In this month’s Employee Spotlight edition, we are introducing Michael Azzilonna, Head of Corporate Development and Marketing at Crosscard. Michael joined the company back in September 2016 to support the digital marketing team and quickly made his way up from a Junior role to Crosscard’s Senior Management. Michael is directly involved in driving Crosscard’s long-term strategy, heading our Marketing & BI team, and is the business owner for our B2C product VIABUY.
Q: When did you begin your marketing career?
A: I joined a Munich-based performance marketing agency called QUISMA almost 10 years ago while studying for my Bachelor’s. In the beginning, it was all about online marketing basics from copywriting to reporting, which required a lot of manual work. I quickly realised that manual work was very boring and cost the business a lot of money. So I started investing more time trying to automate these manual tasks and quite successfully automated several tasks with various Excel macros. This quickly raised awareness in QUISMA’s BI team, and after a couple of months, I joined the BI team and ever since found myself caught up between these two departments. After finishing my studies I started working as a data analyst on a consultancy basis, which I continued throughout my Master’s studies in London.
Q: What tasks do you carry out in your job, and what are some of the tools that you use?
A: At the moment, I’m on the phone for a large part of my day, which I’m actively trying to reduce. When I’m not in meetings, I’m currently spending most of my time on online marketing topics and our long-term business strategy. Next to our on-going VIABUY campaigns, we have very big plans for our B2B products, which I’m currently trying to reflect in a large-scale B2B campaign. Since I like digging around in data, I usually spend the rest of my time in tools like Excel, Tableau, Hubspot and Google Analytics to monitor what’s going on in the business and to find insights to improve our campaigns and products.
Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?
There are lots of things that I genuinely enjoy. This ranges from regular day to day problems, which force you to quickly find a solution, to make decisions that yield a positive impact for the company, to having after-work beers with my colleagues. In general, I would say that seeing a direct impact on my work probably is the most rewarding part of my job. But also being able to shape Crosscard’s future to some extent is super exciting albeit challenging. During lockdown and working from home for quite a time now, I really miss the social interaction with my colleagues, having team dinners and going out for 1-6 beers in Munich’s famous beer gardens.
Q: Three things that many people don’t know about me.
- Fair to say that my school career was a big challenge for everybody involved: me, my parents and my teachers. Back then, I had other priorities than attending class and found very interesting and effective ways to sneak through the years and skipped classes without anybody noticing. This ranged from making colour copies and manipulation of the absence book, over to faking apology letters and visiting different doctors every second week for a fresh attestation. Thanks to my parents, I eventually came to my senses and this story had a happy end.
- I’m still a big Bayern Munich supporter but used to be a bit crazy, and frequently went to away games etc. In 2010, Bayern made it to the Champions League Final in Madrid to play Inter Milan, which meant that I just had to be there. The only problem was that tickets were sold out and there were literally no flights from Germany for less than €1k. After looking for tickets 24/7 for one week, I borrowed €1,000 from my parents, bought a ticket on eBay and the only somewhat affordable flight departing from Venice (!). Trip summary: We had to drive approx. 5 hours to Venice where our plane was delayed for 4 hours. We arrived 30 min before kick-off in the stadium, lost the game 2:0, went to a pub for 2 hours, and then flew back home around 4 am. Because we were flying to Venice, we were the only two Bayern fans in an entirely Italian terminal, which was priceless.
- Until I started working, nobody called me by my first name Michael. Everybody just called me Azzi or Azzo, which reached a state where I would not realise somebody was asking for me when they called me Michael.
Q: On a personal note, what are some of your hobbies and interests?
A: I really like spending time with my family, particularly with my wife and my son who turned 1 yesterday. Apart from that, I’m very passionate about technology and the latest trends. Before my mountain bike was stolen, I used to frequently go for a ride, and hope to pick this up again when I get a new one soon.
I’m a big fan of the Bavarian card game Schafkopf and poker and like playing almost every sport that involves a ball. Although being really bad at it, I also like playing darts and have a dartboard in my office.
We would like to thank Michael for answering our questions and taking the time to give us some insights into his personal life. But most of all we would like to thank Michael for his continued hard work at Crosscard which has played a considerable role in shaping what we have now become.
We are always looking for talented people who are interested in Marketing just like Michael to join our team. If you would like to work with Michael as part of our Marketing team, or even If you’re interested in fintech, software development, or financial services in general — we want to hear from you! Head on over to our careers page on https://www.crosscard.com/careers/ to check out what we are building and the new positions we’re looking for.