Squiz Q&A with Market Insights Director, Lisa Martens

This week Lisa Martens talks to us about Market Insights and her adventures with detective work, Brazilian drums & cheese.

Squiz: In which office are you based Lisa?

Martens: Sydney

How long have you been at Squiz for?

I’ve been part of the Squiz family for 3 and half years.

Did you go to university? If so what did you study?

I went to two universities – studying Mining Engineering at University of Queensland and International Business with a language specialisation at the Queensland University of Technology, both in the beautiful city of Brisbane. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I actually never wanted to be anything specific, though I would dream of doing many things – from being the first to explore the moons of Saturn (always to the tune of The Final Countdown), to having a corner office with a view of a park, to planting trees under a warm sun and getting my hands dirty.  I think I dreamt of a life filled with adventure more than any specific job role.

Describe an average day in the life of Lisa

No such thing! Though I do love to start my day off with a coffee (more of a delicious ritual than a need for caffeine), it’s there that the day stops being standard. My role in Market Insights allows me great variety and that’s exactly how I like it. I’m privileged to work with a global team so the hours vary widely but the conversations are always interesting.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love the problem solving aspect of my role. The fact that in one week I can go from creating Industry Insights for the Squiz sales and account managers, to listening to our customers share their hard-won best practices and often equally hard lessons learned; to working with our Product R&D teams on what value we can deliver for customers in the future. Every aspect of my role is focused on learning, understanding what is important, and then adapting. Market Insights is more than just creating interesting reports – my role is help lead constant, purposeful evolution and it’s addictive.  

What does a Director of Market Insights do?

First and foremost, I am a detective. You need to hone your skills in listening to what our customers need help with, and then apply both logical and lateral thinking to seek out insights from the market that will help Squiz to be the best digital partner, and enable our customers to overcome a hurdle or prepare for the future. The best market insights for Higher Education, for example, don't necessarily come from other Higher Education institutions – you have to be creative in your research and problem solving. After that, a Market Insights operator must apply critical thinking to bring all the research together – from market leaders, analysts, customers, competitors and Squiz’s own learnings.   You must take a step back and ask – so what? What does the information we’ve gathered mean and how can we make it accessible, shareable, useful? You have to be willing to challenge assumptions. Repeat this cycle with an open mind and critical ear and you have a good basis for Market Insights.

What’s something you’ve done that you’re really proud of- in terms of your career?

I’m competitive so I get a kick out of winning anything, but this is tough question. Rather than one particular event, perhaps I’m most happy with being able to adapt, and to also maintain a balance (most of the time!). Work, life, health and play all intermingle if you get it right.

What do you get excited about?

Traveling and working with people form all over the world - it jolts your perspective and keeps your brain alive.

Advice from your current self to your old self?

Do we have the time? Honestly, I would tell my younger self to go for it, take risks, nothing we’ve gone after with passion and a sense of adventure has ever turned out badly. And keep wearing suncream – you’re on to a good thing there. Ooh and you turn out to be lactose intolerant later on, so EAT ALL THE CHEESE YOU WANT NOW!

What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at work?

It could be a few things depending on who you ask. More recently I had to present whilst a neighbouring business played the Brazilian drums so loudly it rattled the office. It was eventually amusing.  

Who is someone that inspires you?

The world is filled with inspiring people but I feel those closest to home often inspire me most, my mum for example. She is the most resilient and compassionate woman I know. She taught me to read when I was four and unlocked the world for me. She learned how to program an iOS app at age 50 something (sorry mum). She never gives up in a world changing so rapidly; that is truly inspiring.   

Lisa will be tweeting her week at work at @lifeatsquiz from June 27- 1 July Follow along to see what she gets up to on a day-to-day basis.

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