I do believe the internet makes the world a better place – use it and learn. These days you have a world of information in your pocket – your cell phone is an encyclopediaDaphne Mphaga
For this segment of Women In Marketing, we had the opportunity to chat with Daphne who is the National Marketing Manager for Rosebank College. With a strong matriarchal presence, she’s a self-starter and loves DIY projects. Let’s learn more!
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born in Johannesburg at Baragwanath hospital a few days before Christmas, 22nd December. I so wished I was born on Christmas Day, but things are exactly how they should be. Spending time with my mom and grandparents will always be one of my fondest memories – they are my heroes. They taught me the value of hard work, love, independence, and looking after money – the art of saving.
My mother always says take care of the pennies, and the Rands will come. They always allowed me to be me – never imposed any of their beliefs on me. I had the freedom of choice – but I needed to respect myself and others as well as to obtain an education. I also have a few memories of my great-grandma, she was a great woman – strong and feisty. Family is important to me, appreciating them and spending time with them.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I am excellent with DIY projects. I love gardening and interior decorating. I do most projects myself and on a budget. Painting, wall art and the works – I am a pro with a hammer, saw, paintbrush or staple gun.
What I would love to learn is tilling and installing wooden floors – I am too scared to try with my daughters’ room. I am from a family of strong women; DIY is what we do – from my granny to my mom and now me – I am hoping my daughter will learn as well. It’s nice to be able to do some things yourself.
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I want a piece of land, so I would love to buy a plot and build my dream home for my family., I love interior decorating. It would be good to have a house that suits our needs. . It doesn’t have to be big, just enough space – having a baby requires a lot of space. No one told me when I was pregnant, how much stuff little people have. It just keeps growing. I don’t even know when I bought most of the items.
Saving is a lifestyle for me, so putting away some money for loved ones and my little one’s school is essential, maybe invest in a piece of land for her. I would also fund my small venture – a baby linen company, that I hope to one day give to my daughter. I will encourage her to explore entrepreneurship as well if she wants to. She is an individual and will have her dreams – I will support her. When I was pregnant, I made a promise that I would let her be. She must have a plan though, there is no free ride in life.
There are one or two charities that are dear to me that I would love to fund. There are some small businesses I would love to support as well. The Grip is one, a golf program for young golfers. I know a lot of talented people with great ideas and no capital to start or keep going.
What I would also love to do is create a foundation in honour of my mother and grandmother – they are amazing women. My mother got the highest marks in the country in one sitting for an exam while completing her tertiary studies; she is a brilliant woman. Retired now, a YouTube addict and grandmother. My granny was a seamstress and businesswoman, an exceptionally beautiful soul – but when it comes to business and product quality, she is fierce.
There are so many unsung heroes, the ordinary lady or man, who does extraordinary and is never honoured.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
To be honest, I don’t have one. It depends on the palette – sometimes it’s lentil soup, at times dombolo and boiled chicken or beef stew, at times a hot dog. It just depends on the day. What I can say is that the lockdown has forced me to cook and try out new recipes and even economy meals – takeaways have been reduced to zero in our household, we cook.
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD OF MARKETING? WHAT PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME PUSHED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER? AFTER ALL, WE ALL WANTED TO BE DOCTORS GROWING UP, RIGHT?
I wanted to be an electrical engineer after high school. I got a merit bursary after matric to study at RAU, which became UJ two years into my studies. I didn’t like or enjoy the technical drawing, and I still had to do Maths and Science – which meant I needed to attend all my classes, practice and get a tutor – it was a challenge. I tried marketing in the second semester of my first year, after a long and honest conversation with my mom – I swapped courses and started my creative journey.
My mom worked too hard for me. I had to do something I would excel at. I enjoyed it, and I was passing, really doing well – so I stuck it out. I am creative, so I love it – and marketing also assisted me with socialising/communication/networking. I am a big introvert and prefer being home with family.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I would say a dolphin, they always seem in control, kind and happy. However, after losing my dog a year ago – I would choose to be a dog, and my name would be Milo. I would also be a Maltese poodle – with a great heart, full of love, patient and kind. He was a beautiful soul, and the world is not the same without him – he left a massive void in our lives, he was with us for almost 20 years, a record for dogs of his kind. Still brings tears to my eyes to this day. We miss him.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I am a creative and a piece of me is passionate about entrepreneurship. I own a baby and toddler linen company, Blessed By Jasmine. Founded in honour of my daughter, Jasmine, I love decor and children – so it makes me happy to do it. My grandmother – Antoinette is a seamstress who worked for herself and managed to feed her family with her talent. What always surprised me, which I haven’t gotten right, was how confident she was and how this reserved beautiful woman managed to sell her product – she has always been shy, but she was a fantastic salesperson.
The quality of her craft is outstanding. She works with me, and the time we get to spend together is priceless. I also love colouring books, I have my secret stash that my daughter is not allowed to use – we colour together, but mommy has her’s. I love it, it’s very relaxing.
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I have never been a coffee person; I drink lots of tea. I love it. I even have tea time every day at 17:30 with my family with rusks. I start my day on social media and then get my 20-month old daughter ready for the day. I usually drop her off and have coffee with my mom – then off to work.
I love being in the car by myself. It’s my music, my volume, my rules – just me. I have an awesome playlist to get in the mood for the day. I then spend some time with my team when I get to the office – have coffee with some of them share a few laughs. Then we start the day.
I don’t spend a lot of time in my office. I usually sit in the open plan area. I love being part of the action, and I learn a lot from just listening and participating. We are a small team with a lot of work, so teamwork is critical. I love a creative happy space where I can take my shoes off, switch on some music and have a laugh – it keeps one going and it’s amazing what you can learn from people.
We spend a lot of time with colleagues, so it’s essential to get to know colleagues as human beings – see the person beyond the tasks and deadlines. Meetings, admin, strategy docs, budgeting, research, staff development are also in the mix – I spend a lot of time online. I try not to spend too much time in meetings, I don’t like lengthy telephone calls and long meetings.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
For now, it has been a challenge with the work and home blend. With a team of six, a little toddler (these little people are fast), a small brand, it is challenging.
I have overstretched myself. I also have a small CSI initiative that I run to assist youth, i.e. currently helping with graphic design portfolios. babies grow up very fast and every moment counts – so it’s essential to take small breaks during the day to talk, roll on the floor, play in the garden, dance, read and acknowledge your little one. My little one loves music. She is an incredible DJ – anything from Kenny Rogers, Bebe Winans, Jonathan Butler, Drake, Beyoncé – music always helps lighten the load.
I must say it’s been a blessing being able to work from home and experience my little one’s milestones. You also can’t be too hard on yourself, be good to yourself. Some days you must switch off and some days you have to work into the night. Having a great team is a blessing – working with great people lightens the load and keeps you sane in the moments when you want to give up. Leadership is challenging but does not have to be lonely. For now, balance is a work in progress. I am, however, managing and still going strong.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR BCOM IN MARKETING MANAGEMENT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG (GIRL YOU FANCY!). ACCORDING TO GLASSDOOR, IT HAS BECOME SEEMINGLY EASIER TO APPLY TO WORK FOR COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE, APPLE AND STARBUCKS AS THEY DO NOT REQUIRE APPLICANTS TO HAVE A DEGREE. HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEMSELVES PARTICULARLY IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO OBTAIN A FORMAL EDUCATION?
I don’t have the right answer to that. I have an opinion based on experiences and conversations with individuals over my career and life. It depends on the industry you want to get into and the career path you would like to follow. I believe a combination of both is never a bad idea. Depending on the situation, for some, it may not be necessary or possible to study it, that should not prevent anyone from starting something. A qualification formalises your craft and in some cases teaches you skills that you may need to run a business – how to handle finances, marketing or improving your general operations.
In some industries and countries, a formal qualification is still requested when applying for most traditional jobs, like mine. Whereas for the new age jobs like a social media influencer – you don’t need a qualification to get started. However, a qualification can assist with certain aspects of your career, improving PR, how to do your books etc. Technology has also empowered us to have access to more opportunities.
Some people will say, YouTube can be considered a university, the choice is yours – you need to do what works for you and gets you to your desired career. I do believe the internet makes the world a better place – use it and learn. These days you have a world of information in your pocket – your cell phone is an encyclopedia. I too have to keep myself relevant, I never sleep without reading at least one article online to learn something new.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
In my opinion, it depends on who you are, where you are, the people that you work with/for and your resilience. My track record has been between 3 to 5 years at a company. I create a dynamic environment for myself by keeping busy, keep adding value and making sure I carve my growth – I also love developing people and passionate teams. developing and growing a team is a journey – it takes time.
You will have to invest some time to see results. I believe that you are responsible for creating your career and nurturing it; people are just there to help you along – the fire must come from you. The drive is your responsibility. For some, it’s in different places and spaces and – for some, it is in one place – the recipe must work for you. What is important is peace of mind and a settled spirit. Too many people are in jobs that they hate, and that is not healthy. Find a space that you can make your own and be comfortable – if it’s not someone else’s business, start your own. If you are unhappy, then move.
FOR OUR INTERVIEW WITH YAEL TAMAR FROM SOLIDBLOCK, SHE REMARKED THAT WOMEN ARE MOST LIKELY TO OCCUPY THE CMO ROLE AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. WITH WOMEN CONTROLLING OVER $20 TRILLION IN GLOBAL SPENDING, WHY HAS IT BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO HAVE FEMALE CMOS IN YOUR OPINION?
Diversity in all forms is essential; everyone has a purpose and something special to bring. I don’t necessarily think women should only be CMOs. I do believe if you can control a portion of 20 trillion in spending, you can also become a CEO. A diverse boardroom of empowered individuals adds value to the business, to the customer and future generations. Empowered is the keyword, to add value you need to be empowered, and there needs to be an element of trust. It’s essential to have women in all spheres of business.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO VISUAL CAPITALIST, ZOOM IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN THE 7 BIGGEST AIRLINES IN THE WORLD AT A WHOPPING MARKET CAPITALIZATION OF JUST OVER $40BN. SUFFICE TO SAY, REMOTE WORKING IS AN ASPECT OF MODERN-DAY WORK THAT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE MOST ORGANISATIONS STRUGGLED TO CONVERT TO THIS WAY OF WORK?
I think it’s just the traditional way of doing business and it’s been “working”. So why break something that is working? What we have been forced to do now, is invest in ourselves and for businesses to invest more in their workforce, but paramount to all of this is trust.
Being able to trust that people will do what they are supposed to do, and that physical spaces are just that, rooms – the magic is in the output. Beyond this pandemic, we hope to see a new norm – as it’s being termed and not people reverting to the old way of doing things. Leadership is about being able to adapt and do so agilely. Measuring output, savings, employee and customer sentiment could be a starting point. Then if all is aligned, take the leap.
REMOTE WORK HAS COME WITH ITS OWN SET OF CHALLENGES, PARAMOUNT TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT EMPLOYEES ARE NOW ‘ALWAYS ON’ WITH WORK CARRYING OVER EVEN BEYOND WORKING HOURS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS MANAGE THIS BETTER TO PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES?
It’s been a challenge even for me, and I worry about my team with everyone working longer hours – the challenge is that your work is there, staring at you – and not being able to go anywhere has forced us all to develop this urge to open the laptop and work. Work is good if you enjoy it and set boundaries. But also respecting those boundaries as a leader.
For the most part, weekends and children are off-limits for my team, that’s time to spend with your family or even learn a new skill (having children/a family may not be for everyone). I also believe in parents having the opportunity to be there for their kids – time moves so fast, they grow up so quickly. Team building initiatives are still important; we have had to find remote activities to keep connected. Checking-in with each other is also essential.
One thing I mentioned was getting to know the people you work with. You will notice when something is off. Some fantastic companies also have wellness services for staff i.e. counselling, as we are humans before anything else. What I also encourage is taking advantage of the flexible hours – go to the shops when it’s most convenient for you, take that nap, go for a walk – just make sure your work is done. Spend time with your little one, help kids with school, and remember yourself.
I am also a big fan of self-development – you have invested in a good connectivity product at home – so attend that seminar and learn something new. I believe a combination of the individual, the company and the manager working together, a little bit of humility and some fun can go a long way. You, as an individual, also have the responsibility to be fair to yourself.
MARKETING OBJECTIVES WILL MOST LIKELY CHANGE DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. HOW HAS YOUR ORGANISATION PIVOTED WHERE MARKETING IS CONCERNED, AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE A DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY AMID THE PANDEMIC?
It’s always been important to have a digital marketing strategy, the companies that didn’t have one will now feel the impact a little harder than companies that have invested digitally. Most of our audience lives online, so we have always lived online. There is also digital clutter with all brands moving online now and, in some cases, digital slightly costing more. What I believe is essential right now is service and processes – how easy is it to do business with your organisation, how do you treat your customers and staff – more importantly, do you practice what you preach.
All strategies are important if all things are aligned and you can service and look after your customers properly. Digital is essential, but choose wisely, remember your audience – bread and butter audience and new markets should be catered for, now more than ever, growth is essential. Remember to negotiate costs, now more than ever is a time to work together and collaborate. Find strategic partners that align with your values and purpose.
To sum it up, agility is everything – strategies have to move (it’s like a contemporary dance act – it’s got to be fluid) and you need to keep your ear, eyes and everything you can to the ground. Keep connected with your audience and stay humble – things can change at the click of a button.
BCG PUBLISHED ITS INNOVATION REPORT FOR 2020 AND AT THE CORE OF ITS SELECTION CRITERIA ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MARRIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT MAKES SOMETHING INNOVATIVE? HOW DO YOU DEFINE INNOVATION AT IIE Rosebank College?
Innovation is tough because very few people will see your vision enough to invest in it.
With that being said, we have to innovate and adapt, to survive. At IIE Rosebank College, we are continuously trying to find the right qualification and the best way to deliver it to students. At the same time, maintaining quality to give the graduate the best chance of finding employment or to start their own business. That’s what we do – we change lives as our MD would say. We want to produce graduates that not only find work but can contribute positively to society.
A qualification can empower you to be employed or to employ people – the choice is yours. You must put in the work and sweat to support your qualification. What we also pay close attention to is innovation when it comes to processes and communication – are we accessible, and is it easy to study with us? That’s important because it speaks to making quality education accessible.
The proof is in the pudding, right? With regards to innovation, IIE Rosebank College was one of the first private education brands to pilot blended learning (a combination of face-to-face and online learning) with a digitally enabled campus in Polokwane – offering students a blend of face-to-face communication and online interaction.
This mode of learning is affordable and empowers students with 21st skills such as collaboration and teamwork. We also find that students from our blended learning campus in Polokwane have one of the best pass rates in our brand, proof that choice is important in education. Whether traditional education or new modes of learning such as online, it works best if there is a commitment from both the institution and the student.
We are on a journey, and like all other institutions, we keep moving forward and are trying our best. The secret is, never fail to try.
AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING, THE DIGITAL MARKETING INSTITUTE ESTIMATED THAT THE INFLUENCER MARKETING INDUSTRY WILL HIT THE $10BN MARK BY 2020. WHETHER B2B OR B2C, IT’S EVIDENT THAT BRANDS AND ORGANISATIONS HAVE HAD THEIR SUCCESS WITH THIS MODEL OF MARKETING. HOW WILL THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECT THIS INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD AND DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS STILL A PLACE FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING?
There is still a place for influencer marketing, and it creates jobs – so why not? It is time for marketing to evolve and create new opportunities – there is also a beautiful sense of authenticity about it and like anything in life – it has its pros and cons. What brands can do is look at their business and weigh the pros and cons – what will work for them (at that time) and decide based on that. Sometimes it’s about timing for a brand and finding the right influencer to partner with, which needs an investment of time from both parties. It may not be for all brands; it is a viable option, though.
HOW DO YOU LEVERAGE DATA TO INFORM YOUR DECISION-MAKING?
For us marketers, data is necessary but not everything. In my opinion, you need the data to get buy-in, to justify spend and to kick start your project/campaign. There has to be something that guides your decision making as you are accountable not only to yourself, but a business and various stakeholders – so you need a starting point, and data is your best bet. You also need your gut, experience will teach you that sometimes it feels right, and sometimes it doesn’t. Data can be cold. It requires the human touch – to create relevance and resonate with your audience.
Knowing your audience and some research on the market is also necessary – because sometimes audiences and the world evolve faster than the available data. If we take the pandemic as an example – there is no data available on how to navigate this “challenge” – so if you only rely on the data, when it’s not readily available you can find yourself stuck. A combination of all these can work, and you need to trust yourself and your team.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MARKETING AND SALES ALIGNMENT? HOW DO YOU ALIGN YOUR MARKETING AND SALES TEAM AT IIE Rosebank College?
A big part of my career was spent marketing IT solutions. I loved it. The ICT sector is dynamic and very interesting. I took a chance on education because I love working with youth. In these roles, a lot depends on the chemistry between the Sales and the Marketing team – so alignment is everything.
What I believe creates chemistry and can potentially create magic is communication, mutual respect, knowledge sharing and celebrating each milestone. All this amounts to teamwork – mutual respect is very important as each team has something important to bring to the table. If we respect each other, share knowledge and insight (we see things differently and that’s the point, to learn and find the best way forward based on insight) and celebrate each other – all for the common goal of the business – we are halfway there.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? (WHAT DO YOU READ, AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME INFORMATION? PAPERBACK VS EREADER?)
I love paperbacks, – ebooks are convenient as I can even have them on my phone.
My goal is to read 39 books this year, I am on book number seven, and going for it – I will make it. I love James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, Terry McMillan, Zane, Maya Angelou, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I prefer her Ted Talks) and biographies.
I recently finished Becoming by Michelle Obama. I recently discovered Sarah Jakes Roberts – I love her books, I read: Don’t settle for safe and Lost and Found. I am starting Inyala Vanzant: Yesterday I cried or The Subtle Art of not giving a F*** – this week, not sure which one to start with. I love reading, I love books – a hobby I am teaching my daughter. I used to read to her while I was pregnant and started giving her books at 12 months. At 20 months, she sits on the couch, sings her reading song and reads by herself every day. Reading is magical, an escape.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Queen of the South, Friends from College, Peppa Pig, Fall from Grace, Homeland (not sure yet), Good Girls, Self-Made, Designated Survivor, The client list, Black AF.
AS WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID19 IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU INTRODUCE?
It’s not new, but a wide-tooth smile would do. Life can throw you lemons and it’s not always easy to make lemonade. Sometimes there is no sugar to make lemonade – so you have to roll with the punches. A lovely smile always goes a long way. Failing that, the Jerusalema dance can be the new greeting.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
My stepbrother. I pray he is doing well.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Have a thick skin and take everything with a pinch of salt. Set boundaries, there are things you cannot come back from – so stay true to your values. It’s ok to say “no”. T
he corner office is not worth your soul, so remember your values and your goals. If you do not get it right the first time, keep at it. Don’t sweat the small stuff, mistakes happen – it’s how you bounce back from those mistakes – that makes the difference. Be honest and treat people how you want to be treated.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Most people do not appreciate the truth and are ok taking credit for things they have not achieved. It’s best not to take such things personally, rather focus on achieving your goals. Learn to take calculated risks, and bought my first house a lot earlier.
Everything has its timing, that doesn’t mean you should relax and not keep pushing your dreams. Love hard and know when to let things go. Live in the moment and trust your instincts. It’s going to all workout, you are doing good. Travel more, it’s good for your soul and building friendships.
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
Overextending myself is a big challenge for me. Most times I take on more than I can chew properly and end up not having enough time for myself or my family. I am learning to say “no” a lot more and stand up for myself, even more. People will try to run you over and test your values. Set boundaries and put your foot down.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS (PROFESSIONAL AS WELL AS PERSONAL)?
I want to see my brand grow, with babies everywhere using my bedding sets and hopefully, extend the product lines in a year or two. I also want to publish a children’s book. Visit Disneyland in Orlando, lie on a beach in Jamaica are also up there on the list. I also pray for health and time to bring up my little girl and enjoy her. I also want to age well – healthy and in good shape with a sense of style.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
My mom, grandmother and my daughter. My daughter is amazing, she is the light of my life and she gave me wings – the power to chase my dreams and confidence.