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My job explained: Country manager

Rumbi Pfende reveals how her powers of persuasion and sense of fun made her a major player in computer games marketing.

Could you tell us a bit about your job?

I am the head of Gamehouse UK, a subsidiary of RealNetworks. We’re a global casual and social gaming company that designs and builds online games for our own business, as well as for other companies. I’m the commercial decision-maker; our games studio - where the designers and producers are based - is in the Netherlands.

Why did you choose to go into marketing?

Marketing is essentially the understanding of human behaviour for personal or commercial gain, which has always fascinated me. Understanding why people respond in certain ways, as well as developing strategies to change perceptions while building a profitable business are the reasons I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

How did you get to where you are now?

My first marketing job was at eBay, where I was the head of the Collectibles category. There I met quirky but incredibly passionate sellers, who I had to encourage to do more business on the site through onsite PR activities, or trade events. Following that, I moved into online sales where I truly developed my powers of persuasion - and the combination of both marketing and sales led to heading up the Digital department at The Daily Telegraph, and finally to my current role.

What’s a typical working day like?

We’re a pan-Euro business, so I spend a great deal of time working on EU deals with my peers in other countries as well as managing my UK team, who directly sell our opportunities to blue chip brands and ad agencies. I also spend a lot of time working with trade bodies to educate brands on the power of female gaming, as well as working with business heads so they understand just how engaging this platform is - and then spend with us!

What qualifications and training do you have?

I interned at Grey ad agency when I was in lower and upper sixth, and that’s where I realised this is what I wanted to do. I left Africa as a teenager and got my BA (Hons) in Marketing and Advertising in London.

What other skills do you need?

Listening skills are paramount; and I’d say the intelligence to recognise opportunities, patience, tenacity and lots of charm as well.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people I work with, internally and externally – this industry by default is smart and fun. We work very hard but also know not to take ourselves too seriously.

What’s the most difficult thing about your job?

Changing the minds of sceptics.

Was it difficult getting your first job?

It was challenging, as recruiters were spoilt for choice – I had to be willing to start at the bottom of the ladder. It was well worth it though.

What advice would you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

The digital media world generally attracts not only graduates, but experienced people as well from traditional media like print as these media move online. This means you must be focused and driven to stand out - so work experience goes a long way if possible. The main thing though is to show initiative and understanding of your interest area to demonstrate how you could add value - that will always get you noticed!

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