Introducing Ken Saito - Business Development Manager - Japan
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Born and raised in Tokyo, but brought up in the American education system after starting to learn English from 2 years old. Personally, I think I’m a very relaxed person who loves to hang out with friends and family, have a few drinks and good food.
Professionally, started off at Yahoo Japan working in online advertising, managing international client accounts, then moving into a wider marketing role. After 5 years, spent a year at the University of Liverpool to take part in the Football Industries MBA.
After the program, came back to Japan and worked as a BDM for Catapult for 3 years, then moved into the sports sponsorship field at Rakuten and UNIQLO.
What motivates you?
What does a day in the life look like for you?
Checking emails and schedule for the day to understand what my day will look like. Going into formal/casual meetings with customers and potential customers. Trying to meet as many people as possible.
What was the experience like establishing Catapult in Japan?
It was very exciting working for an up-and-coming technology provider, where most Japanese sport teams hadn’t even heard for GPS tracking. It felt fulfilling especially after the first couple of years, when many of the relationships that I built in the first few months led to deals and it was satisfying to see most of the teams in soccer and rugby sign up with Catapult.
How does the Japanese market differ in comparison to the US or Europe?
Primarily the language. For many people it’s hard to do business in English. Secondly the business culture and the way negotiations take place is quite longer than other cultures/countries. Not many teams want to be the pioneer, but they would rather be followers after seeing a successful case study.
What drew you to working with KangaTech?
I thought there’s huge potential for the system in the Japanese market as there aren’t too many products like KangaTech. It would be great to see many Japanese teams implement this system and maximize their performance.
What do you think is the number one reason customers choose KT360?
The wide range of protocols the system offers and the simplicity that comes with it. The support is excellent as well.
Which resources do you use to keep up with industry news?
To stay up-to-date with industry news and trends, I primarily use Twitter and Podcasts.
What are some of the podcasts you have been listening to?
Mostly podcast from the Athletic - “The Athletic Football Podcast” “Total Soccer Show” “The Tifo Football Podcast” “Handbrake Off” “The Totally Football Show” etc.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months?
Getting to know the team and increasing brand awareness in Japan. and hopefully signing a few customers!