Strategy Executive Valerie De Naeyer paints the digital future of DPG Media
She paints acrylics and the future of digital at DPG Media. She writes colorful poems and addresses complicated business matters eloquently. Strategy Executive Valerie De Naeyer has many talents, and, luckily, she’s putting them to use to future-proof DPG Media.
In 2020, Valerie joined DPG Media as a Strategy Executive. With a background in strategy and consulting, she was drawn by the promise of a dynamic work environment - and DPG Media delivered.
The fast and the curious
Valerie works on all kinds of strategic projects, from turnaround cases to new business opportunities. She is one of the people that drives the topics on the digital steering committee’s agenda and follows up on KPIs. Her primary responsibility is to support CEO for Belgium and CDO for Belgium and the Netherlands Kris Vervaet with DPG Media’s plans for digital acceleration. “I think I have such a challenging job! You can probably guess that I don’t have a 9-to-5 mentality,” Valerie laughs. “Working at DPG Media is very dynamic. We operate in a versatile environment that makes the company and all its initiatives dynamic, and we move fast. I love that.”
Because DPG Media moves fast, Valerie gets to learn and move fast too. “I have been here now for almost a year and I had the opportunity to explore and work on different strategic projects. Kris Vervaet is responsible for our digital acceleration, and I help him set up strategies, create plans, and I simply am a sounding board. We look for the bigger picture and make sure all our company initiatives are linked to our overarching vision and strategy.”
"We want to measure ourselves with and against the tech giants. But mainly, we want to fulfill consumer needs, which means we have to speed up our digital transformation.”
Valerie De Naeyer
A plan for digital acceleration
The first project Valerie got to work on was a high-profile one. She helped create the digital acceleration ambition and plan for 2023. Valerie: “We first looked at the market and the trends, and of course, we started with the consumer. They are digitizing at lightning speed, partly due to COVID-19, but the trend already emerged long before. And when consumers are digitizing, advertisers follow. We want to measure ourselves with and against the tech giants. But mainly, we want to fulfill consumer needs, which means we have to speed up our digital transformation.”
To keep it simple, Valerie sketches four main goals for our digital acceleration. “One, we want to reach people, get them to know our products, have them come to our platforms, and increase our visitor numbers. Two, we want to know who these people are. Now that third-party cookies will disappear, we need to gather that data ourselves, which means we need people to log in so that we can get to know them. This helps us make them better, personalized offers, but it’s also important for targeted advertising. Third, we want satisfied and engaged customers. And as a result, number four, we want to boost the number of subscriptions and our revenue.”
That all sounds very logical - on paper. The real challenge is making it happen in real life. The digital acceleration ambition relies heavily on different building blocks that drip through the entire organization such as innovative products, strong core systems and applications, close collaboration between business and tech. All teams contribute to those building blocks through various initiatives.
The sound of the future
So how do these building blocks drip through the entire organization? Early 2021, Valerie and Kris took the digital stage in many team meetings to get everyone in sync. All solo performances should contribute to the shared ambition, so all teams’ roadmap initiatives were gathered and mapped on the digital acceleration plan. “We created a multi-year-plan on how business and tech will add to and carry out the digital ambition.”
Valerie enjoyed this journey thoroughly. “Sharing ideas with the teams and seeing what they are working on is energizing. Digital acceleration isn’t just a plan on paper; it’s very much alive. It’s so good to see things evolve and grow. Even remotely, during COVID-19, you can feel the energy and enthusiasm through the screen.”
The shared passion and roll-up-your-sleeves mentality make DPG Media a very appealing company to work for. “From the outside, you see the strong brand names and cool products. Products that inspire and inform so many people in Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands. And this reflects on the inside: my colleagues are extremely driven and eager to collaborate. Together, we shape the future of digital media consumption. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?”