Find out what motivates Haithem to become a founder and why he sees himself as an "intermediate being”
How challenging is it to market insurance?
I think there is no product that is harder to sell than insurance. The financial market in general is a challenging area for marketers. A bank or an app for savings plans is almost always associated with a positive feeling for the customer because they are accumulating money for something they want. An insurance policy, on the other hand, you take out and hope that you will never have to deal with it again. When we contact customers, we can clearly see that everyone is skeptical. This is a really uncomfortable basis for selling something. We have to convince our customers that we are different from other providers and that our product is good. By now we know how to place trust signals well. And with our brand, which applies the feel-good factor to insurance, we are setting a new standard. Nevertheless, there is still much we can learn and ways we can improve.
When and how did you come to Getsafe? And what does an International Marketing Manager do?
I started in July 2018 as an intern in marketing. After that, I stayed with Getsafe as a working student. Initially, we were two or three marketers in a team of less than 30 people. Those were different times.
With the launch in the UK, we opened up our first international market. My position as International Marketing Manager, which I have held since the beginning of 2020, did not exist before. Because we are a very small team, I take on responsibility for other areas in addition to marketing tasks. For the UK market, we have to set a new course. This is because the British are different to the Germans in their purchasing decisions. It's great fun to build something completely new here, and it reminds me of my early days at Getsafe. Working for the UK is like looking after the start-up within the start-up. I never get bored.
You speak German well. When did you learn it? And how was it for you to come to Germany?
I came to Germany in 2013 and first learned the language before I started my Bachelor of Business Administration in Mannheim in 2014. It was clear to me that if I wanted to live here and work in the business sector, I couldn't arrive with a poor language level. Right from the start, I have been travelling a lot with Germans and not with other Tunisians. That wasn't easy at first because it was a culture shock for me. After two weeks I called my father and said: "I can't do this, I'm coming back home.” I have never been so far away from home for so long before.
And do you feel really comfortable in Germany now?
Yes, I just have difficulties with the sense of humor sometimes. I realize that my different cultural background helps me a lot in my professional life, because I can put myself in unfamiliar situations, but also with partners or customers with different cultural backgrounds. And of course, in Germany you're still not German enough, and in Tunisia they say: "Oh, he's not really Tunisian anymore, he's Germanized.” I have become an intermediate being. But I have to deal with that.
What do you do when you're not working?
I'm an absolute series freak! I've seen everything. Apart from that, my typical day off is very quiet at the moment because I injured my foot last year playing soccer with the team. I also enjoy cooking, listening to music, and reading books. Additionally, I have developed a routine: I go for a walk at 10pm when the city is rather empty and dark. It's a great atmosphere to let go of stress. But I always have music or a podcast in my ear or take my roommate or brother with me to chat with. I don't want to walk in silence, that would be too boring for me.
At Getsafe there is the Safe Place in the app. What is your safe place – personally and at work?
My private safe place is clearly at my parents' house. The house is outside the city, so you really have your peace and quiet. Ever since I've been living abroad, I've had a subliminal fear that something might happen to my family or me – and they're not around. This stress then simply falls away from me at home.
At Getsafe, it's the boys and the colleagues who are close to me. We have the same goals, learn together, share everything, and are there for each other when someone needs help. Even though there are these two weeks every month when everyone freaks out – they are still nice.
One question about the future to conclude: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Can you imagine starting up your own business?
It's definitely my plan to start my own business, maybe in a year, maybe in 3 years. I was lucky that my parents always supported me, and I was able to develop myself abroad. In Tunisia, the economic situation is not so rosy, and many young people, who are at least as good as me, find it difficult to realize their dreams. To give some of them the chance for more prosperity and personal development would be my dream, and I am working towards it.
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