A Day in the life- Mbali Mzinyane
Mbali, thank you for agreeing to reveal the behind-the-scenes snippets of your career diary in marketing. I’ve watched you increase in your confidence as a marketer, grow your brand through your podcast Wellness in the Workplace and get recognition for the work you’re doing on marketing stages. I know my audience wants to know more about the girl behind the brand.
DOM: In your own words, what is product marketing?
Mbali: Product marketing is about positioning, promoting, and communicating the benefit and value of a product to a target audience by highlighting how the product will address the pain points of that audience.
DOM: What do you think the B2B marketing world is missing in driving brand and product growth that B2C marketers get right?
Mbali: B2C marketing is more experimental with positioning, promoting, and taking new products to market. There is a degree of creativity and experimentation that B2B marketers can learn from in this regard. Another learning from B2C marketers is how to effectively use customer data, insights, and trends to promote and sell products to target audiences. B2B marketing campaigns typically have various customer touch points that provide key data and insight that is often underutilised (or mismanaged) due to the lack of understanding of how systems, processes and people can work together to optimise this data and insight to benefit sales and marketing efforts.
DOM: If you could specialise in another discipline within marketing, what would it be and why?
Mbali: Brand marketing. Brand marketing is at the center of every great marketing campaign. When a company has established a great brand, it significantly improves the effectiveness of every other marketing initiative. Brand marketing is strategic and speaks to the psychology of how people see themselves and the world around them.
DOM: What made you fall in love with Marketing?
Mbali: What made me fall in love with marketing is how the profession is ever-changing. There is always something new to learn, always something new to explore and always a new way to engage and delight your customer.
DOM: What do you love about marketing?
Mbali: Marketing is an art and a science. The art is the creative aspect of the profession and how it constantly stretches me to think differently and do differently. The science is applying customer data, insights, and market trends to marketing campaigns to remain relevant and top of mind with our target audience.
DOM: What do you hate about marketing?
Mbali: Everyone thinks that they can do marketing – which can be a good and a bad thing. Good because a vital aspect of marketing is social listening. Social listening is a great way to gather insight from peers and colleagues who are on the ground – which can then inspire fresh and relevant ideas for marketing campaigns. For example, listening to feedback from your sales teams about how their customers perceive and engage your company brand can be a valuable exercise.
This can also be a bad thing because not every feedback is constructive, and the constant input from others gives them a false sense of understanding what marketing is REALLY about. This usually leads to marketers being undervalued and overlooked for their contributions.
DOM: So, what does an average day at work look like for you?
Mbali: An average day consists of internal meetings with key stakeholders about product campaigns and managing briefs and requirements for these campaigns. Externally, agency engagement and management also features as the agencies are responsible for the campaign development and execution. This is usually done in tandem with the broader marketing team to ensure all responsible parties are involved and are aware of key requirements and deliverables.
Something that is a standard feature on any given day is taking my lunch break. Whether I am at the office or working from home, I always prioritise my lunch break. Other than taking the time to nourish my body, I use my lunch break to pause, breathe and ground myself during my workday. This keeps me energised and allows my mind and body to process the day.
On most afternoons, I’m either in some form of martech or product training, catching up on emails, sorting out my admin or taking time to think, reflect and strategise on marketing requirements related to my portfolio.
DOM: You’ve held several positions in product marketing, in your opinion which companies do it right (considering your current role, please use an example outside of your field?)
Mbali: Google, Microsoft and AWS are getting it right. These brands have taken on a product marketing strategy that focused on community-building, online learning through free-online courses and certifications and invest in strong partner networks to build sustainable relationships with customers and gain greater reach.
DOM: How do you balance work and life, considering how all-consuming marketing can be?
Mbali: One word: BOUNDARIES. I’ve learned to set firm boundaries around when and how I work. Being intentional, consistent, and communicating my boundaries has helped me manage my time, manage expectations, and has allowed me to prioritise things that truly matter.
DOM: What trends are you hoping to implement to deliver value for marketing efforts, but know that they’re too new for mainstream marketing?
Mbali: I would not say that this trend is new to mainstream marketing but that it is instead relatively new in the B2B space. That trend is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is underutilised in B2B marketing with many companies not having a clear understanding on how to use influencers in their marketing campaigns. This is also largely because there are not many local B2B influencers, especially in the tech space and as a result companies may have the interest to explore influencer marketing but may not how to implement this in their marketing strategies.
DOM: What has running a podcast taught you about content marketing?
Mbali: It has affirmed that content is KING. If you have the right content, on the right channel targeted to the right audience, at the right time then you can build a community and effectively communicate your value to them.
DOM: What do you find could help companies optimize their podcasting/content marketing efforts?
Mbali: Focusing less on positioning and selling products and more on community-building by developing relevant, useful, and timely content.
DOM: What key trends did you unearth about Wellness in the Workplace?
Mbali: Wellness in the workplace is as much of the organisation’s responsibility as it is yours. It is imperative to reflect on your values and on what workplace wellness looks like for you as an individual so that you can hold your leadership and organisation to that standard. The second trend that I have observed is that creating a healthy and safe work environment takes uncomfortable conversations, deliberate action, and conscious leadership. The future of work is collaborative, inclusive and progressive – we cannot afford to leave anyone behind.
How can people connect with you
Mbali: On my Instagram
By weaving compelling stories narrative into your brand messaging, you can capture your audiences attention and build build an emotional connection that goes beyond just product features and benefits.
To be completely obsessed with understanding your audience and what problems you help them solve. If you don’t get this right, everything else on social media becomes that much harder.