Matuli is the Marketing & Communications Manager at hotel group, IHG. She attributes her success as a marketer to the various cultures she has been exposed to in India. Also, be on the lookout. She’ll be writing her 2nd book this year! We hope to get a signed copy. Let’s dive into this segment of Women In Marketing
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, MATULI. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born in Odisha, a beautiful Eastern state in India – famous for its arts, culture, stunning beaches and wildlife. I have been fortunate to explore my home country because of my work. I have explored cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Jaipur, Kerala and more. It’s been a treat to understand different cultures and craft compelling communication and marketing campaigns across. My country is diverse!
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
A complete bookworm, a compelling public speaker, a creative writer and a fantastic story-teller. Add to that, a love for dance and painting.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Oooh! That’s interesting. Horses, I love horses! Else, a majestic Lioness.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
I am never sharing my favourite masala ‘chai’ / tea; wood-fired, thin-crust pizzas, yummylicious biriyani and of course, cheesecake. They are off-limits to everyone.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I’d be grateful for it, immensely. I’d apportion it for future wealth creation and giving back to some social causes, dear to my heart. Travel a bit more.
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!
I am a compelling actress and a good home-chef and a selfie expert !!
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
Communication has always been my forte. When I pursued my Masters in Business Administration, I knew I had hit the sweet spot when I simply loved my first marketing class. It was fun, interesting and combined the cliched science and arts – consumer psychology and communications. As the course progressed, I realised I had a natural ability to craft good marketing content and it has been a lasting love affair since then.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
#TeamTea always. Bold and beautiful. Though I occasionally love a good coffee, I drink it when I am actually chilling out! My day consists of planning a day ahead – it is a habit that I intend to practice more in 2021.
Meditation and expressing gratitude is a must every day. I usually keep writing and content creating for the first hours when my mind is fresh. Afternoons and for meetings and calls. A quick check with the team during the day and we are set.
HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
It is best to rephrase it as work-life integration. Some days, work takes over. Some days, life takes over.
However, over the years, I have learnt some tough lessons. I strongly advocate this for all corporate leaders, especially women – learn to delegate and be okay with intentionally switching off from work. This helps in combating decision making fatigue and will make you sharper at work overtime.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR MBA IN MARKETING FROM THE ALLIANCE BUSINESS ACADEMY. YESSS GIRL! ACCORDING TO CNBC, RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY GLASSDOOR FOUND THAT COMPANIES LIKE APPLE, GOOGLE AND IBM (AMONGST OTHERS) OFFER WORK-FROM-HOME JOBS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE ANY FORMAL EDUCATION. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEIR CAREERS PARTICULARLY IF THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO AFFORD A FORMAL EDUCATION?
We have the world’s best search assistant on our fingertips – Google.
Today, we have the voice, power and opportunity of technology and knowledge to utilise and make our mark. For all those rockstars reading this, I’d say – find your area of interest – something that you really enjoy doing. Find better ways of doing it. Share your thoughts. Take an online class. Connect with likeminded people.
Opportunities exist and fructify when you take the first step. Online education is available at nominal charges – so one can become a lifelong student. Be your own strongest advocate. Believe in yourself.
A word of caution: Listen to your intuition. Always.
YOU HAVE A GREAT RESUME. YOU’VE WORKED FOR COMPANIES SUCH AS THE LEELA PALACES HOTELS & RESORTS, GREY GROUP AS WELL AS HYATT HOTELS CORPORATION. HOW IMPORTANT HAS LINKEDIN BEEN FOR YOU AND WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN LOOKING TO ESTABLISH THEIR PROFESSIONAL BRAND FOR NETWORKING PURPOSES?
LinkedIn is a great place to connect with professionals and like-minded peers and mentors. My advice for young women professionals as they step up their game is simple – Be authentic and credible. Keep looking out for opportunities to share your skills, upgrade your knowledge. Always, always draw up a career map with life milestones added to it. It will keep you grounded and focussed.
Career is a lifelong commitment, so make sure you are ready to do so. Be your own champion.
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?
Mentorship is absolutely essential.
We all need advice and direction from time to time. Especially as women, the challenges we encounter aren’t always linear. Mentorship is like best likened to that multivitamin capsule that you’d take every day to supplement your diet and exercise. The effect isn’t visible immediately, but over time, you feel strong and confident and energetic.
Mentorship can be either attending a workshop, having a career conversation, sharing ideas or meeting like-minded women leaders over a cup of coffee. The idea is to pass on life lessons and experiences to make corporate success more accessible to women. Globally.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Let me be a good mentor and share this right away 🙂
Plan in advance – about 60% of work can be streamlined when planned in advance. Keep a record of errors and mishaps. It will help to prevent it next time.
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 depends on the person actually and the circumstances they are in. Some thrive with strong roots. Some fly with strong wings. Sometimes career opportunities can come through at unexpected moments.
However, the baseline advice is – if you find yourself short-changed or getting into stagnation at your workplace, consider alternatives. As they say ‘Growth and comfort don’t go together’.
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?
Women are intuitively mind readers – they understand the nuances of consumer psychology very well. This is a must-have when it comes to the world of marketing – where women thrive. Instinctively and intuitively.
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?
The top three challenges for women globally as they grow into senior roles are:
- How will you manage a career and family?
- Can you be aggressive and competitive enough?
- Can you be a tough leader – how good are your leadership skills?
The only way to address these questions is to have more women choose, groom and become the leaders that they admire. When there is more representation of women, naturally, after a point – these questions will cease to be asked and make way for more relevant questions.
As I said earlier, the challenges women face aren’t linear. Women need to champion themselves more often, be prepared to take on leadership roles and learn as they lead. No one ever has it all figured out – however as they say – experience is the best teacher.
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?
2020 was such a game-changer!
Remote work is commendable and possible for sure. However, for certain industries where the dependency and necessity for human interaction are more; remote working may not be always practical. Say you are keen to have your hair done up. You can’t do it remotely! You’d like to be able to visit a salon and have your hairstylist do it.
However, I am glad that 2020 provided an opportunity for many industries to consider the implementation of work from home and how they can actually use technology to their advantage. It remains to be seen, how many of them make good use of the lessons learnt in 2020.
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?
For many, working from home wasn’t an easy transition.
The best way to ensure that employee productivity is high is to maintain a consistent log off time for employees. That helps them switch off and disconnect and recharge their minds for another productive day.
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?
Innovation is when a product, service saves you time or enhances your experience or allows you to maximise your resources. This means looking ahead of the curve and trend-spotting.
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?
Influencer marketing has changed.
2020 grounded us all. 2021 will see a new breed of consumers who will continue to look for the best value, given the economic constraints and slow recovery of the business. So the earlier predictability of influencer marketing is now gone. Brands will need to combine value and visibility to connect with their audience.
2020 AND BEYOND
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Believe in yourself unconditionally.
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?
Incorporating fitness into my lifestyle is a challenge that I am working on right now. Professionally, I am looking at global growth.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Seeing a beautiful sunrise atop Mt. Kilimanjaro is on my bucket list.
Write my second book this year.
Launching my own talk show, podcast and getting myself a meaty acting and writing project!
Mentoring at least 100 young women professionals this year to ace their career goals.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
Every woman who has paved the way for other women to grow – I salute her.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
‘Ask for More’ – Alexandra Carter. I have a huge collection of books, though from 2020 – I have become more of an e-reader.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
Not next life. This life, I intend to ace my skills and talents and diversify into coaching, mentoring, acting, writing and speaking. Create a global impact and create women leaders.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
I absolutely love good content! I had a good fill of Netflix in 2020. This year, I am waiting for some thrillers, fantasy and romcoms.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
Some of my closest friends. I pray for their well-being every day.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
I’d name two ladies – Laxmi Todiwan, founder of Indian Women in Hospitality
and Alexandra Carter, Author , Ask For More
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Marketing is making your audience a part of their life. Not just their lifestyle.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME MATULI. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
I love to mentor and share my knowledge with marketing enthusiasts.
You can follow me on these links, my e-book is here too.