This week , we’re featuring a Marketer / Event Manager as the “Professional of The Week”. It was yet another enlightening interview and I encourage every professional or budding professional out there to read on.
Name: Sharon O.
Profession: Marketer / Event Manager
1. Why did you choose Marketing / Event Management as your profession?
It wasn’t my plan to have a career in the hospitality industry (Event Management). I read accounting and I always said I was going to be the best accountant in the country because I’m good in mathematics. But along the line, just like you find yourself blogging about careers and your CV review thing (as an interest), I discovered I had a flare and interest in meeting people. I tapped into this interest.
I like building relationships because when I do, there is nothing I ask of you which is within your reach that you won’t give me. From building relationships you can get what you want from people and I apply this to the Marketing aspect of my job
2. What is the best thing about your profession?
The marketing aspect of my job connects me to different kinds of people out there. I have the opportunity to build relationships with all manners of clients.It is not a job that ties me down and this suites me perfectly because I’m an extrovert. I don’t sit in the office all day working on papers and computers.
Also, It enables me to provide a service to people and put a smile on their face by executing their events successfully.
3. What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
When I get to the office, I always pray before I dive into the job.
I am the Head Marketer of the Event Management firm I work with. I have a daily plan which I prepare at the end of the previous working day. I look into my plan, put in calls to make sure the people I want to see are available. I check if any of my bosses wants to have a meeting with me before I proceed out with my team. On our return from marketing, we prepare a daily report of our activities which we submit to our boss. At times we have meetings with our boss based on the daily report.Also, I keep an eye on newspapers to see adverts calling for proposals for event management or consultancy. For instance, yesterday I saw an advert on a newspapers and even though it was Sunday, I picked up the phone and placed a call to the organiser.
I also go for presentations. Some clients do call my team in for a presentation based on the proposal we have sent to them and this may include showing them the concepts that we have developed for their event.
4. What qualifications are you working towards?
My last qualification was a 6 months training at Binary Clo School of Hospitality Management, Malaysia. I undertook this course to update my profile and knowledge in the area of hospitality. There are new trends in every aspect of life / career and it is important to keep with the trends.I also have a Masters in Business Administration, University of Calabar, which I undertook mainly because of my flare for marketing and business development.
I am looking into a course in the area of Information Technology and Business Development. The world is now IT driven and I am following the trend. I came across it from a leading IT training provider in Nigeria and I will embark on it very soon.
5. What advice will you give someone interested in Marketing / Event Management as a profession?
Fear can ruin your destiny at times. The hospitality industry is fast paced and very competitive because due to the rate of unemployment in the country, a lot of people get into the industry as the only option.
My advise is that you look beyond the present situation in what ever you’re doing and that includes a career in the hospitality industry. Don’t get into it just because it is what is available. Continue to develop yourself and aim to progress in it. Some people don’t take the hospitality industry seriously and if you tell them you are into events they look at you like a joker. I think it is a growing profession with a lot of possibility to grow. If you are getting into it, look ahead and aspire to progress in it.
6. What skills will you advise current and aspiring students of Marketing to acquire/develop?
As a marketer, you must be able to understand the client you are dealing with.
Clients differ and I believe the power of persistence levels all hills you may face as a Marketer. A client may ask me to send in a proposal but that doesn’t mean I have gotten the job. It is important to keep constant and persistent contact with the client, not disturbing but you have to be persistent.
I recall an experience with a client; I visited her office, called and sent texts but had no response for months. She eventually called me and told me to send in a Profile. After sending in the Company Profile, I continued with the calls and she eventually informed me that she had sent my Profile to the President of her association for further consideration.There are times I take my MD for a meetings. Some clients are high profile dignitaries and as a Marketer It is important you have the ability to sense a need to bring in your superior, your boss.
Also, a marketer must be a good communicator. I meet with all sorts of people and it is important to have and develop good communication skills otherwise you will not be able to sell your product to them. I already mentioned that I do presentations and communication skill is of so much importance here.
Also, you need to be able to prioritise and your work appropriately. As a marketer, I attend several meetings and presentations daily. I have to ensure I work with my schedule to avoid failing to attend meetings or other engagements.
Marketing is in stages and you have to ensure you do not overlook anything. Sometimes I keep my regular / daily marketing aside and follow up on my existing contacts. You have to build and strengthen these relationships. You shouldn’t call a client only when you need to sell something to them. Sometimes just calling to greet or sending a text message wishing them a good day at work, or happy new month etc goes a long way in building that relationship. You’ll certainly benefit from this in due course.
It is also very important that you act professionally all the time. Some clients will ask you to bring a billing for the event you are bidding for but this does not give you an assurance of getting the job. At this stage, you are playing based on the cost of the event you are proposing to the client. Infact this could end your possibility to get the job if the client cannot afford what you have proposed. So, it is important at this stage that you remain a professional and give a reasonable billing – always bearing in mind that most clients have already had an experience organising a similar event and if you come up with a billing that exceeds the norm, you may come across as dishonest. This is not professional.
I work with a team and I will say team work is another key skill for a marketer. Other skills I will say are important are report writing skills and presentation skill which may also be included with communication; I already mentioned something about presentation earlier on.
7. Is it a barrier if your degree is not in Marketing or Hospitality related?
No it is not a barrier. My B.Sc was in accounting. There are a lot of courses and trainings you can attend to get the additional skills and knowledge to succeed in the industry.
8. Do you have any other interest you pursue apart from your profession as a Marketer / Event Manager?
I usually hang out with my friends, read books, newspapers and browse on the internet. Reading news papers and browsing the net enables me to get information on up coming events.I suppose my leisure benefits my career.