Rumbie is the Chief Marketing Officer for Edgars Zimbabwe. Interesting fact, she is the very first Zimbabwean candidate to feature on Women In Marketing. Whilst the rest of the world has been able to work from home with fair ease, Rumbie shares why the COVID-19 pandemic further highlights the digital divide that still exists in Africa. Let’s learn more
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born in a small mining town called Zvishavane in Zimbabwe a couple of decades ago. I have so many memories of growing up, my fondest ones being about how safe things were back then. We’d sleep with doors unlocked and clothes on the washing lines. We also knew almost everyone in town, and the highlight of the day for me was when all the neighbourhood kids would come to one place and play the entire afternoon. Life was so much simpler then.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
😃 I plait and braid hair – professionally – most people do not know this. I used to sustain myself in varsity through plaiting.
I also sing – well, I used to be a recording artist actually – I might still shock a few people and drop an album in the future.
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
Wow – I would definitely build my mum her dream home. I would invest in my kids’ future by setting up investment portfolios and finally setting up a children’s home. I am very passionate about helping the less fortunate particularly vulnerable children and orphans.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Its traditional food – sadza (pap), mabhonzo (pig/cow bones) and a generous helping of spinach in peanut butter.
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 actually visualised myself as a doctor for the better part of my childhood, until I realized in high school that math was not one of my favourite subjects. I have always been a very creative person, from as early as primary school. I used to knit, crochet, design and sew my own clothes as well as for my friends and siblings.
During the twilight years of high school, I actually fell in love with Business Management. So, when it came to choosing which degree I wanted to study at varsity – Marketing felt like the most natural pick for me. It just stood out on the application form, I went for it. The 4 years of varsity reinforced the direction I had selected – the subjects were very interesting. Even statistics which I’d normally cringe on just the thought of working on was fascinating for me.
My first job was with an advertising agency, and in that space, I discovered the creative graphic side of Marketing – I knew then I would not work in any other field. I believe Marketing chose me.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I would definitely be a Lioness – it is my spirit totem and, I am a fierce individual – once I set my eyes on a goal, I go out and attain it!
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I am adaptive to any environment, from rural hut life to urban posh living. I get along with people very easily.
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!
My typical day starts with a walk/jog around the neighbourhood for at least 3 to 5km, I use this opportunity to clear my head and meditate. I’ll then gulp down 1 litre of green tea while getting my girls prepped for school (homeschooling these days). Then I get ready to settle in my study for some work.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I go with the flow, to be honest – my job is demanding 8 to 5 and I give it my all in that space. When I knock off I spend time catching up with the girls’ schoolwork and doing things my kids and I enjoy, like watching our favourite tv shows, playing a game or doing some art and craftwork. I try my best to be focused on each area accordingly.
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 believe one has to change jobs strategically – and to also take advantage of opportunities as they come up.
Job hopping would only hurt one’s career if they can not justify moving from one job to another – it has to be strategic, well thought out and make sense in the bigger scheme of things in regards to one’s career path.
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?
There is a need for better interpretation of the female customer needs which hopefully female CMOs can bring into the business conversation.
For centuries the conversation in marketing communication has been driven by men which have resulted in the ‘boxing’ of what communication content goes out to some customers and potential. Who knows shopping better than women?
It’s a natural fit.
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?
In my opinion, most companies have struggled to adapt to remote working due to the traditionalist nature of many businesses and the general struggle for individuals to embrace change. While these are the underlying aspects in my view, focusing on our beautiful African continent, there are also genuine challenges faced by businesses operating in most countries. Ranging from the punitive costs of data and unavailability of resources required to facilitate remote working such as computers and accessories. We also have issues of electricity/power outages.
However, to reinforce my opening line, I have found that with those companies that do avail the relevant resources and possibly work environments to facilitate for remote working, the challenge is the people – legacy issues that employees hold onto that restrict the ability to change or implement change effectively.
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 believe organisational leaders need to put in place remote working policies and guidelines. Demarcating of working hours need to be implemented. Work Life balances need to also be encouraged throughout the organisation.
Continuous engagement around this is likely to result in employees managing their work timelines better.
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?
Edgars Stores Limited, like every other company globally, has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the last year – this has seen the business shifting focus from traditional marketing initiatives to digital marketing initiatives. Over the years, digital marketing has played a pivotal role in disseminating Edgars’ brand conversations to customers. Edgars has seen a significant shift from a 60/40 ratio of traditional vs digital marketing to a 20/80 ratio.
The business has also managed to positively respond to gazetted lockdowns by launching online shopping platforms – innovating on launching a WhatsApp shopping platform – which allows us to reach remote customers who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to access our online shopping platforms.
I can’t stress enough about the importance of having a digital marketing strategy in this environment for organisations because how else can you reach your customers and target audience? The lockdowns that have effected many countries have brought a realisation about the importance of digital presence even for traditionalist organisations.
Not only is this about reaching to disseminate product and service information, but digital is also a huge resource for selling and is standing out more during this pandemic. The challenge is now on big businesses to actively respond to the changing environment, which has seen many small businesses spring up that offer quicker turnaround times and wide sometimes bespoke product ranges/assortments further eating into the customer’s wallet.
Marketing teams are meant to drive digital marketing and selling conversation aggressively at a time like this. Any business that hasn’t embraced this new normal – is not likely to survive the short to medium term.
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 Edgars Stores Zimbabwe?
What makes something innovative is its uniqueness and ability to solve a problem or making customers’ lives better or easier.
It doesn’t have to be a completely new idea – it’s simply new or unique in the space, season or time that it is executed. At Edgars stores limited, we define innovation by looking at the uniqueness of a product or service in satisfying the wants and needs of our customers and stakeholders.
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?
The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of influencer marketing given the advent rise in digital marketing and the number of time consumers have been spending on digital platforms, mainly social media. According to the latest Global web index data – the US alone has seen an increase in social media usage of up to 40%.
The Digital Marketing Institute was correct, in the past year – active influencers have significantly grown their platforms through endorsements, with organisations actively driving influencers to create relevant content to keep their audiences engaged.
There is still a place for influencer marketing given the rise in social media platform audiences. The impact of the pandemic on influencers is the emergence of more influencers as many people had time during lockdowns to develop engaging content and grow their followers. Influencers are now challenged with differentiating their abilities so that they stand out and attract endorsement deals.
Key to differentiation is not just creating engaging content, there is also the need to develop responsible content that attracts businesses.
Influencers are also pressed, now more than ever, to show measurable returns to businesses through quantifiable engagement and conversions.
ANY RECENT/UPCOMING INFLUENCER MARKETING CAMPAIGNS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE FROM Edgars Stores Zimbabwe?
Well – there is something brewing for the Edgars chain summer launch. I can’t share detail at the moment. But, we always make an event of summer in the fashion retail business as this is the longest season for us in Zimbabwe, and also ushers in exciting colourways, fabrications and styles.
Since 2015, we have partnered with unique influencers to reinforce the Edgars Zimbabwe brand from the likes of Sophie Ndaba and David Tlale from South Africa. Locally, we have an ongoing partnership with local designers, bloggers and musicians. All of whom we integrate into our influencer programs time and again.
The unique aspect of our influencer campaigns is that we partner with influencers across industries as we believe our brands are lifestyle-oriented. We don’t just sell clothes – we sell a lifestyle.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF Edgars Stores Zimbabwe BIGGEST SUCCESSES IN MARKETING OVER THE PAST 12 TO 18 MONTHS?
Over the past 18 months, Edgars Stores Limited’s retail arms – Edgars and Jet have been focussed on reinforcing an integrated marketing strategy using the 360-degree approach. While the business had harnessed traditional marketing well – there were still gaps in digital marketing.
This was successfully bridged in the past 18 months with the launch of a deliberate drive to grow reach and engagement on social media platforms. The marketing team executed the strategy by identifying measurable matrices from audience size, impressions, conversions and competitor activity which are all aggregated against the sale conversion funnel.
Through the use of the metrics, all activity is measured against sales performance and this has seen an 8% growth in sales converted from social media initiatives alone. The audiences have also grown organically by a significant 15%.
The result is not just quantitative – there is also the ultimate qualitative aspect which is very important in reinforcing brand engagement.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I am currently studying Leadership and Marketing courses on LinkedIn – and reading an e-book on leadership, ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek.
When I’m not studying, I mostly read crime novels.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Bridgerton, Greenleaf, Girl Boss, Black Mirror – I enjoy entertaining shows, be they romantic, drama or comedy.
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?
Hahaha – nothing interesting per se – I am honestly happy with non-physical greetings – so a simple wave would do it for me.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
No-one really. I keep all my contacts close. If I care about anyone, I make sure I speak to them time and again.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Don’t be afraid to trust your gut.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
That it’ll all work out in the end.
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 am currently working on a project to launch a unique store model for The Group. The interesting challenge is working with external stakeholders and having to consistently follow up with different offices for authorisations. The bonus is growing my business and personal networks while I am at it.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AWESOME WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO INTERVIEW IN FUTURE?
Emily Nemapare, Head of Marketing and Communications First Capital Bank Zimbabwe
Priscilla Sadomba, Head of Marketing FBC Bank Zimbabwe
Ranga Majuru, Marketing Manager ZimbabweOnLine
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
My one bucket list item is to travel – Jamaica, Maldives and Italy are on my list as soon as it is safe to use our passports again.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
Definitely, my mother is top on the list. I also salute all women running businesses and households, it’s definitely not easy paving the way in a predominantly men’s world.
HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?