April Tayson is Adjust’s Regional VP INSEA, she has 15+ years’ experience in Digital Marketing. In her new role as Regional VP INSEA, she is responsible for Adjust’s SEA sales operations, go-to-market strategy, and growing the company’s market share and revenue.
April is passionate about promoting Southeast Asia’s vibrant and fast-growing mobile ecosystem while bringing more transparency and trust to the industry.
In today’s Leaderspeak April Tayson, Regional VP INSEA, Adjust speaks on the Mobile advertising landscape and her plans for India, inclusion and diversity in the workplace and much more.
With 15+ years of experience as a Digital marketing expert, how has your journey been?
I have spent over a decade in the digital marketing and advertising industry, working in different positions across the mobile advertising landscape. My forte has always been to grow emerging markets from scratch, and it has been a rollercoaster of a ride so far. It has been incredible to see the growth of the mobile industry first-hand, and play a part in bringing industry knowledge to the Indian market.
The Mobile industry has grown manifolds in the past decade, your thoughts, and India has become mobile-first country, how do you see this ecosystem going from here?
A significant internet user base in India did not follow the typical pattern of going from PC, to laptop, to mobile, but jumped straight to smartphones instead. Adoption rates have risen fast, the smartphone penetration rate in India, for example, currently stands at around 500 million users in 2020 and estimated to cross 820 million by 2022.
The meteoric rise in mobile makes it one of the fastest-growing app markets, and that means huge opportunities for app marketers across the region. To make the most of these opportunities, brands need the right data to fuel their marketing strategies and investments in right measurement and marketing automation solutions.
Marketers in the region are also understandably concerned about advertising fraud. It is a big issue for marketers everywhere, but especially in India which is undergoing rapid growth and where user acquisition costs are low. There’s a real need for a very robust system to stop fraudsters — and we want Adjust to play a leading role in fraud prevention in India.
You have recently taken over as Regional VP INSEA, can you take us through your new role?
After leading Adjust’s efforts across the SEA region for the past 3 years, I am really looking forward to adding India to my remit – particularly given how exciting and fast-growing the Indian mobile industry is. Overall, I think of my role as more of a Solutions Provider, working with prospects and clients using a very consultative approach. This means helping them get the most out of the Adjust platform, providing best-in-class support whenever needed, and keeping clients up to date on new developments in the industry.
How do you see the APAC regions growth and the role of Adjust?
Adjust’s primary goal is to help clients build the most successful apps in the world – and we do that by providing the highest quality analytics and measurement capabilities. Essentially, that means we help brands to understand where their app users are coming from, and how they interact with their product once the app is installed. In just eight years, Adjust has developed into one of the largest tech success stories in Europe, and today employs over 550 people in 16 offices worldwide.
Along with measurement, Adjust’s platform includes fraud prevention, cybersecurity and marketing automation products. Together, they make marketing simpler, smarter and more secure for our clients.
You have talked about inclusion and diversity at your workplace, can you elaborate on this?
Adjust has always prided itself on being an inclusive and equal opportunity employer. We firmly believe everyone should have the chance to realize their potential regardless of gender, ethnicity, race or background, and we’re determined to provide support for diverse teams and the opportunity to create a fairer workplace.
We already have a number of initiatives to support this: flexible work arrangements and unlimited vacation offer easier work-life balance, parental benefits (such as childcare programs and enhanced parental leave rights) give parents more time for their families, and we strive to create an inclusive environment where everyone is valued.
In terms of recruitment, we train all employees in unconscious bias awareness, and look for team members that are open-minded and tolerant. Women account for almost half (42%) of our employees, and I am really proud to be part of a tolerant, fun-loving and passionate team.
As a women leader, how do you see the ecosystem create an equal playing field for women?
In the past few years, we have seen an increasing number of companies across industries appoint Chief Diversity Officers, in charge of diversity and inclusion strategies and optimizing company culture. It’s been proven time and time again that diversity enriches a company’s performance and products – so having a dedicated workforce in charge of D&I make sense financially and culturally.
While not every company will have the resources to appoint a CDO, there are small things every brand can do to create a more equal playing field regardless of gender, age, religion or race. This includes hosting unconscious bias training for all employees, sending regular diversity and inclusion surveys to employees, or building an internship programme for students from underprivileged backgrounds.
The most important achievement in your career?
When I joined Adjust in 2018, the company was already extremely well established across many regions – but the INSEA market was less familiar with our product offerings. My first objective was to create more brand awareness through customised GTM activities. We did this by delivering a large number of educational workshops on best practices and strategies for marketing campaigns, localising content and relevant case studies, hosting events and conferences, and building & strengthening local partnerships; catered to local customers and partners.
I also oversaw the development of our local team, hiring across functions in India, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. By significantly growing our headcount, we have been able to support clients even further, providing consistent gold standard support in their local language.
Thirdly, I am really proud of my team’s work to introduce innovative solutions to the region’s marketers, such as ad fraud protection and marketing automation. Ad fraud had been a growing concern among SEA’s marketers, resulting in significant losses in their marketing budgets. Adjust’s Fraud Prevention Suite bridges that gap by protecting their campaigns from ad fraud in real-time.
Marketers in the region were also spending a lot of time and effort on routine and repetitive tasks, especially when it came to campaign optimization. Adjust’s latest marketing automation product, Automate, offloads these manual tasks and gives marketers the ability to manage, optimise and scale their marketing campaigns at the click of a button.
Finally, we’ve also just released our latest product, Subscription Tracking. The Subscription Tracking feature is an industry-first, and brands will now have access to brand new subscription events – such as when a user started a trial, whether a user converted after a trial, or even if a user experienced issues paying their subscription.
In this pandemic and lockdown how have you kept your morale up and how have you motivated your team especially the women in your team?
The current crisis brought its own set of challenges and opportunities both in personal and professional environments. Not having the opportunity to huddle together in person with the rest of my team meant we had to find innovative solutions to remain connected and still effective.
Isolation and the lack of face-to-face interaction can be one of the toughest parts of working remotely, so we are doing what we can to support employees and stay social. To help, we created a work from home support programme, which can easily be replicated across companies.
The programme includes a Slack channel, where employees share tips, playlists, memes, productivity hacks or similar. We have also put together a live-stream events schedule led by Adjust team members, which includes a range of fitness and recreation classes, virtual meetups for parents, and after-work social events like live DJ sets and trivia nights.
What are some of the obstacles women face in their careers, especially in Ad tech sales?
In previous roles, and having spoken to other women in the industry, I think one of the most common obstacles revolves around not being taken seriously. Knowing your worth, continuing to be assertive and delivering consistent revenue numbers will force all employees to sit up and take notice.
However, ultimately, it’s a company’s responsibility to break these patterns rather than female employees themselves. Having a diverse leadership team which supports and champions female leaders is key to breaking this glass ceiling. Companies should also allow no place for discrimination and provide adequate flexibility for working parents.
On the personal front, Who was your first or most significant mentor or teacher in the professional space that you are in?
Over the years I was fortunate to have mentors at every stage that have helped shape my career and journey; and as a student I was always willing to learn. However, my first teachers who still remain a significant influence even today in my professional life are my parents – both of them are eternal optimists with inherent entrepreneurial spirits, never shy of dabbling in new ventures small or big. I cannot think of any better person than my father from whom I learned the art of engaging and connecting with people and my mother who taught me valuable lessons on continuous improvement that honed my ability to decide with soundness and prudence.
Your go-to activities on the weekend?
Spending quality time with family, cooking, listening to music and catching up with the latest shows on Netflix are my go-to activities during my down time. But weekends are also a time to read up on the latest trends in digital marketing, start-up landscapes in the region and also gather helpful information to build effective remote teams.