As marketing trends continue to evolve, with companies trying to get to grips with the changes, the Windhoek Observer (WO) caught up with Multichoice Namibia Marketing Manager, Abbelene Boer (AB) who gave her view of the sector and reflected on her professional journey and experiences.
WO: What are some of the growing trends in the marketing industry?
AB: I think the fastest growing trends lie in content marketing based on big data as well as mobile and social media marketing. This will be growing even more rapidly as cheaper smart phones are already in our market and telecommunication infrastructure is nearing complete optimisation.
WO: Do you think all marketing graduates should be registered as specialists like other professions such as health officers?
AB: I don’t believe all marketing graduates should be registered as specialists, but Namibia can benefit from an accredited professional body to which you earn accreditation. This will help regulate the marketing field and to set standards.
WO: What does it take to be a marketing specialist?
AB: You have to focus on a particular specialisation within the field and keep abreast of the changes and developments in that area. Marketing is so wide, and within marketing lies several areas of specialisation that are rapidly evolving. Not everyone can be a specialist, and marketing generalists are needed at different levels of the marketing process. Marketing works best when specialist areas are integrated – meaning the best results is really a team of marketing persons in specialist areas.
WO: What is the state of the marketing field in Namibia?
AB: I am not the authority on the state of the marketing field in Namibia, but I believe that Namibian businesses are prioritising marketing more and putting it in the center of their business planning and development. In the past, many Namibian companies saw marketing as an end-note to the business process involved only in promotion. Now with a more competitive landscape developing in the Namibian market, businesses are taking the lead from marketing, so the field is more competitive, more professional, more commercial and more strategic.
WO: Do you think marketing practioners get the recognition they deserve?
AB: Marketing practitioners have not gotten recognition in the past as very little marketing work was results-driven, business-orientated or strategic therefore success was not measured against a marketing initiative. With that changing, however, more and more marketing practitioners are being recognised for initiatives that lead to growth and have turned businesses around.
WO: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
AB: Research and acquiring accurate information on the market.
WO: How did you end up in marketing?
AB: I began my career as a journalist and broadcast media practitioner. My passion for promotion naturally led me to the fields of advertising where I could be more creative as well as get started in strategy, specifically media strategy. My writing ability naturally led me to corporate communication and public relations where I found an immediate love and comfort. Furthering my studies at Masters level led me into business management where the field of marketing was where my experience was the ideal fit.
WO: Is it something that you had planned?
AB: Not at the onset of my career. At high school I was going to be a journalist till my dying day and have six children and freelance from home for the BBCs and CNNs of the world. When I got to know myself better and really define what I enjoyed doing and what my strengths were; I began to make my decisions around my career based on that knowledge. Continued education also made changes to my plans as my learnings and developments in my field and the world at large drive my work changes. It’s an ever-evolving process of on-going self-discovery.
WO: Do you see media practitioners as partners or a threat?
AB: Media practitioners are partners of course. While earned media represents a smaller portion of otherwise paid media in the marketing realm; it is an influential portion and relationships with this stakeholder need to be respected, nurtured and maintained to be mutually beneficial.
WO: What do you do to unwind?
AB: I play with my children. I find that their laughter and pure joy totally relaxes me and I watch my favourite series on DStv Catch up – I enjoy escaping through television. I cry all my tears out through a comedy drama series such as This is us and laugh till my stomach hurts.
WO: What is your favorite sport and team?
AB: I’m not a great sports enthusiast, but I do catch an occasional live football match on television and my favourite teams in the various leagues are (EPL) Arsenal, (LaLiga) Real Madrid, (PSL) Kaiser Chiefs and (NPL) African Stars.