‘I’m pretty slack on Slack’ – 24 hours with…MiQ’s Marcus D’Souza

Marketing intelligence specialist firm MiQ's Marcus D'Souza on a day spent diving deep into data to find actionable insights and - due to a health trip that both his family and his colleagues are on - eating more salads than he would have liked

6.30: Today, like most mornings, I’m abruptly woken up by my two human alarm clocks – my children, Matteo, four and Aoife, six. My first task is setting them up for the day before I can sort mine. I make the kids breakfast, a daily ritual I really get to enjoy with them. Afterwards, I go to the gym for half an hour on the treadmill.

More important than just fitness, it allows me to clear my head, set up priorities for the day and generally get in the zone. I usually feel pretty lethargic if I miss out.

7.30am: Back up to the flat for a glass of celery juice my wife has made for us. We’re trying a health kick and although it’s not my first choice of beverage, I am certainly feeling the benefits. 

8.30am: Arrive for breakfast at Common Man on Stanley Street. I love breakfast meetings as a chance to catch up with people before the day whisks them away.

Today I sit with Phil Adrien from Dentsu Aegis Network. I really respect his perspective on the industry, and we spend time talking about everything from creating a people-first culture to how both our businesses are aligning on mutual opportunities.

9.30am: A five-minute walk to our office. On arrival, the team is already in full flow with the usual passion and energy. My first port of call is to sit down with my head of trading and operations, Victor Conkov to discuss the team’s priorities for the week and any surprises.

Maintaining operational rhythm is a phrase I often use to ensure we’re keeping pace on campaigns, are on track with targets and generally a happy and high performing team. 

10.15am: Nip to the kitchen for a cup of green tea. Initially, I got into drinking this as a way to cut out caffeine, and only recently realised it can contain nearly as much as a cup of coffee.

I sit down with Lisa Mattar, my infinitely patient executive assistant, to discuss any last-minute changes to the day ahead. She gives me updates on plans for an upcoming leadership dinner we’ll soon be hosting in Bangkok. Thailand is a market we’re incredibly excited about and this dinner is one of many steps we’re taking to increase our presence there. 

10.45am: Get my head down to clear any emails from the UK before they wake up. Our team loves using instant messaging to keep inboxes light, but I have to confess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so I’m pretty slack on Slack. 

11.15am: Sit down to go through a personal development plan with one of our team. I always really enjoy this time of the year to have a general check-in to celebrate where our team is at, set some goals and understand how I can be a better leader. 

12.30pm: Free lunches are an initiative I brought over from our London office which has unsurprisingly gone down a storm. It allows the team to bond and relax and adds a nice punctuation mark to the day. Currently, it seems like the whole team is on a health kick so it’s a few too many salads for my liking. 

1.30pm: Quick dress rehearsal with the team for an upcoming quarterly business review with a telecommunications client. We use these sessions as an opportunity to really dive into the insights we’ve uncovered in order to challenge the assumptions.

For this particular client, we’ve been analysing user purchase behaviours in order to identify any overlap with competitor brands. Quite startlingly, we found that many users that viewed our client’s product ended up buying another brand instead. 

Insights like this are only valuable if they’re actionable, and so these findings will form the backbone of our Q4 media plan. This will include powering a recommendation engine on the client’s site in order to streamline the path to purchase and ultimately drive higher conversion. Sorry, competitors.

Leading the review is Ruth Jessie, our client services manager, a real talent. I’m also proud that she’s flying the South East Asia flag on MiQ’s global future leaders program. 

2.30pm: The UK is coming online now so I’m back on emails to ensure I’m responding to any questions before their day starts. 

3.30pm: Call with our new head of analytics and technical solutions, who is joining us from the UK in a couple of weeks to lead our product capabilities. We discuss our product rollout strategy which is focused on creating tailored solutions and customisable products, following conversations we’ve had with our clients in Southeast Asia.

I’m absolutely buzzing about these developments as it’s great to be able to create something bespoke for our clients in this region — If only we could bring it out sooner. 

5.00pm: Call with my boss, MiQ president Richard Dunmall. He’s updating me on how MiQ is performing globally, and so it’s great to understand the wider context of our business and how we can share learnings between South East Asia and other markets. We end by talking about some upcoming opportunities for his next trip to Asia. 

6.00pm: The team wraps up and we head out for drinks nearby. I like to do these as often as I can, to celebrate any team wins and ensure we’re able to switch off and bond properly. 

7.30pm: Home in time to put the kids to bed. In addition to human alarm clocks, they’re also the undisputed King and Queen of avoiding bedtime, so it’s often the most challenging part of my day. 

8.30pm: Go for a swim to relax and unwind followed by dinner with my wife. We’re obsessed with chicken but my wife has got a new salad cookbook so it feels like every meal has been green for the last month. 

9.30pm: Call with Hannah in New York, our global marketing lead for a final run-through of a deck for an upcoming keynote I’ll be giving at Wavemaker in Kuala Lumpur. 

10.15pm: Check emails coming in from other markets. A few updates have come through for tomorrow so I quickly address those, before dipping into my podcast.

Right now I’m listening to ‘Eat Sleep Work Repeat’ by Bruce Daisley, Twitter’s vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Each episode explores new ways to rethink and improve workplace culture. I’m one year into my time leading MiQ in Asia, – and building an effective workplace culture – so it’s nice to be reminded that culture is built upon, but never finished. 

Marcus D’Souza is the managing director of South East Asia at marketing intelligence specialist MiQ, based in Singapore


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