Marketing has seen a lot of changes over the years. It has shifted from being a set of activities driven by assumptions and intuition to a data-driven system that relies on technology to drive action and generate results.
While marketing is not an exact science, its evolution has changed the way brands interact with the world. In a conversation with Techbuild, Irene Aguh, Global Head of Marketing at Fuzu and Founder of Rêvie, provides additional insight.
Can you please give us a quick background about your career journey so far?
I started out as the Advertising Account Manager of a digital publishing company with multiple brands across Africa. I initially applied for a writing role with them, but after my interview, they decided I was better suited for this position.
From here, I moved into another account management role at an advertising agency, which I held for about two or three months before the company inferred that I was better at strategy, and I switched from Account Management to Strategy.
Agencies are a lot of work, but they help you grow fast. You learn a lot from working with people and brands from all over the world.
After the agency, I went into tech and became the Head of Marketing at a Fintech company before eventually moving into Career Tech.
Tell us about your journey into advertising, your experiences, pitfalls, and lessons for upcoming advertisers
I got into advertising because of a video I watched. It was of the woman I would later work for, talking about her career journey, and it resonated.
My biggest challenge with working in advertising was the sheer amount of work that it required. You had to split your time and attention across multiple brands and clients without letting anyone suffer.
I learnt to juggle work, think on my feet and respond fast. Sometimes, I would be in a presentation, mentally building the deck for my next meeting. And I would spend the ride down creating it on my computer.
As a strategist, you need to know all there is to know about your client’s industry in order to show expertise and plan effectively. You learn to be more observant, to ask questions and to have random conversations to gain insights into what makes people think.
Advertising takes a lot of time and energy, but it builds you for the future and equips you with skills that will be useful to you. The agency model is different from the client-side model. It will demand a lot from you, but you need to be willing to learn every day and evolve as fast as you can.
Can you tell us about your journey into branding, your experience, and your pitfalls?
I learnt branding, advertising, communications, and through-the-line marketing at the same time, so the experience was the same.
This is not the same for everyone. Some people get into branding, marketing, and communications separately. Great stuff, but it happens mainly on the client-side.
What is the importance of branding and marketing for entrepreneurs and startups?
Branding helps companies build unique identities that differentiate them from the competition and other players within the same space. And marketing helps them promote their brand, product, or service.
Without these two things, it is hard to scale a business. They are necessary for business profitability and growth.
People used to say good work speaks for itself, but that is no longer true. If you want people to know about your business, talk about it. If you want people to care, give them reasons to believe and remember.
Every profit-making business has to find creative ways to stand out and sell its product or service. This is what branding and marketing do.
How do you think these startups can leverage content marketing for their growth?
Content marketing is an affordable way to build and show long-term value. By finding ways to deploy engaging content, startups can build involved audiences.
If you think about the way the world consumes information, online and offline, you realize that all these channels are opportunities for content marketing.
To properly leverage this, brands need to figure out where their audience is, what type of content they are consuming, and how their brand can fit into those channels.
It doesn’t always have to be about selling a product or service, sometimes focuses on improving brand perception and building a memorable user experience.
How has technology improved marketing?
Technology has made it easy to find, target, and reach more people. It has also made it easier to build more personalized experiences for customers and users.
Now, you can conduct research, build plans and execute an entire marketing campaign from another continent. You can also reach more people than you typically would in a physical activity.
What role does data play in marketing?
Data helps you make smarter marketing decisions. Marketing works better when you’re not throwing things at a wall and hoping something sticks.
With data, you can identify challenges quicker and solve them before something breaks. This saves you time, energy and money.
Basically, having the right data and knowing what to do with it can help you improve marketing performance.
What’s your advice for girls who want to start a career in marketing, branding, or advertising?
The world is open to you. You can build a successful career in these fields and become your own woman.
If you’re struggling or don’t know how to start, reach out. There are women willing to have these conversations with you and pull you up.
Featured Image: Irene Aguh, Global Head of Marketing at Fuzu and Founder of Rêvie
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