This spotlight is part of Acceleration Partners' ongoing blog series where members of our Partner Development team highlight different partners from across the region. This month, Shiv Box, Senior Associate of Partner Development, caught up with Aleksander Olczyk, Head of the Region North East - Partnerships at Savings United.
Welcome Aleksander, to our Partner Spotlight series! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Savings United?
Actually, I just celebrated my eighth anniversary at Savings United a few weeks ago – I originally started as an intern back in 2014 at our office in Hamburg, Germany. In the first few years, I worked in almost all the positions in the editorial and partnerships team, where I was involved mostly in Polish and German operations.
Five years ago, I joined the UK team and moved to London where, with a couple of colleagues, we opened our first English office. Currently, I'm working as Head of the Region North East, where I manage the Partnerships Team UK, Germany, and Poland to help them optimize our delivery for all advertisers, agencies, and networks.
As for what I like to do outside of work, I think I fit the typical standard of a guy in their early 30's. I'm excited about football, I love to travel, I like languages and I read a lot. Playing sports and being constantly active are very important in my life, as they help me find balance, rest my thoughts, and give me energy to face challenges. When I'm not being active and have some down time, I consume an enormous amount (perhaps too much) of Marvel content.
Can you explain what you guys do at Savings United and how advertisers can benefit from working with you?
We are running a coupon solution on the websites of premium media houses in major markets across the globe. We power coupon sites for publishers like The Telegraph and The Independent in the UK, the LA Times in the U.S., the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in Germany, and many more in most of T1 and T2 markets in Europe, South America, and the U.S.
However, collaboration with Savings United offers brands more than just exposure through various placements across our coupon sites. Besides the strong performance we provide for brands, we are also able to provide unique access to the audiences of the publishers we are partnered with. In our media decks, you can find all sorts of targeting solutions, such as content articles on publisher sites, segmented newsletters, solus newsletters and much more.
Savings United have some big partners, including The Telegraph and The Independent. Can you touch on how these partners stay on-trend in the affiliate space and what plans are in place to continue your growth?
The keyword in your question is the word "partner." We treat each publisher as a close partner from Day 1 of our collaboration. This helps us to have better communication and gives clear understanding of common goals. Our teams are in daily contact; we exchange KPIs and learnings on every level of the business, while also working together to develop cohesive plans each quarter. Both sides see the industry from a slightly different angle, which in my opinion is very beneficial to us and to the publishers.
The last few years have been very successful for us, from launching our sites in the UK, establishing our position in the market, to being partnered among the top publishers in the industry. Our plan for the future is simple, learn from the past, expand in terms of solutions and verticals we are covering, outplay our competitors, and become the number one publisher in the UK.
What are the biggest challenges that you think those in the industry (including Savings United) face today?
I think the dynamic, economic changes that we have been experiencing within the last couple of years (and most likely in the future) is the biggest challenge we face. The industry must be able to adapt and respond to the needs of customers in our constantly evolving economic circumstances. Brexit, numerous lockdowns, the energy crisis and recent disruptions at airports in Europe—these are just a few major events which have had (or are still having) an impact on the decisions of customers and reshaping shopping patterns.
Together with our team, we are including all those factors and implications in our internal strategizing, so that we can find the best possible way to satisfy the needs of our users. In my opinion, the saving sector is essential in our current times from both perspectives: advertisers and users. It helps advertisers gain more visibility among potential buyers, and coupon sites are very handy when it comes to optimizing private budgets of shoppers.
As a global partner, you get to see shopping trends across multiple regions. What key differences are you seeing across markets right now?
This is a difficult question, as we are living in a global village with many of our advertisers being present in more than one country, quite often with some type of presence on all the continents. If I had to choose one, I would go for sustainable choices by users. This is something happening on a very high level in countries like Germany, where users are often determining their shopping decisions based on whether a brand is fully sustainable or at least encouraging its shoppers toward pro-planet choices. However, there is a big gap in this trend between countries in Europe, as well as sustainability factors in South America and the U.S.
I'm glad to observe that the situation in the UK has immensely improved over the last few years. More often, we are seeing brands heading toward sustainability practices or offering consumers sustainable products. Again, our role, the role of all publishers in our industry, is instrumental as we have an impact on shaping the habits of our users. With a proper approach, we can influence a lot of people and help them to make better choices.
Lastly, if you could invent a holiday, what would it be?
That's a very cool question. There are a lot of things which are not celebrated or acknowledged enough, but I think I would go in the direction of a mental health and communication day. I would call it ''let's chat day'' and it would be a day where people would be encouraged to gather, chat, and get to know each other.
I think the experience of lockdowns showed to us how crucial interactions are for our mental state—even if they're just brief interactions with another person. I, for instance, befriended a barista from my local coffee shop, and the five minutes of chat we had each time I was buying a coffee was sometimes an absolute highlight of my day.