Associate Director – Performance at Merkle
Vanessa ventured into the world of media over five years ago, after specializing in economics. She has since developed expertise in leading holistic performance marketing strategies for brands across various industries, including QSR, telecom, automotive, and retail.
She is a firm believer in the power of data and combines her analytical skills to focus on driving innovation and transforming businesses, while continuously striving for a better understanding of the ever-changing consumer behaviors.
Vanessa is a passionate, dynamic individual that can easily adapt to new environments and is always up for a challenge. She is currently the account director on one of Merkle’s biggest clients, Pizza Hut.
Why did you choose this career path?
During my master’s, I explored the field of behavioral economics, which highlighted the various factors that impact people’s decisions and how they don’t always tend to act rationally or in accordance with economic theory. I randomly got into performance media, but I actually love it, as it merges the best of two worlds for me – human behavior and how to impact that vs how to help brands grow and achieve their business targets, all while keeping up with the rise and power of digital.
How did you land this job?
After a couple of years with my previous agency, a new opportunity at Merkle came along. Upon closely assessing the role, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take on a new challenge, which has been rewarding in terms of my growth and development.
How do you compare your work life vs what you imagined it would be?
Within media, it does tend to get crazy at times. When you’re passionate and dedicated, the pressure also mounts up, but I’ve learned to create a balance. I wouldn’t imagine any job to not have some stress associated with it, but I enjoy what I do and I love the fast-paced, dynamic environment, which makes it worthwhile.
What do you wish you had been told before you started working?
I’ve heard the “You learn on the job,” but I wouldn’t say I knew how extremely accurate this is within our field, as so many new things weren’t even around months ago, let alone years. I find beauty in that, though; our industry continues to evolve rapidly, it’s fascinating, which makes it so important to continuously upskill to remain on top of it and thrive.
What is the best thing someone could tell you about your work?
The most rewarding thing would be that my work has helped a brand overachieve its business goals and drive revenue. I truly believe in the power of our field, and to deliver excellence and success is what I seek.
What’s the worst thing someone could tell you about your work?
That results can be achieved without investing in the right measurement. For me, data is at the base of what I do; so, failing to recognize the importance of measurement to draw insights and drive results would be disappointing.
What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned at work so far?
A few are important to me: to never shy away from a challenge; to stay true to who you are; and to always lead on your growth. I think the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my career are when I stepped up to take on a challenge and had to push myself to achieve success. Adding to that, I think it’s always key to stay true to one’s values and personality; and finally, I think one should own how they want to shape their career and work towards their growth – no one can do it for you.
Who’s your role model?
It wouldn’t be a specific individual, but rather the traits they hold. The common factor would be successful leaders that lead with empathy, strength, strategic thinking, and vision. Women leaders surely inspire me, but I also tend to grasp different individuals to shape who I want to be.
If not this, what would you be doing?
I majored in economics and have always loved the business side of things, which is what I would’ve been doing if not for media, focusing more on brands’ growth and profitability. But I do get some of that exposure within my job, so that’s great.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
I think every day that goes by helps me shape where exactly I want to be, so I wouldn’t say it’s certain for now. But in my current state, I would want to be in a leadership role within a global brand in the beauty & fashion industry.
The 30 Under 30 ranking was first published in Communicate's Q1 2023 print issue.