Our latest leadership spotlight features senior digital professional, Martin Francis!
In a decorated career to date, Martin specialises in areas such as Retail Trading and Multichannel Strategy; and has worked with household names in the retail industry; notably with the likes of House of Fraser and Karen Millen.
Martin talks to the Digital Leaders Club about how he ended up in the retail industry, why he found transitioning to hybrid so refreshing; and his interest in how ChatGPT will impact the future of Ecommerce and Digital Marketing. Oh, and he also once served Princess Diana!
Read our interview with Martin below.
Why did you join the Digital Leaders Club?
The Community looked really interesting and a unique resource for like-minded professionals to collaborate. It was lovely to be asked to join.
What's your career journey been like to date?
Interestingly, I fell into Retail by accident. Wanted to stay in London and it was a job on the University jobs board to work on the shop floor for a famous department store after my uni degree. Quickly worked up from the shop floor into head office via Buying and Merchandising. It helped me to understand all departments in Retail. Always loved Computers though and Ecommerce seemed to use a number of these skills so it was a natural migration. Have been working for Retail apparel, Department Stores, and specialist brands in Digital for 20+ years.
What is your current position?
I'm currently looking for my next challenge – watch this space.
Have you had any interesting moments in your career so far?
Well on the shop floor, I served Princess Diana and Jill Dando the presenter. I have met some real characters in Retail some famous and infamous but the maddest thing I have done was be involved backstage in a fashion show where I had to dress the models.
Have you had any challenges in your career to date; and how did you overcome them?
Digital leaders love a challenge, it is why we have chosen the most dynamic fast-moving area in Retail; we love constant change and learning. If you have a great team around you no challenge is a problem.
Tell us about your best success story
Well, we have certainly delivered a lot for the businesses we have worked for in revenue and profit but the thing I am most proud of is the great teams I have put together. It’s like being a Coach/manager in Sports and when you get it right it is such an amazing feeling of being the best.
What’s it been like transitioning to a hybrid setup over the past two years?
I have loved it – again I love change so I have found it refreshing. I like the mix of office and home working – I am lucky I have a Studio at home which means I can concentrate.
What's the coolest/most interesting trend you're excited about?
I am interested in seeing Chat GPT impact on Ecommerce copywriting and Digital Marketing but in Voice recognition, I have been predicting the Death of the Keyboard for years but we still have some ways to go.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I love Sports, watching and playing, and still love playing computer games with my kids (as long as they don’t beat me too much!)
What's your plan for the future?
To be happy.
What would you be doing (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
A computer games designer or F1 Team Principal!
Connect with Martin Francis on LinkedIn