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Xavier Bourlard, Head of Mobile at Headway Digital - Shares Insights

Xavier Bourlard, Head of Mobile at Headway Digital - Shares Insights

Our ‘Profile: A Day in the Life of’ feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry. This week we head to Barcelona to meet Headway Digital's head of mobile. 


Xavier Bourlard.

Job title and company:

Head of Mobile – Headway Digital.

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

Headway Digital provides the technology and expertise that connects our digital advertisers to the right audience, in the right channels and at the right moment.

What are the company’s unique selling points?

MoBrain, Headway Digital’s mobile advertising and media buying platform, enables advertisers to connect mobile apps to users on a performance basis and with a granular analysis of our traffic and clusters that are built on the behaviour and interest data of users and then combined with the experience we have with similar clients. It’s a synergy between the technology and human expertise.

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?

The last year has been tremendous, in terms of activity, for Headway Digital. We opened an office in Barcelona that is 100% focused on mobile app promotion activities. We launched our second generation mobile technology platform, MoBrain 2.0, with more features designed to respond to the market needs. We also managed to increase our active mobile campaigns over one thousand percent in less than a year!  And this is just the beginning; the best is yet to come. 2015 will bring a lot of advancements and exciting developments from Headway!

Duration in current role:

7 months.

Where are you based?

Barcelona, Spain. But the company has 12 offices around the world, including one in the US and a strong presence in LATAM.

Previous performance marketing-related companies you have worked at:

Before joining Headway Digital, I was at Glispa in Berlin. While at Glispa, I was one of the key people that developed all the company’s mobile business activities from scratch. I remember in 2013 when I joined, mobile was maybe 20% of the revenue of the company, and 1.5 years later, it was almost 90%. This is where I learned what hard work and focus means. I have a lot of respect for the company and Gary Lin, the founder.

What are your main job responsibilities?

I have several focuses, but overall, my challenge is to build a strong presence for MoBrain within the mobile sector. My goal is to make MoBrain one of the TOP-10 best mobile advertising platforms in the market. To achieve this goal, I am working on the product side with our team based in Argentina, developing new long term business partnerships, building a team of key account managers and business developers, and making sure that we don’t miss any opportunity which can contribute to our growth.

Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday: 

Luckily, every day is different for me, which is how I prefer it. With that said, I know that in order to reach your goals, it is important to create a tiny daily routine, something you can count on doing every day. For me, my daily morning routine starts by checking my stats, then my calendar, then my follow ups and then move on to where I stand with my high priorities. Part of my Sunday routine that prepares me for Monday is to spend an hour visualising and listing the major highlights of the week. I find that this helps me to be more prepared, more effective, and better able to handle emergencies as they come.  

What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?

Do we ever get time for a lunch hour in our industry? I’m joking, if I decide to go for lunch, I don’t browse on the Internet. I prefer to talk with my colleagues, to enjoy the time we have for chitchat or deeper conversations. If I decide to stay at work, it’s because I have something urgent to finish, a proposal to send over, or a strategic plan to put forth. But during my free time, LinkedIn is my website to stay connected, Twitter for the hottest trends, and Kayak to plan my next business trip or getaway weekend.

What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?

  1. Have determination and dedication. Success takes not only hard work and focus, but also never giving up no matter how hard things become. Always picture yourself in the place where you want to end up, and then start small, taking one step at a time to reach your goal. Don’t let people or distractions divert you from your path. Keep your goal in mind during the best and the worst times. That will get you through it to the end.
  2. Communicate effectively. Networking in our industry is extremely important, as this is how you will find your future clients, partners, or the next steps to your career. Don’t talk if you have nothing to say - show people what you’ve done, instead of telling them what you are about to do.
  3. Do things with passion. Work, speak and learn with passion. Build your knowledge, your expertise; read articles, books, be passionate and invest in your career.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years’ time?

I don’t particularly like this question, but at one time I had to prepare this kind of answer for past job interviews. I’m very happy working in the mobile industry, and I think now I’m more comfortable in saying that where I see myself doesn’t matter as much as how I see myself. I see myself succeeding in doing something that I’m passionate about, and working with people who are passionate as well.

One of the things that I love about working with the Headway Digital team is that we come from different cultures and we bring together our various backgrounds, experiences and expertise to create and build a solution that is all-encompassing and is a positive contribution to the industry as a whole. I hope that we can continue to grow and affect change in this industry. Digital advertising has always been attractive to me because every action has an immediate result that you can extract and analyse. It might be the mathematical side of my personality that loves that part of the job, but I can see myself in this industry for a long time to come.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

 I always wanted to be a mathematics professor when I was at high school, but my very poor performance in the sciences such as biology and physics pushed me to choose economy and management.

Mark  Jones

Mark Jones

Editorial Executive at PerformanceIN. Mark reports performance marketing news and manages PI's network of guest contributors.

Originally from Plymouth, Mark studied in Reading and London, eventually earning his Master's in Digital Journalism- before making his return to the West Country to join the PI team in Bristol.

Read more from Mark

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