Challenges in marketing can be overcome
The biggest challenge for marketers in Namibia is convincing businesses to put resources behind marketing spend, this is according to Jacqueline Pack, the recently appointed Executive Officer: Marketing and Corporate Communication Services at Bank Windhoek.
“We have seen a general rise in cost to procure marketing collateral and also fliting of material especially through above the line media,” Pack said in a recent interview with the Windhoek Observer.
“Digital media was fairly cost effective in the early stages of introduction, however, this medium in terms of costs, has also increased significantly over the past three or four years.”
Pack said that from experience, it’s always critical to make business understand that marketing is a long term investment and returns are only realised in the long term measured through brand equity scores.
“This would require putting in place a strong research foundation that gives you the required data in order to justify the spend and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. One should also be cognizant of the fact that consumer insights should be the departure point in your planning to ensure that value is realised,” Pack said.
Pack speaks from experience.
She has held various positions in the Namibian marketing sector, starting off as a marketing officer at the University of Namibia for five years.
She then moved over to the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) environment, where she worked as a market analyst at South African Breweries (SAB) and Namib Mills, respectively.
“This created the foundation on which my marketing methodology is based on and I was privileged to gain valuable research knowledge and insights,” Pack said.
Within two years she got an opportunity to work at Namibia Breweries (NBL) as brand manager.
“My time at NBL gave me exposure not only to the core concepts of marketing, but gave me the opportunity to work on global brands and be trained in global marketing tools from one of the most successful consumer goods companies called Diageo through its partnership with NBL.
“I was later promoted to Senior Brand Manager and worked on the “Windhoek” (Windhoek Lager, Draught and Light) portfolio. During this time we launched Windhoek’s global marketing campaign in Namibia and other African focused countries.”
After five years at the breweries she moved to Standard Bank as Head: Marketing and Corporate Communications, a position she held until 31 August 2016.
In October, Pack took over from Marlize Horn, who has since moved to Bank Windhoek Holdings, soon to be renamed Capricorn Investment Group. Horn will focus on marketing the group brand in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.
“Marlize has done a great job in terms of the hand-over so far and the smooth running of the department for someone who was doing two jobs at once. We have a bank-wide strategy that we need to cascade down to the various sections of marketing,” Pack said.
In Pack’s experience, there has been a strong and solid growth in the Namibian marketing landscape. One indication of market growth is the number of advertising agencies, both local and international, that are currently operating in Namibia.
The conceptual quality and execution has also improved greatly.
“The quality of marketing campaigns is brilliant, thanks to companies like NBL that heavily invest in brand building training for its employees. The competitive environment has also changed and consumers are evolving hence the need for more robust marketing planning and clear strategic focus,” Pack said.
But, what would her advice be to aspiring marketing professionals?
“If you aspire to become a marketer you should pursue your studies and get your degree or diploma in marketing management. Once you have theoretical knowledge, join a dynamic company that will give you the opportunity to grow through experience.
“Please be prepared to start from the ground and work your way up. It’s important that you gain knowledge and experience through physical execution of campaigns as this gives you a great understanding of your consumer and how they relate to your brand or service. Get out there, talk to consumers and keep yourself abreast with latest trends and developments.”
Park says that passion remains a key ingredient to any marketer’s success in the end.
“You need to have passion for the profession and you need to have good interpersonal skills. Marketing is about persuading consumers to buy into your proposition thus you need to have a good sense of why they do and what drives them.
“You need to be creative as well and not in a sense of an artist, but have a very open mind and the instincts to judge creatives fairly e.g. from a consumer/ customer perspective.”
Asking Pack what she will bring to enhance the bank Windhoek brand, she said she would like to create thought leaders within marketing to help shape the strategic direction of Bank Windhoek through empowerment and growth.
“In addition, I would like to introduce a marketing planning cycle which encompasses a lot of levers that will ensure that we add value to business in an efficient manner.
“You will see more presence in terms of Bank Windhoek going forward. I cannot say much on it now, but I can guarantee you it will be exciting times,” Pack said.