Jessica is a Social Media Manager at BountiXP. The KZN born creative speaks about boundaries and why these are important in setting up a work-life balance. Definitely important as we learn to normalise working from home. 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?
I grew up in a small town in Kwa-Zulu Natal called Estcourt. Some of my fondest memories are riding my bicycle to school and back with the beautiful Drakensberg mountains in view. I enjoyed the small-town life as it meant lots of big gatherings and town events so I am so grateful I got to experience that.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I guess my hidden talent would be that I am a part-time dancer. Although, I do believe that with enough hard work and dedication anyone can dance. Dance is so good for the soul. I recommend everyone to give it a go. With such a variety of styles available, people can explore a style that best suits them.
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
All I know is that I would not blow the money but rather invest it wisely (except for maybe a new handbag ;)). I would also like to contribute to the upliftment of communities who need it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Funny enough I am obsessed with hotdogs! I love them, and cannot get enough of them. I can eat about five in one go. Just put a plate of hotdogs in front of me, slap on some tomato sauce and mustard, and I’m as happy as a clam in butter sauce!
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 love marketing because it allows me to be both creative and analytical. I can use my creative flair and see my ideas come to life but also be result driven and see the impact of these ideas coming to life. But most importantly, I love marketing because I know I can educate and give information to consumers or businesses that will enrich their lives, and potentially provide them with a product or service they may not have known they needed.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
To be honest I have three cats and I envy their lives, lol. To eat, sleep and cuddle all day, on your terms of course – who wouldn’t want to live a life like that?
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I am not sure how interesting this is, but I am obsessed with the colour pink. I breathe, sleep and wear the colour daily. To the point that if I do not wear pink to work, sometimes people ask if I am okay. My closet looks like it belongs to a unicorn.
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!
Unfortunately, caffeine turns me into a manic, sweaty monster so I start my day with a cup of tea. I love my rooibos but also a variety of herbal teas. I also do enjoy a decaf cappuccino.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I think for me, setting clear boundaries for myself has been important. It has been a journey but I think it comes down to listening to your body and what it needs. Sometimes it can feel like defeat if you don’t keep pushing on but in reality, taking a little break or packing up and starting again tomorrow is more beneficial for your wellbeing and your work. It also helps if you work for a company that promotes a healthy work-life balance and it is instilled in the company culture.
I am very blessed to have this with bountiXP. When a company cares about your wellness and needs beyond the workplace, it makes the world of difference and creates a more harmonious workspace in general.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR BACHELORS IN MEDIA STUDIES AND LINGUISTICS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN (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?
One of the most exciting things about the internet is access to affordable or even complimentary online courses. This allows young women to upskill themselves in a variety of areas and to test the waters in different fields. The possibilities have almost become endless. For example, I am busy doing an online course in feline behavioural therapy, something I had no idea even existed.
There is a wealth of information out there and in this day in age, we are afforded the greatest gift of choice.
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?
I think the stigma around job hopping is dying down, especially now that there are so many different ways to work and opportunities to explore. I am also a firm believer that if something is hurting you emotionally or physically it is not worth it and time to move on.
I think it is very important to find a work environment that is a good personal fit where one can flourish. Everyone is different and I believe we owe it to ourselves to find a job that is a good personal fit both culture and work-wise.
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?
I believe that women bring a special kind of magic to the marketing world. The feminine touch goes a long way in reaching people in a way that is soft and authentic. I have had the privilege to work under women leadership throughout my career thus far. I feel like through this, I have grown so much in my career in a nurturing and safe environment.
They have provided me with the wings to fly, fall, get up and try again. To have a safe space like that is truly priceless.
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?
Traditionally, I think people have been under the impression that to connect and collaborate with employees and colleagues, it needs to be in person, typically around the boardroom table.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven us otherwise, and with the technology we have available, it has become increasingly accessible to connect and work in the same way without the face-to-face interaction. Company culture and employee engagement is not a physical thing, it is a feeling that runs through the organisation, no matter where employees are working from.
When people feel valued, recognised and engaged in their work, they are likely to give of their best, no matter where they are working from.
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?
I think during these very unusual and unexpected times, communication and feedback are paramount. Sending out regular pulse surveys to check in on how employees are coping in this new environment can bring in a wealth of information that leadership can use to make decisions for the betterment of employee wellness and engagement.
STORYTELLING SEEMS TO BE THE NEXT RISING BUZZWORD. WHAT’S THE bountiXP STORY? HOW ARE YOU TELLING IT IN AN INTERESTING WAY?
bountiXP’s story has got to be one of my favourites. We recognised that there was a global employee engagement crisis, and we wanted to play our part in solving this crisis, in an effective, accessible way. Our love for tech and belief that everyone deserves to feel engaged, valued and recognised at work resulted in a plug-n-play employee recognition and engagement platform allowing people to feel connected, valued and united at work. The platform is cloud-based, meaning that employees and colleagues can stay connected and united even while remote working.
We take a very educational stance on how we tell our story. We look at the science behind employee engagement and the positive impact it has on employees and the organisation as a whole. We also practise what we preach. We use our product in house and have ensured that we instil a culture and values that align with our product’s message and purpose.
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 bountiXP?
I believe true innovation is doing or creating something in a way that is unique in solving a problem but is also accessible and adaptable. I think bountiXP has achieved this with our software being cloud-based microservices. We also use innovative frameworks such as React, Node.js and serverless technology, which allows us to be agile and produce best in class product features.
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?
I think that influencer marketing is an elevated version of word of mouth. People will always trust authentic, reliable people who are thought-leaders or experts in their respective fields. People want to hear and trust what influencers have to say. I think the influencer market will continue to grow and thrive but that businesses need to utilise genuine influencers that will add value to both the company and consumers or businesses that use their products or services.
HOW DO YOU LEVERAGE DATA TO INFORM YOUR DECISION-MAKING?
We love data! When it comes to data, based on whatever we’re measuring or tracking, marketing will take the insights and use it to tweak campaigns and inform sales of progress. We watch activity and engagement levels closely on potential customers and inform sales outside of normal meetings when there’s a hot lead – so that they can act faster which aids conversion.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MARKETING AND SALES ALIGNMENT? HOW DO YOU ALIGN YOUR MARKETING AND SALES TEAM AT bountiXP?
We need to work hand in hand and inclusively. We work from the sales targets and then marketing strategises how to achieve that and which markets to use etc. We need to meet regularly, to see the synergy of how marketing can support sales in making their targets. We use HubSpot (both sales and marketing teams) to create, manage and track everything.
The key ingredients are lots of communication, clear metrics, good strategy, monitoring and evaluation and acting – instantly.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
Currently, I am reading ‘Women who run with the wolves’. I highly recommend it! When it comes to reading books, I tend to opt for the paperback. It just feels right to me.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
I am dying to watch ‘My Octopus Teacher’ so that is next on the list. And proudly South African of course!
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?
I think a cute little dance greeting with a safe social distance would be pretty neat. And it would break the ice right away.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
I once shared a hospital room with a very sweet and wise old lady. We haven’t stayed in touch but I hope she knows that she made an impact on my life and that she is doing okay.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
The marketing industry is a broad one, so never stop seeking what sets your soul on fire.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
I would tell myself that, as cliche, as it sounds, everything will work out the way it is meant to. I believe I have spent too much time worrying about the future instead of enjoying the present. I actively work on this now.
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?
To be honest, I don’t adapt very well to change, big or small. I think it may be genetic because my grandmother was the same. So at the moment, my biggest personal challenge is to embrace change and the opportunities it presents.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AWESOME WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO INTERVIEW IN FUTURE?
Alysha Buckle, Digital Marketing Specialist at Achievement Awards Group
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
My number one bucket list item is to travel to Iceland to see the Northern Lights. It has been a dream for years and I think it’s time it becomes a reality.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
I am blessed to have a lot of female heroes. My mom, grandmother and my two older sisters who have guided me, supported me and loved me unconditionally through everything. My mentors at work are also female heroes in my eyes because they help me grow every day. Women rock!
HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Here are our platforms below: