Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MailUp Group.
Nazzareno Gorni: I was a young Engineering graduate when I started as an intern in a small consultancy company where I learned a lot. After 5 years, I quit and co-founded a small digital agency in Cremona, Italy – the birthplace of the violin – along with four partners and friends. Twenty years later, that web agency has evolved into an international, multi-brand group, spearheaded by the same five guys that bootstrapped it.
Today MailUp Group is a vertically integrated player in the field of marketing technologies, and its growing suite of data-driven solutions allows SMEs and large corporations globally to master the evolving ways of communicating with customers. We work with over 23k customers in 115 countries and have branches across the globe.
How does MailUp Group innovate?
Nazzareno Gorni: Innovation is in our DNA in all its facets. It’s not only about building new products or tackling new markets but also about creating innovative processes across all organizational areas through an inclusive, ethical approach. Respect for people that work with us, for customers, for the environment, and for end-users is pivotal in defining our way forward.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Nazzareno Gorni: Our business – a suite of B2B marketing solutions – is fully digital by nature and was therefore spared the heavy hit other industries suffered during the pandemic. Instead, Covid-19 has brought on an unforeseen collateral effect, artificially accelerating the natural transition towards the adoption of digital channels and tools, and therefore supporting our business.
Organizationally, our people’s safety has always come first and foremost. We shifted to full remote work in all of our branches in a matter of a weekend, without compromising operations. This shift was made possible by an underlying goal-driven culture based on trust – we never believed that employees must be chained to their chairs in order to express their best potential. Flexibility has been key for some time and has proven to be a lifeline during pandemic times.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Nazzareno Gorni: As I said, flexibility at work was something we were used to. And yet, flexible work and fully remote work are two entirely different matters. The challenge shifted to being able to cope with uncertainty, solve new and unforeseen problems, make swift decisions under pressure, balance reassurance and realistic optimism, communicate constantly and openly while preventing panic, show empathy, keep everyone engaged…in short; we had to be twice the leaders we were before.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Nazzareno Gorni: One of my characteristics has always been the ability to detach from situations and this, for sure, helps in difficult times. When I close my laptop, I also stop any business thoughts. Having mobile notifications off by default also helps. That happens not only every evening but also during the weekend. I think that balancing quality of life with work is key to keeping a clear mind and handling difficult decisions.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nazzareno Gorni: As a Group of five different products, we have different competitors in different markets and regions. In general, we have different approaches: for mature, consolidated businesses, we focus on consolidating our leadership in a few regions. For an innovative and growing business, we invest primarily in acquiring the best talents and building an environment that enables them to express their full potential. In this case, the strategy has a global horizon, driven by a product-led attitude and a data-informed mindset.
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