Behind the Selfie Interview South Africa

#BehindtheSelfie: James Williams, head of marketing at Wonga

We catch up with James Williams, head of marketing at short term lender, Wonga.
Image supplied: James Williams, head of marketing at Wonga
Image supplied: James Williams, head of marketing at Wonga

Tell us a bit more about what you do?

I head up the marketing team at Wonga – This role entails management of a streamlined internal marketing team as well as partner and agency management. I am accountable for marketing strategy, brand as well as tactical marketing implementation across all platforms and channels.

What’s really behind your selfie?

I’m a massive sports fan and having played and watched a lot of team sports, I really value the lift I get from being around energetic people and the comradery that comes with that. This applies to my personal and professional life – I think people are the most important ingredient of success!

Growing up, what did you want to do?

When I was four or five, I wanted to “drive” a lawn mower as this seemed like the coolest thing in the world – in my teens I wanted to be a civil engineer or a Premier League footballer, but sadly my aspirations far outstripped my skill.

How did you end up doing what you do now?

I was a front-end developer/ webmaster at an agency in Johannesburg around 15 years ago and was asked to do some SEO optimisation for a client. From there, I added more digital marketing channels to my skillset, and then that eventually led to me working in the entire marketing ecosystem.

Tell us a bit about some highlights of your career.

I think one of the biggest highlights of my career is that I was fortunate to transition from head of digital marketing to head of marketing at Wonga. This opened up a whole new world to me and I am grateful that the performance marketing ethos I learned in the digital arena, which has been a benefit in the way I think about problems in the broader marketing space overall.

When you’re not busy working, what do you do? How do you socialise these days?

I spend a lot of time with my family, visiting new places, eating out and generally having a great time. Although, having bought a new house fairly recently, I have spent most weekends on DIY recently. If you ever need a garden pond built, I know a guy!

What are you watching/reading/listening to right now?

I honestly don’t have much time for reading these days but do listen to audiobooks and podcasts on my commute.

Most recently, I listened to an audiobook by Donald Miller called Building a Story Brand which gives insight into brand positioning. For podcasts, I listen to Fintech Insider frequently – this is a fintech podcast covering all aspects of digital payments, integration, legislation, lending and pretty much anything else to do with the digital finance space.

What’s your favourite gif?

What are you hoping to achieve for the rest of the year?

On the professional front, I’m hoping to get the Wonga brand back into consumers’ minds as their short-term cash flow solution (Watch this space!) – and on a personal level, I think I’d like to get a better grip on data and commercial analytics.

About Emily Stander

Freelancer specialising in games and entertainment | My first loves are writing, music and video games
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