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Jill Holtz – CEO explains how a service they had just introduced prior to the lockdown saved their business

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MyKidsTime Jill Holtz

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?

Jill Holtz: We’re good. I have two teens; one at high school and one who just finished 1st year at University so I’m lucky in that I don’t need to come up with ideas to amuse them. Working from home with everyone around is an unusual experience but to be honest, I’m just grateful everyone is safe and healthy.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined

Jill Holtz: I had spent 15 years working in CRM and data analysis, mostly in marketing support and I had just finished a contract working for the J.E. Cairnes Business School at NUI Galway which gave me the push to start It was an idea that had been floating around for a while, so I had no excuse but to give it a go then.

How does innovate?

Jill Holtz: We look for ways that we can connect brands to parents in a more innovative way. Sometimes that’s the way we put content together for parents that resonates with them, other times it’s using new technology to connect with them.
Since we founded the business in 2007, things have changed enormously during that time in the way that people search for information, what technology they use and then the whole advent of mobile and social media. So we have had to keep innovating to change with the times.
More recently in order to launch our new insights service, we have built a private online platform to run those projects on so that’s been exciting developing that technology.

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?

Jill Holtz: Not surprisingly, our advertising enquiries pretty much stopped overnight. However we were fortunate in that we had just launched our new service MyInsightsOnTime and during the pandemic, businesses have been clamouring for information and insights from our panels in order to help them understand what their customers want and need from them at this time.
We have always run a virtual office enabling our staff to better fit their work around family life so we have had very little impact on that front too which is great.

Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?

Jill Holtz: Thankfully we have been able to keep our running costs very low, which has meant we could keep our staff and keep the business going. It has reinforced our belief in enabling staff to work from home. We have also been lucky to receive COVID support and funding from our local enterprise board which has helped.

How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and in the future ?

Jill Holtz: I’m a big fan of getting outside for a walk and luckily I have a dog which makes daily walks necessary. Nature calms me down, just the feel of the wind on your face or the smell of cut grass or flowers and I’m happy again. For our team, it was important that we kept close communication during these times of change, and that’s making our future planning feasible and exciting.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Jill Holtz: We compete with other publishers who work with brands that want to advertise to parents and we compete with market research companies, but we’re in the unusual position of being able to offer a hybrid service now. Because we have such a large trusted community of parents who are actively looking for ideas and products to improve their family life, we can tap into them to get insights for brands to help them make decisions and grow sales.

Your final thoughts

Jill Holtz: I’m excited for the future and growing our new insights service. To be able to build on the success, we have had with our trusted community on Mykidstime and at the same time help brands get feedback and answers they need, that’s just a win-win. And being an online service for both our marketing and our insights means we can still offer our services at a reasonable cost, something that will matter to businesses as they come out of this initial lockdown.

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