Meet the Incisive Media team: 10 questions with… Product Manager, Rachel Nurse


What was your first ever job?

I worked at Toys R Us as a Sales Floor Assistant. I spent my time restocking hundreds of Star Wars figures and lightsabres, Baby Born dolls and Lego sets whilst dodging kids tearing up and down the aisles on bikes, and trying to drown out the infamous jingle playing over the speakers, on repeat. I’m sad that Geoffrey has such financial troubles now, when he once had so many toys all under one roof.

Why did you get into the world of media?

Because I can wear trainers as a professional! I sort of fell into B2B publishing and realised I enjoyed working on a product that people relied on in order to do their jobs. It’s rewarding to represent something that people trust and come to you for advice as an expert. It’s an industry which is constantly evolving and facing challenges alongside consumer trends and behaviours, so I’ve had to learn to be comfortable with change. And you can be fairly creative, which is important to me.

What does your current role entail?

Product management is also people management, especially at Incisive where I have 11 brands to manage, and each of those brands has an editorial, a sales and a marketing team, all with different priorities and plans for the product. I spend a lot of time looking at our analytics and customer data, and communicating the need to use this data to fuel business decisions. As a digital department, we’re focusing on delivering a more premium product to our customers in 2018, and so I am working on developing subscription and engagement features that support this.

What’s the favourite part of your current role?

Working with different teams, because you have no idea what is going on in other departments unless you ask! I also love seeing ideas materialise from concept and design through to launch – it’s incredibly satisfying to see customers actually use something you thought would be useful.

If you could go to one industry event this year, which would you choose?

London-based, it would be the Mind the Product Conference; a one-day event of talks, workshops and networking with other product people. But, who doesn’t want to go to SXSW for a week of “learning” in Texas?!

If you could ban one buzzword or piece of jargon what would it be?

“Millennial” because, hey we’re humans too! Force fed kale and avocados and then told to stop it if we ever want to make serious property investments.

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

I get to experiment with different technologies and platforms to see what works best for our audiences; being involved in that process and learning from it is exciting. The booze trolley on Fridays is also up there!

What’s the best book you have ever read?

The Hobbit, and on a professional level, Getting to Yes is a short read on how to improve sales techniques (from when I worked in sales), although I still use things I learned from it in everyday life.

And favourite film?

Anchorman.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

I don’t have any mottos to live by, but I did read a great piece of advice from Barack Obama on a WIRED interview, he said: now is the best time to be alive.  Which I do remind myself of every now and then when the news gets a little bit bleak!

Meet the Incisive Media team: 10 questions with… Professional Adviser editor, Julian Marr

 

What was your first ever job?

I had a Saturday job at Selfridges for a chunk of my time at university – at least until one of the directors saw me trying to staple a colleague to the counter by his tie. My first full-time job was as a trainee solicitor at one of the big City law firms – another career to which I may not have been wholly suited.

Why did you get into the world of media?

Show me someone who claims they lay in their cot as a baby dreaming of being a financial journalist and I will show you a liar. For my part, I jumped out of a plane for charity – I was wearing a parachute – and wrote up the experience for the law firm’s in-house magazine. I ended up editing the mag and, if you can believe this, found it much more interesting than the intricacies of banking law. When my not-so-promising legal career became a tiny casualty of the IRA blowing up my office in 1993, a change of direction seemed like a good idea – and, 25 years later, here we are.

What does your current role entail?

When I was editorial director towards the end of my first stint at Incisive (2000-2008), I tried to get all our editors to think of themselves as ‘brand ambassadors’ – and, in the two years since I have been back, it has seemed only right to try and follow my own advice. Yes, I know it is an awful phrase but it does convey the important and multi-faceted role that editors (should) have in this business, propelling forward their titles online, in print, at events and with associated projects, such as research and content – both to our audiences and the good, good folk who fund us.

What’s the favourite part of your current role?

The variety (see previous answer). I’d be lying if I said every day of the last two years had been a wholly uplifting and positive experience but, typing this, I realise I have never once been bored.

If you could go to one industry event this year, which would you choose?

Now having two small children, who can be very loud, very early in the morning, industry events do not quite hold the appeal they used to. That said, Professional Adviser’s all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza ‘PA360’ (Director: Helen Danzey; Producer: Andrew O’Kelly), where we are looking to attract 500 financial advisers to an all-day event in London on 24 April, is looming large in both my diary and my consciousness.

If you could ban one buzzword or piece of jargon what would it be?

As a journalist, it’s in my job description to believe all jargon should be avoided but no word should ever be banned.

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

Admitting to being excited about any aspect of my job would seriously compromise the aura of world-weary experience I have attempted to build up over the last 20-odd years. Plus no-one who knew me would believe me. So instead I will say what I have been most proud of are the journalists I played a part in inflicting on Her Majesty’s financial services industry in the decade or so before I went freelance in 2008. Now I’m back managing people as well as words, I would like to hope the process has begun all over again.

What’s the best book you have ever read?

I wish I could have written Vernon God Little although my all-time favourite is Catch-22. Yossarian is one of my heroes though, looking back at my career, I probably could have chosen a better role model than someone who is constantly perplexed by the logic and decisions of those higher up the chain of command.

And favourite film?

I’d love to be able to offer an impressively deep and meaningful answer but I figure my favourite film has to be the one I have seen the most times. And that – by a truly disturbing distance – is Jaws. Unlike Catch-22, I do not think you can read too much into this choice although, when looking at so many of the investment, pensions and other financial issues facing this country, I often find myself thinking: “We’re going to need a bigger boat.”

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Honestly? Nothing springs to mind, which suggests I have always been more one for offering advice than taking it. For example, to anyone starting out in financial journalism – don’t treat it as a nine-to-five job but revel in the things you will learn, the people you will meet and whatever extra-curricular activities the ever-burgeoning compliance sector still allows. Or as I have been known to tell my team more succinctly: “You’re not paid enough not to have fun.”

Meet the Incisive Media team: 10 questions with… Head of Research, Julie Best


What was your first ever job?

Singing in the local church choir, which was a surprising way to earn some cash given my tunelessness and otherwise complete lack of churchgoing. However, my friend Catherine said they paid £2 for every wedding you sang at, and that was the clincher. (We were only about 10.)

Why did you get into the world of media and research?

I’ve always absolutely loved the media, in all its forms. My first plan was to work in radio, and I did some work experience at Severn Sound (now Heart Gloucestershire) where I rubbed shoulders with such notable celebrities as Eddie the Eagle Edwards! After moving to London, I got into magazine publishing via a job at Centaur and have never looked back.

What does your current role entail?

I veer between trying to find a quiet corner of the office to sit and write research reports and getting out and about with the sales team to present our ideas and findings to clients. Broadly, the main purpose of my role is to build a portfolio of research products.

What’s the favourite part of your current role?

Coming up with an idea that delivers something new, interesting and valuable to a client.

If you could go to one industry event this year, which would you choose?

I’d find the Investment Marketing and Innovation Awards interesting from a professional perspective. From a personal perspective, I’ve got two little people and actually any night out would be exciting!

If you could ban one buzzword or piece of jargon what would it be?

‘Let’s socialise this’ (sorry, Mitch!!)

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

Honestly, coming to work in the West End of London, and getting to do a fascinating job with lots of brilliant people. I think we forget how lucky we are sometimes.

What’s the best book you have ever read?

I’m struggling to choose between two from my favourite author, A.M. Homes. Either ‘May We Be Forgiven’ or ‘This Book Will Save Your Life’.

And favourite film?

The Rum Diary. Although if it’s what film have I watched the most times, I’d have to admit to Beverly Hills Cop! (I grew up in the 80s…)

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

A nod to former Centaur chairman, Graham Sherren, for this one – don’t be a busy fool!