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Creating that ‘wow’ moment when someone enters a space

Making great customer experiences even better 


by Martijn Douven, International Key Account Manager Retail Hospitality, Singapore 


I have always been a commercial person. From creating a museum in my bedroom and charging an entrance fee when I was six to selling homemade bread to my neighbors at the age of 10. The retail and hospitality segment is all about delivering great customer experiences. I want to contribute to improve those experiences for our clients and their guests. As a Key Account Manager I work on large scale cross-border projects together with end users, designers, consultants and contractors. It is a big and complex ecosystem and an exciting challenge to manage it.

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Leading the transformation in the lighting market


After high school, I studied Business Administration at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. During this time I did a six-month internship in South Africa as a Business Development Manager. This was my first taste of the world outside of Europe and it made me hungry for more. After completing my master's in Strategic Economics I went out into the workforce. I joined Philips Lighting four years ago. There were several multinationals offering development programs for high-potential graduates at that time, but the people at Philips Lighting had a top-class program and made me feel welcome. I wanted to work for an “A” brand and the fact that Philips Lighting does more than just sell light bulbs made this opportunity even more exciting for me. The company focuses on providing total solutions to their clients, which encompasses design, IoT (Internet of Things) lighting systems, project management, installation, maintenance and even financing models. In fact, we're leading the transformation of the lighting industry.


Fast-track career


In the Philips Lighting development program, you can gain a lot of experience in a very short time frame. I started as Segment Marketing Manager in the Netherlands. This job involved creating and testing new go-to-market strategies, and supporting the sales team with market research and developing sales tools. After some time in this role I continued my journey in Philips lighting as a global Project Manager in the digital marketing team. We deployed a companywide program, helping to build digital capabilities within the marketing communities. My focus was on areas such as content management, search engine optimization, and social media.


Changing the mindset


Six months later, I received a call from our Singapore office asking whether I was interested in a role as Key Account Manager. The opportunity in Singapore allowed me to help transition our product-focused sales team from selling products to selling total solutions. This new approach involves consultative selling and close collaboration with our clients and their ecosystems, requiring brainstorming of ideas and developing innovative and tailored solutions. 


An expanding regional role


My focus was mostly on the local retail and hospitality market in my first year, with occasional projects outside of Singapore. During this year we successfully launched Philips’ Modular architectural lighting brand and sold the first commercial smart office installation in South East Asia using our Power-over-Ethernet lighting system. Now the projects I manage are all over Asia, all the way from Sydney to China.


Philips Lighting is your oyster


I like big challenges, the bigger the better. I’m a guy from a small Dutch village of about 6,000 people. Through my student experience in South Africa I discovered what the world had to offer, and I knew when I got back home that I wanted to work for a multinational company that could provide me with an international career. I discovered that at Philips Lighting, if you want to develop yourself and really go for it, the sky’s the limit. If you show your interest, share your passion and are good at your job, you will have a lot of opportunities


It is very interesting to be part of an innovative project, creating a “Wow” moment when someone enters a space. That’s what makes it exciting for me.”