Alumni Spotlight: Alanna Fallis
by Nicola Brown, MPC2014
Meet MPC2012 alumna Alanna, Marketing Manager at London-based fintech company Worldpay.
Since graduating from the MPC you’ve had quite a broad range of roles in the communication industry. Can you tell us a little bit about how all these different experiences have lead you to where you are today?
Over the past six years I’ve managed to work across 4 different industries in two countries. I’ve explored different functions from PR and marketing to internal communications. The range of roles and industries includes a PR agency, higher education at two prominent universities, a growing startup, and most recently in fintech at a leading payment provider with over $1B net revenue.
Each experience has one thing in common: I have always worked within communications and marketing. On the other hand, each experience is unique in that each role differs by service, product and culture.
The expertise I have in marketing and communications have allowed me to explore a wide range of different types of work and I feel that each experience has allowed me to bring new perspective and knowledge to the next role.
I’ve approached my career thus far by building expertise that can be applied to different industries. It’s valuable to have an interest in and understanding of one industry, but it’s even more valuable to have that across a few industries as it enables adaptability and cross-application of knowledge.
You currently work in marketing for a fintech company in London in the UK. Why fintech? What attracted you to this industry?
Fintech is a growing industry in London. There are plenty of small startups innovating in the space and attracting new customers with transparent services.
Worldpay is the leading payment provider in the UK and owns 42% of the UK market, so it’s certainly not a startup, but it’s deemed a fintech company for its product and culture.
The unique thing about fintech is that several of the innovations are often being sought by people you know. For example, mobile payments have skyrocketed in the past two years and it’s neat to create savvy marketing campaigns for innovations that you use and believe in.
I’d imagine marketing and communications play a big role in the fintech industry. Can you tell us a little bit about how important communication is to an industry that’s trying to revolutionize how we manage our money?
I’m on the marketing team at Worldpay and we work very closely with the sales teams. This was new for me. The relationship between marketing and sales is the utmost important as the sales teams have the knowledge from the ‘ground’ and often help inform us of who our customer and target market is.
Given we are focused on B2B marketing I had to learn how to think like a small business owner and discover what their wants and needs would be when considering which products to purchase to take payments.
Most of our work is created from research gathered in the field so that we are confident that we are speaking to the customer in the most meaningful way possible, Ultimately, to better promote and advocate for our services.
The marketing and communications bit is important as it’s often the first interaction a potential customer has with the company/service, so it’s crucial that the message is received as intended.
What are the biggest challenges and what are the biggest rewards in your job?
There are several challenges in B2B marketing as we’re tailoring our campaigns and messaging to a very niche market. It’s challenging because it’s really not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Since Worldpay is quite large and well known in the UK, we are often labeled as a large corporate. We’re up against competition from smaller organisations who can often come across as more ‘friendly’ to our target market.
The biggest reward in my job is hearing customers advocate for your brand, most often through social media or email feedback. When you work to enhance and promote a brand, hearing positive remarks about how the message has resonated with customers makes the day-to-day so much more meaningful.
Given that the marketing-communications function is often fast-paced and quick to adapt to changing trends in the market, it’s easy to get bogged down in very tactical elements of the job and lose sight of the bigger mission: to enhance the company’s brand through meaningful and strategic campaigns.
Recently, a collaborative project between the marketing and partner management teams was led by my team. It consisted of a digital campaign and contest for small business owners to submit their unique business challenge and Worldpay would provide support through a variety of different services that we have, or we would provide a service of one of our strategic partners.
We exceeded the number of submissions we had aimed for and we developed some great customer case studies for further promotional material. Ultimately, the key measure of success was the results of the pre-campaign and post-campaign survey. The survey measured brand awareness, attitudes towards the services provided and consideration of our products. In the end, a proud moment for our team as we successfully delivered a 3-month campaign that not only gathered valuable business insights, but also increased our brand awareness.
What is it like to be working internationally? What advice would you give those interested in gaining international experience?
I love working in the UK. It’s been almost 4 years and I think the experience has opened my eyes to the European market more quickly than it would have in Toronto.
There’s also a lot of value in learning cultural differences through work and a new market. London is economically vibrant, there are several opportunities to find work in any field, industry and profession.
I was quite nervous to move abroad and work, but once you take the plunge you realize that you have a lot to offer (a Canadian perspective perhaps?).
I would recommend working in a new city, country or taking a secondment from your role just to enhance your perspective. I think you would be surprised by how much you learn.
What advice would you give new grads looking to get into fintech communications?
Learn the industry and if there’s a specific area of fintech you’re interested in then learn the competitors in the market. Furthermore – be adaptable – the industry is innovating constantly.
Favourite thing to do in London?
Sunday lunch, a pub roast!
What are you reading right now?
Our Kids by Robert Putnam
Tea or coffee?