop our pricing structure, and we will announce prices later this year.
Looking back at the past year, there have been many challenges and changes, some of them difficult, some easier than expected, but overall it is going in the right direction. I’ve been enjoying my new responsibilities. As a member of the company’s management team, I now get to see the bigger picture, and I’m more involved in decision-making processes. To help me settle into my new role and take on business and HR responsibilities, my company sent me to a management programme at Cranfield University last summer. Doing the programme was very helpful to learn and understand some essential aspects of a manager role, although I think nothing can prepare you better for a job than simply doing it. I will continue to learn in my new role, and I hope I can look back one year from now and see even bigger and better changes.
Start from the beginning – Read Maria Irchenhauser’s “Week in the Life”