Industry Profile: Rakuten Marketing senior director of group product operations David Kim

29 October 2019

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to Rakuten Marketing senior director of group product operations David Kim.

Time in current role/time at the company:
One and a half years in my current role, 11 years with Rakuten Marketing.

How would you describe what the company does?
We help consumers find the products and services they do or don’t yet know they want and need, more efficiently.

What do you do day-to-day?
I help my team manage the tactical execution of our clients’ campaigns across: technical setup, launch and ongoing ad operations; programmatic and social media buying; and creative development from concepting, ad builds and compatibility. In addition to the above, I’m usually the go-to guy for problem solving and analytic wizardry (I’m known as the Excel nerd).

Define your job in one word:
Jack-of-all-trades.

I got into marketing because:
I was drawn to the practicality of business, but the idea of value creation alone wasn’t that intriguing. The creative element of advertising appealed to me so I pursued my studies in it, and then I kicked off my career at an advertising/branding agency. Whilst I enjoyed that, my left brain craved more results and measurability, which led me into direct print advertising, and then onwards into digital performance marketing, from which I’ve never looked back.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Client’s needs, internal processes, technology and regulations are constantly evolving, so there’s never a dull moment in this job. I’m always trying to stay ahead and ensure that everyone around me is on the same page.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
There is still an over-reliance on last click measurement. It certainly has a place, but it can also stunt innovation and undermine the complexity of consumers.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
G2 Worldwide and Jaffe & Partners.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
I’ve been fortunate to have amazing managers at Rakuten Marketing in both the New York and Sydney offices. Anthony Capano, our managing director, has been and is an incredible, honest mentor in helping me expand my experiences and influence, and look more holistically at complex situations.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
My favourite self-made catchphrase is, “Let’s marinate on it.” When problem solving, give as much time and energy as you can to think through all possible angles and outcomes. I’d also add that it helps to know exactly how and why things work, which usually then backs into why things sometimes don’t work.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
Ideally, working in my natural habitat as a bartender, surrounded by lively people, food and drinks. Pragmatically, I’d be a tertiary teacher as I like to help enable people with drive.

My mantra is:
Picked up from my print production days, ‘don’t be too greedy’ . Pick two: cheap, fast, and/or good. Think about it, this can apply to anything - the things you buy, the deals you make…

My favourite advert is:

Possibly a little bit cheesy and unrelatable here in the southern hemisphere, but there’s a certain magic to the Christmas polar bear Coca Cola commercials. It hits an emotional nerve I didn’t even know I had, and it’s been a gift that keeps on giving year after year - they’ve got me for life.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to? 
I’m on Spotify, Apple Music and Netflix. I’ll listen to almost anything and I appreciate almost any Netflix binge recommendation. Unfortunately, my attention span is limited and I tend to watch most of the first episode and then wake up three hours later to the “Are you still watching?” screen.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
This is possibly my most controversial confession.. I don’t like bacon! I get along with most foods and cured meats, but there’s something about bacon. But at least there’s more up for grabs during our weekly team breakfasts!

In five years' time I'll be:
Getting my head around what’s new as so much will have changed by then!

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