A career as a marketer in the Telecom industry: What does it take to stay ahead of the game?
The marketing department of every telecom company has to be the most dynamic and innovative to ensure more people subscribe to their networks and enjoy the vast products and services.
How the latter are packaged and taken-up by the end consumer form the gist of what a marketing manager of a telecom firm should do in order to stay ahead of competition.
Moses Abindabizemu; the Marketing Manager of Airtel Rwanda explains the different challenges, wins and perks he faces in this position and shares some tips for those who are interested in this career in the future.
QN: Given your experience in the industry’s marketing environment, briefly describe how you find it as a career.
Abindabizemu: Marketing in a telecom environment is the most dynamic and the most exciting place to be. You think on your feet, you act with speed and precision and nothing is taken for granted.
I have had an opportunity to work in the telecom sector for close to 12 years now in the areas of Sales and Distribution, Enterprise Sales, M-Commerce and Marketing right from shop to shop airtime sales to now the current leadership role and the learning curve has been very humbling.
Every morning, you wake up and imagine how millions of customers think about your brand, how your product and service offerings are helping them achieve their dreams, how to make sure they give you priority in their minds. This keeps me alert, agile and alive.
Marketing in telecom has greatly transformed from just being about Brand and communications, to Consumer Analytics, Segmentation, Pricing and continuous Innovation.
10 years ago, it was about “one size fits all”, but now it’s about “Which size fits who?” This requires deeper understanding of consumers’ functional and behavioral needs to ensure you remain relevant as they progress in life. This makes marketing exciting and fun and hence the right place to be.
QN: What have been your ups and downs in the career and how have you gone through it all?
Abindabizemu: Like I said telecom is a very dynamic environment and every day you are faced with fierce competition and you keep ensuring you stay ahead of the curve. One most exciting feeling is coming up with an innovation and seeing it transform not only your business but also people’s lives. The challenge is that when business is flourishing and you see competition coming up with something countering your plan, then you have to go back to the drawing board to try and think ahead of the curve. That’s how competitive telecom is and we are now used to the terrain and instead of looking at these as challenges, we see them as opportunities to get better.
QN: How competitive do you find the industry and what would you say keeps you on top of your game?
Abindabizemu: Competition is very healthy and necessary in every business. Without it, you will be tempted to be complacent. I consider Telecom to be the most competitive industry and the only thing that keeps me on top of my game is thinking ahead, understanding the core needs of my current & potential customers and giving them reason to trust us more every day.
QN: Any tips you can share with people who want to join the profession?
Abindabizemu: As a professional Civil Engineer now turned marketer, I have learnt that in life, passion to learn and humility to be corrected are core attributes that can make one better in life.
One of the core benefits of marketing is that, it’s one of the only professions where you spend a bigger part of your time learning, understanding society, people’s needs and waking up every day trying to ensure they achieve their dreams using your products and services.
This makes Marketing very exciting and always relevant for eternity. It’s not easily replaceable by any technology.
Those with a desire to join marketing should seek to understand why everything happens in life and try to critic it (positively and negatively). For example; why are smartphones made and why do we see a new version every year? Why did Airtel come up with this new product and why is it necessary? When you see an advert, ask yourself why they had to do it that way?
Question everything and as you do that, you will expand your knowledge and that will make you a better marketer.
QN: Lastly, what is your ultimate career goal and how do you intend to achieve it, especially in the telecom industry?
Abindabizemu: Having done good stints in Sales and Marketing, I want to head a telecom company within the next five years but eventually end up being a telecom consultant focusing on emerging technologies and linking them to people’s lifestyles. I want to create convenience using technology. People should use technology to do anything in life. The future is in aligning innovation to change in people’s lifestyles.