Welcome to our Employee Spotlight series where we get to know Skimlinks employees from around the globe a bit better.
This time we feature Ruan Opperman who works as an Account Manager in our APAC markets.
Hi Ruan, let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself…
I’m probably quite a stereotypical South African guy. I like good weather, good food, an outdoor lifestyle, sport, and meeting new people. I moved to the UK when I was 10 but have always jumped at the opportunity to live and work in different places. So obviously, working in South East Asia now is a great opportunity.
Amazing, and what has been the highlight of your week so far?
Probably seeing the APAC team growing and watching new members of the team taking to their work and getting stuck in with their respected departments. It’s great to see the enthusiasm they have and it is giving me a lot of confidence in where the APAC team and the business in general is heading.
When and why did you join Skimlinks?
I joined Skimlinks over 2 years ago now. It was just before the pandemic became a major issue. I was looking for the next challenge and was interested in affiliate marketing industry as a whole as I had just started a blog to get familiarised with creating commerce content. I also thought the product was very interesting as it solved a lot of problems for publishers, so the opportunity ticked a lot of my boxes.
What is your role in the APAC market?
I am a Merchant Account Manager, so essentially I look after a portfolio of the top-performing merchant programs in the region. I started with the majority of my programs being based in Australia. But, with Arthur’s arrival in the Australian market and as I’m based in Thailand, it made sense for me to shift my portfolio and responsibilities over to clients based in my immediate region. Now the majority of my programs are based in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India, with few global ones. It’s my job to help these merchants grow and improve their affiliate performance, as well as nurturing relationships with publishers. I’m also the contact person for a handful of our affiliate networks, so overall a good touchpoint for our stakeholders in the region.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the APAC market right now?
The biggest challenge in APAC is probably a lack of knowledge and openness to editorial content production, affiliate marketing, and the amazing business opportunity that lies there waiting to be grasped in this field. I think the concept of affiliate marketing is very nascent in the region and it’s a big part of our responsibility to work with merchants, publishers and affiliate networks to educate them on how to start and scale their affiliate strategies and make the most of our expertise.
On the flip side, what do you believe is the biggest opportunity in the APAC market now?
The challenge I described is also the opportunity – it’s the opportunity lying in wait. If we can get more partners on board, and more people working with Skimlinks, then we can really turn South East Asia into a lucrative marketing hub. The appetite and technological foundation is there already. The average person here has 2 phones, so people are buying all their things online. The ingredients are there, we just need to open their eyes to affiliate marketing and help them add it to their business strategy.
Where do you want Skimlinks to be in your region in a year’s time?
A year is not a lot of time in this industry. But I would say I would like us to scale the business and the team further across APAC. I want us to continue expanding into the regions of greater Asia where we don’t have too much of a presence yet. There is huge potential to have more presence in India, China, Japan, South Korea and even further out in the region. We have a good foothold in the region but now is the time to take that expertise and momentum to the next level. I’d also like us to continue to identify and implement the mutual opportunities between Skimlinks and Taboola and combine and expand both of our partner networks.
What’s the best career lesson you’ve learned so far?
Never stop learning and never stop asking questions. In a business, and most settings really, there is always someone that knows more than you or has different experiences, so there is always something you can learn. It is one of the fastest ways to develop and grow the team, the business and individually. I always try to assume that anyone I’m speaking to knows something that I don’t and it’s always a great opportunity to ask questions and learn. As our team expands we have people joining from all walks of life, and all levels of experience, there is so much sharing of knowledge that can happen.
And let’s finish with your favourite idiom…
‘No pain no gain’. But I’m not saying physically go through pain to see results. I guess I’m a big believer of if you have set a goal that you want to achieve, then you have to make the time to put in the hard work to reach it. If it’s worth having, then it doesn’t usually come too easy, so you have to be willing to put in that effort.