For this segment of Women In Marketing, we had a chat with Lagos native Mariam who is the brand manager for Domino’s Pizza Nigeria. Although she wanted to be a HR practitioner, she fell in love with marketing when she landed her first job at an agency. As we learn to live in a Pandemic era, she explains how organisations can foster a positive work environment in an effort to motive the workforce. Let’s learn more
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, MARIAM. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born in Lagos, Nigeria. My early memories were mostly about my family, our father making sure we had what we needed and occasionally what we wanted to be happy. I particularly loved the fact that my dad made sure that every holiday our mum took us shopping for clothes, and 3 out of 5 days after school we would stop at Mr Biggs and he would get us ice cream and meat pie, and then my playmates while growing up.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
LOL! High school, I think I was perceived as a daddy’s girl, because my father was always up in my business; in University I think the perception was that of a serious person; in all honesty, I wasn’t like most of my peers in Uni, I never went to parties or clubs. It was the fear of not being “Tsunamized” and having at least a Second Class (Upper division) to get good job opportunities in the future that made me so focused on my studies.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I think I would be a Grizzly Bear! LOL, well because they can be solitary, protective, and be social in rare cases.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
Any variation of rice & fried plantain, can’t go a week without it 😋😋
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
Oh my, hmm; first would be to invest and next will be to set up an NGO for a lot of homeless people we have in Nigeria, this is an untapped labour force in the country that can contribute to the growth of our national revenue.
Lastly, I think to visit all the archaeological spots in the world.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, DR. LIEZEL BYGATE SAID THAT SHE IS AN EXPERT HULA-HOOPER!
Oh yes! I have a very creative imagination & I am a good storyteller. I can create horrid and funny stories from any scenario. Plus I love cartoons, I can watch it all day, that’s what feeds my imagination.
I love music and dance! I love every kind of dance in the world, I love singing even though I don’t get to do them as I used to, but it is a very big part of me.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
I stumbled into the advertising and marketing world. I was focused on getting certified as Human Resource personnel but I got my first job at an Ad agency.
After my 2nd year in advertising, I realised I loved the strategy & planning part of the industry; I decided to give it a go because at the time I desperately wanted to move to Human Resources, then I was transferred to the digital marketing unit of my company then, I was exposed to another side of marketing that was so beautiful and full of so many opportunities it reinforced my decision to stay on in marketing.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I am both #teamtea & #teamcoffee😚 , but I favour #teamtea, coffee is for days with “I must meet my deadline”
HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
To be honest this has been difficult, I recently cracked that formula; when I am at work, I am at work, and when I am at home, I am at home. I have learnt that this is also based on time-management; I consciously push everything personal out of my working hours, and when working hours are up, I don’t check up on the job. Though there are few exceptions where I have to burn the midnight oil for some peculiar situations.
SABRA MWAURA WAS A FEATURE FOR OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES. SHE MADE A FEW GOOD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP FOR WOMEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MENTORSHIP?
I believe this is important as a guide, every woman is unique in her different way. Most of the marketing industries are male-dominated and women are now just being recognised for their achievements and inputs into the marketing sector.
A female mentor would be helpful especially for a lady that aspires to have a successful career in marketing (which takes a lot of energy and focus), some women wouldn’t know where to start or manage some situations; others want to be both a career woman and be a mom/wife.
Some women have been able to achieve both feats and their experiences can be useful to guide ladies who want to get to the top you know.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
As taught by my former Marketing Director, “just do it”. If you are given a task and it’s something you can do immediately, just do it. It prevents procrastination and a pile-up of your tasks.
Another thing I do is to read all sent emails from the previous day before, in case there is something I missed out in my to-do list that hasn’t been closed or I missed out.
Then something I can never do without is my BOOK. Every day has a to-do list and uncompleted ones from the day before, this has the task to be done, who is responsible and when it should be done.
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?
This is a very interesting topic between me and some of my colleagues.
I believe it is necessary for growth. Most times, there are certain scenarios where your current place of work cannot offer you more than what you are getting at that particular point; it could be challenging (if you are a challenge junkie like me) to help you grow personally and increase your experience depository, or money (like 99.9% of people go for this), or it could be that the particular industry is going underwater and very few companies can weather the storm
Most people I know “hop” every year, and I don’t believe it is healthy for your career because you will hardly gain anything about that industry or its consumers within that short time frame.
FOR IT’S 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL CMO’S REPORT, FORBES LISTED 31 WOMEN OUT OF 50 CANDIDATES (19 MEN). IT APPEARS THAT MORE WOMEN OCCUPY CMO ROLES COMPARED TO OTHER C-SUITE ROLES. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE?
I want to believe the best candidate for the job when being searched happens to be women. It could be there is a higher number of women now in marketing and these women showed they have what it takes to fill that role.
REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN MARKETING, PARTICULARLY, IN SENIOR ROLES IS ON THE UP. IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN STILL FACE DESPITE THESE CHANGES AND HOW BEST SHOULD THESE BE ADDRESSED?
I think women don’t get the support & resources that most men would get especially in the same position, it is a struggle most women still face and if they speak up they are perceived as weak or incapable of doing the job or just plain inconsiderate, but the response to a male is opposite and I think it is not healthy. If they are following protocols and doing the right thing are called “harsh”.
A woman would have to make extra efforts to achieve her results, especially women who have families to cater to, and they are trying to balance that part of their life and at the same time meet up with work KPIs.
In most cases, remuneration is not standardized; this can also be a challenge for women.
How can this be addressed?
- Standardized remuneration for the same job titles and functions
- HR should make sure that equality should be applied in terms of workload and not just be applied to the paper
- An objective review of job performances, with a clear, objective and transparent rating system should be done and remuneration should be based on the results of these assessments
ONE OF THE LEARNING CURVES FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, IS THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES TO FACILITATE REMOTE WORK. FOR TECH PLAYERS IN SILICON VALLEY THE TRANSITION WAS RELATIVELY SMOOTH WITH THE LIKES OF FACEBOOK AND TWITTER DESIGNING A FUTURE WHERE THEIR STAFF MAY POTENTIALLY WORK REMOTELY FOREVER. THE ARGUMENT THOUGH, IS THAT THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE COMPANIES TAKEN SO LONG TO IMPLEMENT REMOTE WORK OPPORTUNITIES?
I don’t think companies saw a need for it like they say “necessity is the mother of inventions”.
Also, communication is key in the effective workflow, in a country like Nigeria with unstable power supply and erratic internet connectivity this can hinder the workflow. Having people under one roof with stable power and internet supply solves that issue.
WORKING FROM HOME IS AWESOME! MOST OF US CAN AGREE. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT WITHOUT IT’S SET OF CHALLENGES. EMPLOYEE WELLNESS HAS TAKEN A SIGNIFICANT STRAIN WITH PEOPLE WORKING LONGER HOURS AS A RESULT OF EMPLOYEES BEING ‘ALWAYS ON’ AND NOT BEING ABLE TO SWITCH OFF. HOW CAN EMPLOYERS GUARD AGAINST EMPLOYEE BURNOUT OR IN THE WORST EVENT, LOSING THEIR BEST TALENT?
Some industries are not affected by this though, where processes and activities to ensure customer satisfaction involves a 24 hours rotation of different tasks; however, for those who can, I believe they should just stick within the work hours
I have friends that go to their offices (on a rotary schedule), still have Zoom/Teams meetings from 7 pm! Companies should just invest in workers’ engagement and emotional growth as well.
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?
A product or service should be called innovative based on its functionality; its ability to solve a problem that no other product or service has been able to do before. At Domino’s Pizza Nigeria, we like to think of a product or service as innovative when it helps solve a problem our customers are facing.
Take for instance Domino’s Pizza Nigeria Smallie, a 6” pizza that EVERYONE can enjoy, before its launch the perception is that Pizza (esp Domino’s Pizza) is expensive and only made for the “rich man”. The launch of this pizza changed this narration, but also exposed the D class audience to Pizza.
HEMAL THAKKAR, BRAND MANAGER FOR BURGER KING INDIA IS A RECENT WOMEN IN MARKETING FEATURE. ONE OF THE KEY AREAS SHE IDENTIFIED FOR CONTINUED GROWTH IS THAT OF INFLUENCER MARKETING. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF MARKETING LOOK LIKE ACCORDING TO YOU?
There would be some parts of marketing that would be extinct, and this would be based on the consumer market need for certain channels. For instance what if the world didn’t need radios any more or radios evolved then the application of radio in your marketing strategies would stop or change.
One thing I do believe that will be constant is storytelling! It is the one thing that makes a consumer engage with a brand, be it word of mouth or via a text. It also makes the customer see brand relevance in their everyday activities.
2020 AND BEYOND
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Don’t stop believing in yourself, keep doing the right thing.
It will be tough and the path might not be rosy as you imagined, but you have the power to achieve anything you set your mind to, never stop believing.
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE?
Getting time to apply and fund a suitable Masters degree. It took me 6 years before I decided I wanted to get my 2nd degree in marketing.
It would be just easy to go back to my alma mater, but I needed institutions with courses that would be relevant in my current place of work.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
- Learn how to shoot a gun
- Visit historical places in the Quran and Bible
- Meet Queen Elizabeth one day
- Learn Hieroglyphics
- Be a CMO
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
My mum & I love historical sheroes
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
‘Eat The Frog’ by Brian Tracy. I find myself being pulled to motivational and strategic books now. I don’t think I can stop paperbacks😊😊😊😊😊😊
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
This is a very interesting question 😅. First of all, I would love to say I hope to come back as a black woman, I am in love with melanin! As per career interest probably an archaeologist or a philosopher.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
On repeat- NEW GIRL & BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
I dabble with Queen’s Gambit, The Bureau Of Magical Things, GLOW, The Secrets Of Saqqara Tomb, and Story of God , and The Crown
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
My classmates at the University
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
Ifeoluwa Oluwole: She was my supervisor when I was in the digital agency turned friend. Such a brilliant beautiful soul and has a strength that you wouldn’t know she wields unless you get close to her
Opeyemi Lawal: Worked in Etisalat when I first met her, she was our client then and I was and still in awe of her brain😁 She has a knack for numbers and very analytical
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
It is very tough to make your mark in the industry, but I believe if you follow the right path and are committed to getting the best results you will be just fine.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME MARIAM. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?