Q&A with Chee-Xuan, APAC Product Marketing Lead at Wise
Everything we do at Wise revolves around our customers. So the first thing I do whenever we launch a new product or market, is go straight to the people – to understand what they need from us. This is important in all markets, but especially in complex regions like APAC, where no two countries are the same. Seeing our work pay off and making peoples’ lives easier, is what makes all the hard work and occasional tougher times so worth it.
Why did you join Wise?
I’d previously worked in the banking, travel and mobility industries and was looking for a company that positively impacted customers’ lives. I’d heard about Wise through an ex-colleague who used it to send money back to Vietnam. I was impressed, so I took a look at the website and downloaded the app to check it out myself. Coincidentally, I saw a job ad for a Senior Product Marketer, and I thought – right place, right time and went for it!
How has your role developed since joining Wise?
When I first joined, most of my role focused on marketing strategy and how to launch products, which was fairly executional. I’m now a lead, so I have more responsibilities. I spend time figuring out things like team structure, hiring people, developing my team, cross-team communication, and planning the vision for the whole APAC Product Marketing team.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy talking to our customers. When we launch a new product or want to drive engagement of an existing product, we go straight to our customers, to understand their needs and experience first hand. I also enjoy advocating for the APAC region. Sometimes companies HQ’d in the UK and US can be quite western-centric with their product features. And APAC is a complex market – for example, a customer in Singapore is very different from a customer in Thailand or India. I enjoy getting to know each of these markets’ needs and local nuances to shape our marketing strategy. Educating our product and marketing teams in the UK on local nuances is such a meaningful part of my role.
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your lead and why?
I really don’t have any super interesting stories to share here! My lead is very supportive, she’s always there to guide me when I need advice. But most of the time, she trusts that I will make the best decision for projects in the APAC region I manage. We’re able to bounce thoughts and ideas off each other, and she challenges me on things to get to the best outcome.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I’d long had a list of things I wanted to try but had always been too busy to get around to them. When Covid restrictions eased, I thought now is the time – so I picked up rock climbing, salsa and pottery lessons. I also started learning a little Spanish.
I feel like I grew quite a fair bit personally and professionally last year. Although covid had the whole world on standstill – on the bright side, it forced us to reflect more and reevaluate how we want to live our lives. The pandemic definitely made me treasure the freedom I have to go out there and try new things.
What is the most unusual job you’ve ever done?
I was working at a chauffeur drive and travel startup as a Market Development Manager. I was doing business development, which covered partnerships, corporate sales and account management. And there was an unusual thing I had to do which was quality checks. I would spend a whole day sitting at the airport arrival gate, guessing the limousine driver who was picking up our customer – I had to review the driver without them knowing. So it was like being a mystery shopper, observing if drivers were following our protocol. I felt like a stalker! Looking back, it was pretty fun.
What is your side hustle?
I used to do freelance marketing consulting for startups. It’s something I’m keen to get back into because I believe a lot of these small startups have great ideas but may lack the expertise in knowing how to speak to customers. So I’d love to get back into that if I have more time in the future.
I just started a webcomic called @maosan_comics and hope to turn it into a side hustle one day. Check it out if you like cats and having a good laugh.
What is your team’s most fun tradition?
During Covid, we started this thing called PMM Cribs. Like MTV Cribs, but adapted to Wise and covid. Twice a week where we’d meet for 15 to 30 minutes and talk about non-work related stuff to check in on each other. There was also the fun stuff. We have a ballet dancer in the team, and she would teach us a ballet routine, and we would all perform for her. Recently we had a cocktail making class, where we had to mix six cocktails within 90 minutes. That was fun!
My team is mostly remote, so I spend a lot of time with the folks in our Singapore office. Wise provides us with a cross-team budget, where we can organise fun team bonding activities, like bouncing!
What is your favourite Slack group?
I recently discovered a channel called #cat, where Wisers around the world share pictures of their fur babies. We get multiple pictures a day – they’re absolutely adorable and the best channel to start my day with! It’s been really helpful in getting me through some of the tougher work stuff from time to time.