15 November 2015
As a DBIT student, one of the modules I learn in my first year of studies is Social Media Marketing. In this module, we learn the key features of the popular Social Media platforms that digital marketing agencies and businesses use to reach out to their consumers. We are also taught how to plan and design Social Media marketing strategies and campaigns.
To make the learning of this module more industry relevant, our assignment requires us to collaborate with real-life companies to plan and execute social media campaigns with them. After going through this experience, I realised how tough it is to be a marketing professional. For our assignment, we only worked with small-sized companies, planning small-sized campaigns, and it was already quite hard! I wondered to myself, "It must be ten times harder to plan and execute marketing campaigns for the really big companies?"
My question was answered when my lecturer invited an accomplished marketing professional, Ms Gale Choong with over 10 years of brand management experience in the FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) industry to give us a talk in July 2015.
Though it was only a one hour talk, Ms Gale covered quite a lot of interesting information:
Career Path of a Marketing Manager in the FMCG industry
First, she shared with us the typical career path of a marketing professional in a big company – what is the first job title graduates would usually start off with and how long they typically take to be promoted to the next. A person who wants to join the marketing industry would usually start off by being a management trainee. Subsequently, good performance would get him or her promoted to be an assistant manager, a brand manager, a senior brand manager, a marketing manager and finally a Marketing Director / Head of Marketing. Depending on the person, it might take 10 to 15 years.
The different parties that a Marketing professional has to interact with
When my group worked with our client, we only had to liaise with one or two people at first as our client did not have many staff. In a big company like what Ms Gale works in, she often has to deal with multiple parties, ranging from her internal colleagues from the Sales Department, Finance Department, HR Department etc, and also external partners such as the Media Agencies, Research Agencies, Print Suppliers, Premium Suppliers etc. Hence, strong communication skills are really essential in a marketer.
Essential attributes of a marketing professional
Besides communication skills, Ms Gale shared with us a list of key traits she thinks are important for someone to succeed in this field:
- Strong business acumen
- Ability to influence
Marketing campaigns for brands like Magnolia and L'Oreal
What caught my attention most were the stories of the marketing campaigns she planned and executed in the course of her career.
She showed the audience successful marketing campaigns that she had ran for brands such as Dove, Magnolia and L’Oreal which were promoted on different types of media such as television advertisements, social media and even road shows to make the product a key product.
From her, we learnt that it is very important to keep the marketing message simple and easy to explain "If you can't explain to a 6 year old, you don't know it yourself."
An eye-opening experience
This talk is definitely an eye opening experience for both me and my friends. We took a group photo with her at the end of the talk, and all of us went back with a much stronger understanding of what it takes to be a successful marketer and some useful tips on running successful marketing campaigns!
This article is written by Harry Cheng Lit Yaw, a Year 1 student from the Diploma in Business Information Technology (DBIT).