Treat everyone with humility. Great people have a track record of humility.Mercy Njiru
For this segment of Women In Marketing, we had the opportunity to chat with Park Inn by Radisson Nairobi’s Marketing & Communication Manager, Mercy Njiru. We explored themes around remote work as well as the importance of mentorship. Let’s dive in
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa where I spent my early childhood before my parents relocated to the capital city, Nairobi. I have a degree in Computer Science. Before joining the Radisson hotel group, I had a stint at Sarova hotels. I enjoy creating awareness for brands, enjoy technology and the digital space keeps me sane.
Some of my fondest memories growing up include: Dad picking up my siblings and me during school holidays every day during his lunch break to take us for swimming classes.
Treat everyone with humility. Great people have a track record of humility.
Life Mantra “No situation is permanent, No matter the delays or what leaves you, if TIME is still there you are not at a loss” Keep pushing – Mercy Njiru (Marketing Manager, Park Inn by Radisson Nairobi Westlands)
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I declutter and reorganize spaces
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
As a Christian, I would first honour the house of God. I would choose a cause that is close to my heart, eg. Inspiring or mentoring the unemployed youth so that they can contribute positively to their communities.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Tasty poussin chicken
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?
Doctor No! Lawyer Yes!
I thrive in creative spaces, being the face behind unique campaigns, creating unique diverse content that resonates with the public and effectively influencing the audience decisions to drive business awareness and growth.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
Zebra. They are hyper and have lots of confidence.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
My number one in life is God.
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 am #TeamLemonWater! A glass of warm water with lemon and a banana does it for me every morning. Listen to a spiritual podcast, read the bible, pray, prepare for work, bully my children a bit and am so ready to start my day.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
You have to be intentional, set priorities as well as to be able to juggle workplace stress and daily family pressures. I purposely plan to spend time with my children and family, time to pursue my interests and to unwind.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR BSC IN COMPUTER SCIENCE FROM THE AFRICA NAZARENE UNIVERSITY (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?
From entrepreneurship opportunities to affordable healthcare and peer learning platforms, the internet is the perfect platform to empower women in inspiring ways. The information online is too much.
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?
The presence of women in leadership positions is correlated with higher financial performance, better team dynamics, and higher productivity.
Moreover, gender-diverse technology teams also demonstrate several business benefits, including adherence to schedules, lower project costs, and increased innovation. Women also scored higher on empathy, assertiveness, interpersonal skills, a willingness to take risks, and emotional intelligence. A survey of 7,280 leaders by leadership development consultancy Zenger/Folkman (Zenger & Folkman, 2012) found that women were rated by their peers and direct reports as well as bosses, as better overall leaders than men.
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?
At first, it was denied that this is the new normal, and unsure of their employees’ deliverables. This is where trust and believe from your employer that his employees can still deliver on their responsibilities without their presence in the offices.
How to deal with the obvious challenges that were a concern, like how do their employees get motivated to work from a remote place, distractions, reliable wi-fi, keeping the communication, getting accustomed to video conferencing concepts, feeling of isolation etc.
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?
This is long overdue and therefore organisations embracing new remote workers will have to change their approaches. To consider the wellbeing of your staff, ramp up your communication efforts and get ahead with them, weekly catch up sessions would come in handy, develop a flexible home working programme, offer training sessions on balancing remote working and encourage time for introspection that can help sharpen their self-analysis, healthy skills and growth.
SHERYL SANDBERG MADE AN INTERESTING REMARK IN HER KICK-ASS BIOGRAPHY ‘LEAN IN: WOMEN, WORK, AND THE WILL TO LEAD’ THAT “SEARCHING FOR A MENTOR HAS BECOME THE PROFESSIONAL EQUIVALENT OF WAITING FOR PRINCE CHARMING”. SHE IS ILLUSTRATING THE NOTION OF WOMEN HAVING TO SEEK APPROVAL OR VALIDATION, ESPECIALLY FROM MEN WHO ARE AT MOST TIMES THE MENTORS. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON MENTORSHIP?
Ever thought about your legacy? Have you ever consciously ruminated and decided on how you want people to think of you?
I am not alluding to everyone’s subconscious desire to be liked; I am touching on something greater and more significant. Although we can find out almost anything about everyone, our legacies will not be our social media profiles, our fame, fortune or high-profile jobs. Our legacies will manifest in the thoughts, feelings and stories of the people that surrounded us. Whether they are our children, family, colleagues, neighbours, or strangers, it is people who maintain and uphold the legacies of others. Imagine a world in which we are all striving to leave a lasting positive legacy. We would all be more aware of our daily impact on the people with which we spend the most time.
We might be more proactive in their growth. These are my thoughts when I think about mentorship.
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 PARK INN BY RADISSON?
It is the process of making changes to something established by introducing something new or making an improvement on something existing. As such, it can be radical or incremental, and it can be applied to products, processes, or service
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?
There is still space for influencer marketing, with the number of people and brands online, Influencer marketing is the quickest way to increase your brand awareness if partnering with the right personality.
Nothing works better than influencer marketing to create instant brand awareness and other marketing goals. Out of 81% of marketers who use influencer content, 51% agree it outperforms brand created content and it’s more engaging. Influencer Marketing is the new digital form of the traditional word of mouth.
HOW DO YOU LEVERAGE DATA TO INFORM YOUR DECISION-MAKING?
I leverage data to establish my brand as a thought leader.
Create presentations and reports that inform and impress. By creating a beautiful presentation that our audiences can’t ignore, communicating the main point is that much easier.
Incorporate visual content strategy in our PR/marketing efforts. By taking data that’s hard to understand and translating it into an eye-catching visual, we can communicate our insights quickly and more effectively.
Make data-based decisions. For sales and marketing departments, data is the key to improving and refining business strategies.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SOME OF THE MAJOR TRENDS IN DIGITAL IN THE NEXT 12 TO 18 MONTHS?
1. A more integrated approach
Digital marketing cannot work in isolation. Experts are suggesting the rise of integrated marketing where brands are aware of the changing needs and behaviour of the consumers.
2. Focus on ROI
This massive shift in the market caused by the influx of online shoppers would mean that brands would have to increase their investments in building their presence and marketing their products online.
3. Digital marketing as a profession
The demands of the current scenario have led market researchers and economists to comment on how the process of shopping itself might shift completely into the virtual arena while physical stores and restaurants turn into experiential and recreational joints.
4.Small and medium brands to group together
As brands transform digitally for a virtual future, many businesses would need to consider symbiotic partnerships where they group with other brands.
While the plan was there before, the moment to deliver has arrived now. That is because marketing trends at the moment are not just calling for a transformation but a digital revolution.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Keep a schedule rather than a to-do list
They always tackle the most difficult task first, and while that statement makes plenty of sense, it might at times hinder my productivity. I remember that time I spent an entire day on that one killer task when I could have tackled three simpler ones? So, beyond allocating my tasks to do, I also allocate the amount of time I have instead. This way, I can tackle more tasks in a reasonable time, without feeling burnt out. This is not to say that I avoid difficult and time-consuming tasks, but instead manage my time better so I don’t feel exhausted while I’ve still got a mountain pile of work awaiting me.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? (WHAT DO YOU READ, AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME INFORMATION? PAPERBACK VS EREADER?)
I prefer paperback. The flipping of pages, highlighting or underlining my take-home notes, does it for me.
I am currently reading ‘The Millionaire Woman next door’. I love the motivation and self-made great business people books.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Can you believe, in this age and era, I don’t watch Netflix,
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?
A wink, with one closed eye and a big smile
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Stand out, be unique. be different. be authentic. You can do what everyone else is doing but establish a unique approach to execute.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
I have no regrets with my younger self, opportunities lost, mistakes, failures have reminded me that I am work in progress. They make me a better person every day.
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?
Life is very dynamic, knowledge is power and key. There is more in life….am not there yet, trying to figure out my true assignment as I do my best in my current life’s normal script and as I seek knowledge. My career, business is just a pulpit.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AWESOME WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO INTERVIEW IN FUTURE?
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS (PROFESSIONAL AS WELL AS PERSONAL)?
Mentor the younger generation, to put God first, pursue with zeal and zest all that God created them to be early enough in life.
I would love to travel the world, learn different cultures, share the experiences and innovations. The world has plenty to offer and explore.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
Ibukun Awosike, Oprah Winfrey, Kerry Washington