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Nicola Meinders – Global Marketing Manager at JONCKERS, creators of WordsOnline

By on 12:15, in Europe, Interviews

 “If we don’t get involved, then we’ll get excluded.”

Nicola Meinders is the Global Marketing Director for Jonckers and their AI cloud translation platform WordsOnline. Nicola is developing the brand and its online presence, as well as creating global ambassadors. In her role, she enjoys developing digital marketing campaigns to entice new customers and deliver a consistent customer experience across all marketing channels. She regularly explores new MarTech tools to deliver marketing at scale, as much as possible. Nicola has enjoyed working in international B2B marketing for 20 years in marketing consulting, business services, IT, and engineering.

In a Nutshell: Tell us a bit about your job and what role technology plays in it?

I currently work as the Global Marketing Director for Jonckers, and their AI Translation platform, WordsOnline. We work with the titans of the software and technology industry such as Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, Samsung, and Panasonic, as well as clients of global marketing agencies to translate quickly and efficiently in the cloud with a certified network of linguists. 

We leverage AI with Neural Machine Learning through intelligent processes and our ‘follow-the-sun’ team of program managers offers customers a personal service. This gives us the scalability to fulfill their continuous publishing needs.

I’m curious by nature, so I’ve always been interested in finding out how things work and how we can improve. I’ve therefore spent much of my marketing career making use of digital trends to automate and optimize all aspects of marketing. As marketers, there are so many different MarTech and SalesTech products out there, and it’s great trying to combine and make the best tech stack in every organization. It not only needs to reach, connect, communicate, nurture, inform, and educate every client and prospect, but you need to ensure that all experiences reflect the branding of the organization in a fun and engaging way. 

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

I did work shadowing when I was 15. Even now, I still value the experiences I learned. At that age, I was considering everything from law, to accountancy, to becoming a Trauma doctor. I’m so glad that I was able to get some actual work experience and find out my key motivating elements that would ensure my endeavors would be put to good use. I would love it if more teenagers were given the opportunity to shadow professionals before they go to university. 

By researching other options, I was able to create a much more dynamic and exciting role for myself.

Since then, from summer jobs to 20+ years in B2B Marketing, I’ve not hidden from any challenges along the way. It’s all too easy to be complacent. In marketing, you need to be open to new ideas and new methods, more than most other departments.

In my very first marketing role, I remember I was asked to do mail merges and send out demo CDs to all web inquiries. After a week, I was dying to do something different. So, I started hanging around our IT department and discussed what technology we could apply to automate this. Our paper-based approach (for a global audience) was soon digitally automated. We created a lead database and tracked all follow-up. I soon became webmaster and was the marketing contact for developing Online Ordering and extranets. 

By researching other options, I was able to create a much more dynamic and exciting role for myself. I was able to offer a much better customer experience and start to drive online lead generation.

Over the last 20 years, I’m still trying to optimize the customer journey and lead generation, all within tight budgets and limited resources. The difference is, now the technology is much better!

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

There are two. For most people they would say it’s social media. No one could predict the massive growth of Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Insta, and Pinterest. The idea of sharing every single facet of your life online, and all the data opportunities presented by this, is still unimaginable and evolving continuously. 

The analysis of these huge volumes of data wouldn’t be possible without the second big trend: AI. It’s part of our lives to have things like facial recognition technology on our phones. Its uses range from choosing the most efficient place to spray water in farmlands (via drones), through to improving translation accuracy and processes, where I currently work. Our vaccination turnaround for Covid would not have been possible in the timescales we achieved without AI.

I’m fascinated by AI. More and more AI will just gently filter into our lives, and we won’t even recognize that we’re being helped by technology.  

When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?

Both terms have been equally significant. I’ve spent most of my career working with middle-aged men, to be honest, so it’s refreshing to meet other techies who are females. However, I’ve learned so much from both men and women, and as long as we continue to support and respect each other, it will continue to benefit everyone. 

Women in the field of technology are definitely in the minority. What steps should be taken to attract more women to tech?

With increased equal access to education, poverty reduction, access to childcare, family planning and paid parental leave, women’s chance of success in business and technology has never been better. It’s up to us to continue to break barriers to entry and reduce the stigma surrounding specific professions and the profiles required to do them.

Nowadays, successful technology requires human-tech interaction and a good user experience. These psychological aspects can best be met by a diverse workforce, which represents the target audiences, their needs, and their expectations.  Some technologies and their regulatory bodies would be more successful if more than half the population could appreciate it and benefit from it.

As my experience shows, anyone wanting to achieve more, with less, should be interested in technology. The fear is, that if we don’t get involved, then we’ll get excluded. For example, AI data will only work on the data it’s given. If the data is pre-biased to males, and is entered, selected, and controlled by men only, then the data solutions it generates will represent and serve women less. For example Google’s speech-recognition software was 70% more likely to accurately recognize male speech. 

As my experience shows, anyone wanting to achieve more, with less, should be interested in technology. The fear is, that if we don’t get involved, then we’ll get excluded.

It’s also to do with how a product is designed and for whom. Take, for example, the fact that seat belts were built and tested on male physiques, as such, much less effective for saving women’s lives. {women are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, and 71% more likely to be moderately injured and  also 17% more likely to die}.  Only when the regulatory bodies insist that they use an anatomically, physically matching test dummy, will this force the tests to change. Currently they just use a lighter version of the male, when forced by regulation reqirements in 2003.  

The lack of female regulators, technical developers and trial patients has many life and death consequences. For example, women are 50% more likely to be misdiagnosed of heart disease and they’re more likely to die following a heart attack, as women’s symptoms differ but the diagnostic tests weren’t designed or trialed with women. You only need to look at the difference in investment levels in Viagra vs. PMS to know who’s involved in funding and who benefits from those companies!  

The lack of female regulators, technical developers and trial patients has many life and death consequences.

Encouraging women in technology is one critical aspect in improving women’s health, comfort, and technology usage. The inclusion (and even enforced inclusion of women through regulations) should encompass more women in trial data, testing, customer experience, customer ergonomics testing, etc. Ensuring the legal, technical, funding/investing and ethical elements of the economy harmonize and that new advances in technology will benefit women as much as men.

What are the most important characteristics of a successful woman in tech in your opinion?

The ability to recognize all human beings are fallible, but that energy, enthusiasm, and asking questions will ensure we keep on learning. Even if we’re only learning how ignorant we are.

It’s important to recognize that technology has evolved so much that we will all need to use aspects of it in our work. I feel it’s impossible to do my role without being reliant on insights from many platforms and sources.

Some of the common characteristics you need to be successful in pioneering new business include being stubborn enough to follow your own ideas, take on board only the information that helps you, and not fear risk. Yet as mothers, we’re often most proud when our daughters are hardworking, diligent and caring. Maybe the more we relish characteristics such as being daring, loud, unconventional, and bold, the better we can raise the future generation to continue to flourish.

Women represent half of the planet’s population and society needs to ensure that the needs of all humanity are met. Maybe women are still encouraged to take more caring roles, to behave at all times, and to conform. Yet the profiles of IT pioneers and successful entrepreneurs conflict with this. 

What are the most important things to consider when starting a business?

Get into the shoes of your target audience. Not just who do you want to sell to and who would be most profitable, but think who would be your best advocate and why? What is the ultimate experience you can offer, that no one else can?

It’s not essential to have a niche, but you do need to be able to differentiate yourselves and show a clear value proposition, which resonates with your audience.

According to Forbes: ‘Female entrepreneurs have to work harder than the men to make a success of their businesses. Almost one in five women say they lack the technical knowledge required for their business compared to only one in 20 men.’ Thankfully, with a good sense of curiosity and perseverance, technical skills are easily learned. It’s much easier to learn how to code in python than it is to learn how to lead or manage a team. 

If you could host a dinner party with 3 influential people in tech, who would you invite and why?

Eva Lovelace. I’d love to just show her what her ‘computer’ can and has achieved. How the basis of her algorithms and computing has allowed us to find vaccines to a pandemic which threatens the health of our population and has already taken nearly 4 million lives. 

Facebook Chief algorithm Team Director – I’d like them to change their algorithms to suppress/remove all hate speech, conspiracy theories, e.g. anti-vaxxers, and prevent people going through a rabbit warren of self-supporting ‘evidence’.

The writers of The Black Mirror. I’ve only watched a couple of these Netflix episodes, but it’s such an insightful and fascinating view on their ideas of the imminent future, and how technology can influence us. 

Nicola Meinders is the Global Marketing Director for Jonckers and their AI cloud translation platform WordsOnline. Nicola is developing the brand and its online presence, as well as creating global ambassadors. In her role, she enjoys developing digital marketing campaigns to entice new customers and deliver a consistent customer experience across all marketing channels. She regularly explores new MarTech tools to deliver marketing at scale, as much as possible. Nicola has enjoyed working in international B2B marketing for 20 years in marketing consulting, business services, IT, and engineering.

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