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Meet the… VP of marketing strategy

From starting out as a runner at Norway's TV 2 to leading the marketing strategy at Vizrt Group, André Torsvik tells us why he finds the speed of change in the media tech industry is so interesting

André Torsvik, vice president marketing strategy at Vizrt Group
Talk us through an average day in your role

Working in marketing strategy for global brands with diverse portfolios entails taking a lot of meetings, as well as talking and liaising with people across all time zones. The innovative products and brilliant teams that make NewTek, NDI and Vizrt what they are means there’s never a dull day – and the richness that comes from working with people from all walks of life makes me feel very fortunate.

On a day-to-day basis, I try to keep a balance between supporting and leading the product marketing team. We work to align messaging and campaigns, stay on top of market and industry developments, and we (hopefully!) provide useful analysis and actionable insight. Having a dedicated team that cares about what we do and how we do it is one of the biggest joys of my role.

How did you get started in the media industry?

In 2004, I started working for TV 2 Norway as a tape runner. Within weeks of starting, the station went straight into breaking news mode to cover the tsunami that hit – it was a steep learning curve.

I quickly experienced how working in live television provides a unique feeling of accomplishment and immediacy that can’t be replicated doing anything else. The stories covered surrounding this tragedy grasped the attention of the public and were fundamental in providing solidarity for the many people who were affected.

I stayed at TV2 Norway for seven years, working in multiple different technical positions and learning the ins and outs of the broadcast industry. I then worked at a company called Mosart, which in 2013 was acquired by Vizrt, and the rest is history.

What training did you have before entering the industry?

I was first introduced to the professional world of media and television when studying at university, where I was fortunate to gain hands-on experience even as a student. I was working toward my degree in Media and TV Production from the University of Westminster. There, I learned the entire process of working across production, and the operational aspects of studios and editing suites. Later, I completed an MBA in Marketing, which was extremely useful when I shifted to working on the vendor side of the media tech industry.

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

By nature, it’s an industry that is constantly moving – innovation is everywhere, and the change keeps things interesting to me. I’ve been working in media for over 15 years, and I can’t imagine I would have stayed in the field if there wasn’t anything new to look forward to.

Since the activities of Vizrt Group stretch all the way from infrastructure innovation to software implementation and even on-air support of large-scale broadcast, I can never be sure what the day will bring – and I think that’s brilliant. There is also an interesting aspect of working in such a tight-knit industry with a very global nature, where you get to work with (and later, keep bumping into!) amazingly talented people all over the world. Add both up, and you have a recipe for high job satisfaction!

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?

It’s paramount to understand both the market and the customer base, and the preferable way to understand it is by working in it. There is no substitute for on-the-ground production experience, where you feel the pressure and fathom the dread of an on-air output going black, first-hand. You live the pain points. Those important learning moments never leave you, and it all comes in handy when you later speak to customers as a vendor – it can stand you in good stead.

Understanding, executing, and planning marketing are specific skills that can be learned, but they must be practiced. For example, while anyone can create copy and put it on social media, most people shouldn’t. Doing it right means having your words take the effect you want and make the impression you need. To achieve that, it takes the willingness to research, plan, evaluate, position, and craft the message accordingly, along with a host of other activities that take time. This all happens before the execution even begins.

Above all though, every new marketing skill must be constantly studied and honed, to keep up with this dynamic and ever-changing industry.