Never stop pushing your creative boundaries and testing new concepts. Learn to take breaks and time for yourself – it’s easy to burn out.Nomagugu Mngomeni
Nomagugu was born and raised in the City of Gold, Johannesburg. Even though she is a Digital & Social Media Specialist for Momentum, believe it or not, Nomagugu wanted to be a bomb specialist. How’s that for explosive. Ok moving on. Let’s learn more about her on this segment of Women In Marketing
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
Born and bred in Johannesburg in 1991. My fondest memories growing up though were going home to visit my gran in the rural Eastern Cape. The contrast to what I was used to in Joburg always amazed me. That and being allowed to feed my gran’s chickens – it’s not the same as a petting zoo.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I can sing. I have done backing vocals for my son’s aunt at her live performances; as well as for my cousin when he’s done performances at events. It’s strange though doing backing vocals with such intense stage fright – I’m usually given a shot of tequila to calm the nerves.
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I’d sort out my mom’s house, her debts and mine and whatever’s left needs to be invested in whatever Patrice Motsepe invested in – that money needs to grow!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU ABSOLUTELY WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Gnocchi Formaggio e Pancetta from Pronto. It’s such a goodie and one of those #TreatYourself meals – if you’re into pasta.
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 wish I wanted to be a doctor!
I actually wanted to be a Bomb/Explosives specialist. When my mother realised what that actually meant and that I wasn’t changing my mind as I grew older she said there’s no way she’d let me get into such a dangerous career. I then figured because I’d always loved reading and writing, I’d do what I thought was the next best thing and become an investigative journalist – I wanted to be on the front lines of protest, getting smuggled into warzones etc.
I got convinced that there was no money in journalism and eventually settled for going into anything that would give me the freedom to research to my heart’s content and write [almost] what I like. That’s how I ended up as a content developer at a digital communications agency and I fell in love with it.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
It’s a toss-up between a housecat and a wolf. I’ve always had a strange fascination with wolves and the symbolism linked to them.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I’m terrified of presenting to crowds of people. However, back in high school for oral exams and public speaking meets with other schools – I countered this by choosing a serious topic and taking a very stern and almost aggressive tone to hide the anxiety. Turns out it also helped in making my presentations impactful.
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’m actually #TeamJuice.
Only a fan of tea in the winter and anything with caffeine triggers migraines and makes me sleepy. Juice and a good breakfast, check-in on both work and personal social platforms for anything that might need flagging and then I go through the previous day’s to-do list to see if anything was missed. I then check my emails for an idea of what’s on today’s list.
Then I pick my pen for the day – I love stationery and probably have enough pens to use a different one every day of the year.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
It’s been difficult because I tend to still want to work when I get home and as a result, I’ve experienced burnout several times. I usually make sure I have family-related things to do when I get home or remind myself that the work is running away. My son and partner also play an important role in helping to strike the balance – I can’t work and sing along to animation movies.
WHAT APPS/SOFTWARE/TOOLS CAN YOU NOT GO A DAY WITHOUT UTILISING?
Google Chrome; WhatsApp; Twitter; Facebook; Instagram; Tumblr; Microsoft Office; LinkedIn and all the online shopping apps on my phone [hides]
HOW BEST WOULD YOU DEFINE GREAT LEADERSHIP?
When you are able to look beyond yourself and your ego; are solutions-based in the face of problems; are able to truly empathise/sympathise with those you are leading, and are able to listen to the ideas/opinions and concerns of others and take them into consideration are just a few qualities that highlight good leadership for me.
YOU HAVE ACCUMULATED AN ENVIOUS AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE HAVING WORKED FOR TOP-TIER COMPANIES SUCH AS TFG, Flow Communications as well as SEDA. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THESE ROLES? HOW ARE YOU APPLYING THESE EXPERIENCES IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AT Momentum Metropolitan?
I’ve learnt that when you’re in a creative role – as much as we tend to work off briefs it’s always best to also be proactive and have a collection of ideas for digital marketing campaigns. Every briefing meeting is an opportunity to remind people why you were hired and show that your mind thinks beyond what’s placed in front of you.
I’ve also had to better my project management skills as I’ve worked in environments where I’m a one-woman team and need to be a strategist; a PM; a community manager as well as provide the analytics and reporting. My role now is not as intense in terms of social media management as previous ones but having worked in a similar role across various industries means I come with a different perspective to what may be an issue that my current team has a one-sided view to.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR BA IN Corporate Communication 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 think more and more companies are coming to realise that a lot of what’s being taught in tertiary institutions is outdated info and theories being taught by people who probably haven’t taken the time to try and relate old theories to new world operations.
However one also needs to be open to learning new things, keeping up with the current world in line with what they want to do, and this can be done by the various online short courses that various sites and universities offer. UCT’s GetSmarter; Udemy’s courses, and Shaw Academy are just a few online organisations that women can look into in order to upskill themselves.
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?
It can help your career if you’re staying at companies long enough to make a huge and memorable impact in the work you do; as well as gain skills that will make you a superstar at your next job. If you’re job-hopping solely for a better salary and it has nothing to do with a desire to work at the next company and shine in your role, then you’ll find yourself having to answer difficult questions when recruiters and new employers ask why all the moving around. You also become less trustworthy.
Furthermore, one shouldn’t stay in a toxic work environment where they are undervalued and underpaid – it’s not healthy and breaks your spirit.
FORBES HAS AN ANNUAL ‘THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL CMOS’ REPORT. FOR THE YEAR 2019, ONE OF THE KEY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REPORT WERE THAT 31 OF THE 50 CMOS LISTED WERE WOMEN. IN YOUR OPINION, IS THIS A POSITIVE REPRESENTATION OF GENDER EQUALITY?
I do think it is a positive representation of gender equality. The women to men split a few years ago was probably eyebrow-raising. I know when it comes to gender equality and representation in top positions, we haven’t reached the goal, but this is progress in the right direction.
COVID19 HAS BROUGHT WITH IT AN UNPRECEDENTED DISRUPTION TO THE WORLD. SEVERAL COMPANIES ARE NEARING BANKRUPTCY WHILE OTHERS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO SHUTDOWN OR LAY OFF THEIR STAFF. WHAT SHOULD THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION BE ESPECIALLY IN THE MARKETING CONTEXT AS WE ADAPT IN THIS ENVIRONMENT? HOW HAVE YOU AND YOUR DEPARTMENT COUNTERED THE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC?
The retrenchments as a result of the effects of COVID-19 are heartbreaking to see and I know as a country we reached a point where no industry and no role felt safe. Job security looked a lot further than what it usually does. For those in the marketing industry [in-house and agency] the fear was probably greater as we’ve already suffered the wrath of cut marketing budgets in the past. Those in roles that were soon to be redundant as a result of the much talked of 4IR also felt the pain of COVID and its impact.
Some have speculated though whether some companies who chose to retrench off the bat instead of finding long term solutions that wouldn’t hurt the company but also wouldn’t add to our current unemployment rate, weren’t using COVID impacts as a disguise to retrench staff anyway.
Our department has been working from home since we first went into lockdown and are working tirelessly to ensure we still host events [virtually] and don’t come across as though the pandemic has us sitting with our hands tied. We will be working from home for the foreseeable future.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO THE INFOGRAPHIC CREATED BY 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?
They’ve been stuck with the need to see bums in seats and somehow for them, this translates to proof that a person is working. A person’s physical presence at work does not guarantee that their mind is on the tasks that have been provided. I think also because it’s hard to prove when people are actually online and working vs streaming all day.
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?
Set strict parameters and working hours that people get penalised or incentivised for following. Encourage employees to take their leave and sick leave when they’re not feeling well. Promote spending family time and turn it into a whole campaign.
MORE PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO THE INTERNET THAN EVER BEFORE. HOWEVER, THE DIGITAL DIVIDE STILL EXISTS, PARTICULARLY IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES. IN YOUR OPINION, WILL REMOTE WORKING PROMOTE FOR A MORE CONNECTED SOCIETY AND AS SUCH AN INCREASE IN AFFORDABLE DATA PLANS AS WELL AS COVERAGE?
Remote working, especially under these current conditions, can definitely push for a more connected society and several data service providers and ISPs have already dropped their prices and/or added more affordable data packages making internet access more readily available.
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?
We have a digital and social media strategy from the previous year, however, we recently looked at it and put a whole COVID-19 lens on it especially when it came to campaigns we were not able to carry out this year. We’re revising our strategy for the current financial year and ensuring it’s in line with what the Group’s main messaging is as well as with what other teams are doing [internal comms, retail brands, external marketing, PR etc.] to ensure there’s still alignment.
Not having a strategy especially during periods such as these leaves you being very reactive in the comms that go out and that also leaves gaps for mistakes that will result in even bigger crises.
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 Momentum Metropolitan?
Finding new cost-effective methods of performing our current tasks and service offerings, in a way that’s more efficient, will increase productivity and have positive results.
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?
Influencer marketing is a tricky space. Online audiences have woken up to the fact that sometimes it’s just about securing the bag for influencers and they don’t necessarily believe in or regularly use the products that they’re posting on their channels. We’ve grown to prefer hearing about products/services from people that we feel are more relatable to us – some brands are getting it right, others not so much.
There may still be a place for it going forward but the model needs to be revised.
HOW DO YOU LEVERAGE DATA TO INFORM YOUR DECISION-MAKING?
Post campaign analytics and analysing similar competitor campaigns or past ones to inform upcoming campaigns and online comms. I love doing research – for any topic really even if it’s not work-related – so I’m constantly searching for information and ideas to improve general content and campaign-specific content.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SOME OF THE MAJOR TRENDS IN DIGITAL IN THE NEXT 12 TO 18 MONTHS?
Influencer marketing 2.0 – the model needs to be revised if it’s still going to be something brands use.
Migration of traditional content from TV onto digital platforms [growth of digital TV]
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? (WHAT DO YOU READ, AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME INFORMATION? PAPERBACK VS EREADER?)
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Ratched, The Old Guard (definitely worth watching again), slowly getting through The Witcher, Dark Tourist, and I need to actually finish watching Catching Feelings – something always disturbs me.
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?
Throw up a peace sign, give a head nod and a “wassup”, maybe even the foot tap.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
My dad – we have had a weird relationship since I grew up away from him (my parents separated when I was young) so we only kind of touch base every 6 months or so.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Don’t ever let ANYONE kill/drown/dampen or extinguish your creative spirit and passion to create. The industry is a crazy maze to navigate – whether you’re client-side or agency-side – build your tribe of support within the industry to keep you sane. Never stop pushing your creative boundaries and testing new concepts. Learn to take breaks and time for yourself – it’s easy to burn out.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
To breathe and deal with my anxiety early. To stop stressing because it could be fatal, to force my mom into yoga or meditation because her stress nearly killed her, and to stop trying to grow up and tackle adult issues so fast.
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?
I think professionally I’m feeling slightly uninspired which is freaking me out a bit because I do feel like I should be a well of ideas and concepts. Personally, I’m just trying to get through being the various versions of me (Gugu, mother, daughter, partner and friend) as best as I can.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR AWESOME WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO INTERVIEW IN FUTURE?
Katleho Bontle Motingoe
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS (PROFESSIONAL AS WELL AS PERSONAL)?
Travel to Greece (I’d have to get over my fear of heights and flying before I can do this though);
Get a qualification in Graphic Design or in Market Research and Consumer Insights.