Working women receive a slew of advice — lean in, lean out, be aggressive, but not too aggressive. We’re constantly inspired by the women who are paving the way and taking charge in the ever-evolving world of technology. Welcome to This Woman’s Work, a series highlighting how various women are advancing the tech industry, both professionally and personally. This month, we’re chatting with Ellinor Klier, Head of Programmatic Hub at Havas Media Germany.
IX: To start, who is Ellinor Klier and what is your biggest passion?
EK: I am originally from the south of France. After studying tech in Shenzhen, China, I got my Masters in Technology and Innovation at a French business school. From there, life has given me so many opportunities in Germany, allowing me to pursue my passion for digital marketing.
IX: You mentioned getting a Master’s degree in Technology and Innovation — what sparked your initial interest in the tech industry? Can you tell us how you started your career?
EK: I had the opportunity to live in China for a few months, working in Shenzhen – a very tech-driven city. While there, I spent my days at electronics markets, learning about new tech components and developing new prototypes – testing everything out and exporting the final products back to France. This stimulated my passion for the tech industry, for sure, and led me to study international tech and innovation.
I was also interested in looking at technology through an international lens, which first drove me to Havas — they had a European Hub based in Frankfurt. It was the perfect opportunity for me to bridge the gap between my tech background and interest in marketing.
IX: What about marketing and online advertising first attracted you to this space? And what makes you passionate about programmatic, specifically?
EK: Digital media was always the field into which I wanted to dive deeper, as it is constantly evolving and changing. That said, the impact of the programmatic revolution and its capacity to drive results in real-time took this interest to another level!
When Havas first started searching for a programmatic trader, I imagined they were looking for someone to code all day long — not exactly my profile (though I have a strong affinity for web design and new technologies). Even so, Havas trusted me and gave me the opportunity to develop our programmatic offering almost from scratch. Since then, we’ve leveraged our expertise and incredibly powerful, trustworthy trading desks across the network.
Today, I’m lucky enough to have a talented team of more than 25 people, all of whom share a drive to challenge the status quo and always stay one step ahead. Our goal, of course, is to maximise the services we’re providing to clients.
IX: What does a typical day look like for you and your team?
EK: There is definitely no downtime. The first priority is always to ensure all digital automated activities and campaigns are running smoothly. Then, I generally run from meeting to meeting around ‘Meaningful Media’, which Havas has made a centrepiece of its strategy.
The goal is to build an understanding of each client that exceeds expectation, allowing us to offer tailor-made, digital solutions to their challenges. That is, essentially, my main mission each day.
Discussions with vendors and tech players across the market are also crucial, enabling us to continue improving our skills and strategies so our clients can profit from best-in-class technology.
I also put a focus on team spirit. No one should be left to solve problems on their own, and our approach is generally ‘Let’s order a pizza and finish this together.’
IX: Love the ‘let’s order a pizza’ approach. To that end, what would you say has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced during your career so far? How did you tackle it (on your own or with a team)?
EK: Ten years ago, when programmatic first started to become a buzzword, only a few players understood the real potential behind this new way of buying. My greatest challenge was helping to make programmatic exactly what it is today — part of the mainstream. This involved evangelising technology and leading training programmes for marketers.
To me, learning something new means approaching it from an amateur’s position, and personally, I have no problem admitting that I don’t know or understand something. I think that approach allowed me to grow further and better understand this technology, which then helped me teach others to understand it.
My next challenge is breaking up the silos that are still very prevalent in the digital space.
IX: Speaking of learning new things, you speak four languages! How has this multilingual and multicultural knowledge influenced your outlook, both in and outside of work?
EK: Having multicultural experience is always a plus in our field, though working in the German market has made me adapt to local habits!
Ultimately, I don’t see boundaries or divisions anymore between languages and cultures, and I apply this spirit to everything in life — including food. (I’ll often mix Schnitzel with a baguette and cheese.)
IX: Last but not least: outside of languages (and culinary creations), what’s another skill you’ve mastered, or are hoping to master, outside of the office?
EK: Since I was five years old, music has played a huge role in my life. I play the piano, the clarinet, and once led an orchestra.
During this weird COVID-19 time at home, I’ve enjoyed sitting at my piano and learning classical scores from Mendelssohn, Beethoven, or Liszt. Especially at night, when there’s a storm outside, that’s where I’m able to unleash my emotions and passion!