CAREERS: Job interview

Name: Mark Collins

Name: Mark Collins

Job: Marketing director

Company: CNN Interactive, Europe

Age: 31

How did you get into marketing?

A few things I did as Student Union entertainment officer at University College Dublin, and decent academic results, attracted Procter & Gamble's graduate recruiters.

What was your motivation for joining CNN?

CNN maintains an entrepreneurial spirit despite being part of a large corporation. Those attributes, and the fact that CNN is the leader in TV, PC and wireless media made it the right move to make.

How challenging is the international focus of your job?

International marketing in the context of Europe requires detailed country-by-country planning to ensure central strategies are tailored to each country's individual requirements. This ultimately makes an international marketing focus more efficient.

What is the greatest challenge the marketing industry faces?

To anticipate and better understand how new media and technology will impact on consumer behaviour. Traditional marketing models driven by research still seem to be the best means of navigation in the new economy. That's because they focus on what the consumer needs rather than what technology permits.

What do you enjoy most/least about your working environment?

Most enjoyable is the diversity of people in CNN/Turner - many larger-than-life characters. Least enjoyable is the fact there's no canteen here - it makes you spend a fortune in Soho's sandwich shops.

What individual has influenced you most in your career?

My father, a great entrepreneur who successfully set up several companies and was never afraid of the challenges building your own business entailed.

He always advised me to consider any business decisions as if I were making them for my own company.

Where do you see yourself in ten years' time?

Hopefully, in a large villa in Tuscany with my son asking: 'Dad, where were you during the internet revolution?'

What characteristics do you look for in the people you do business with?

A sense of humour and professional commitment.The ideal businessperson is someone who can have fun while getting excellent business results.

What would be the one piece of career advice you would give?

You only live once - don't spend all your time in the office.

What has been your biggest mistake?

My father retired from book publishing about ten years ago. At the same time I left university and he bought me an Apple computer. He suggested I sell books by mail order or go into book publishing and sales. My mistake was not making the mental connection between a networked computer and a book. Jeff Bezos did a couple of years later and started Amazon.

What has been your biggest achievement?

Personally, it was having the foresight to move into the interactive sphere when I did. Professionally, it was launching a unique chocolate bar in Central Europe for Kraft that gave Nestle and Mars a good thrashing.

What do you do to unwind?

My ideal unwind is having a home cooked dinner with a large group of friends, plenty of good wine and staying up watching a classic movie.


1991-1994: Marketing executive, Procter & Gamble

1994-1997: Group brand manager, Middle East, Kraft Foods

1997-1998: Marketing manager, Central Europe, Kraft Foods

1998-2000: Director of marketing, Middle East and Africa, CNN Europe

2000-present: Director of marketing, Europe, CNN Interactive.


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