Member Spotlight - Nicki Mackin

Nicki Mackin - MD & Co-Founder of Relativity IM

Tell us about yourself and your career background?

I’ve been working in the data and print space for 20+ years, running my own businesses. I’ve always found data, and what it can do, fascinating. Relativity IM came from that.

I started out in a CRM role for a database marketing company. That was in the 90s; using data was quite new and it gave me a great opportunity to learn. People were beginning to realise the potential of what you can achieve with data. It was becoming more important and more mainstream.

For example, the company I worked for had won the contract to centralise the police records nationwide – before then everything was managed and accessed separately, which is hard to imagine today.

What led to the decision to starting your own business?

I was in my twenties when I set up my first business. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit; I wanted the challenge of running my own business, and to do it for myself. I felt that I could make a difference, and give better value and service to clients.

Tell us more about Relativity IM and what it offers?

We specialise in data marketing, helping businesses to achieve more with their data. Initially this could be through data management, analysing, cleansing, profiling and segmentation. This means that organisations have a clean, optimised database to work with.

Then we work on customer strategy, working out the best ways to use the data sets to achieve company goals. This could be through multi-channel campaigns; which we can design, execute, track and analyse.

We work with retailers, charities, social projects, membership organisations – but any business really with a database. Data has changed in the last five years; businesses understand that data is a key part of their strategy.

What have been the biggest challenges and highlights since setting up on your own?

Well a challenge has definitely been the glass ceiling – 100%. In the 90s/00s the print trade was all men, and people needed to adjust to women moving into traditionally men’s roles.

In fact still only one in ten workers in the industry is a woman; but attitudes are changing. Plus there are more women in marketing, retail and client side, so it is easier.

A highlight was working with the English National Opera (ENO). It was a right place, right time project; they were open to personalisation and putting together a full customer journey. It worked brilliantly and made a difference, so that was really satisfying.

Any tips for those looking to make it in on their own?

Absolutely networking – don’t be afraid to use your own contacts when you’re starting out. Use your contacts and personal recommendations to grow. And network some more; who you know will help open doors, and you can flourish and prove your worth once you’re in. You’ll succeed if you can get recommendations!

If you could go back and give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to put up your hand and say I don’t understand, or ask for an explanation. Never pretend to know something when you don’t – people will respect you more for asking. When something is discussed and explained there’s a chance you can add value. Men rarely do this but women do, and I do think you win more respect that way.

Finally, do you have a career motto or mantra you live by?

Be a chameleon! Don’t be afraid to change and adapt – I’ve done it for the last 20 years! Be visionary and always think ahead and go where the market goes and where customers take you.