We recently sat with a remarkable marketer whose entry into marketing is not the typical path for most. She tells us about her journey towards marketing, what she loves about marketing and what led her to rapid growth in her marketing career. Our guest today is Katlego Nake

If you’re considering a career change and need that extra nudge to help you make that move, maybe this conversation will help you gather some courage and do what you need to do if you love marketing. Minor edits have been made to give context. You’ll see that this interview shows that change is possible.

DOM: What made you decide to become a marketer?

Katlego: I loved that I could tap into the creative part of my life through marketing. I was attracted to how I can change people’s lives through tech using marketing and highlighting the solutions that can help them [businesses & consumers] on a day to day [basis].

DOM: What did you do before you joined marketing?

Katlego: I was a Technical Product, Project and Service delivery Manager.

DOM: What’s the thing you love the most about marketing?

What I love about marketing is the positioning power to drive product and solutions growth for customers. It’s an opportunity to tell relevant stories that will change people’s lives . Marketing empowers brands to be top of mind and aids in brand saliency which builds solid human connection through storytelling.

DOM: What’s the thing you hate the most about marketing? Her response here is a topic on many marketing forums where we know that because marketing is part art/creative, everyone believes they can do the job.

Katlego: The frustration I’ve experienced in my marketing career is linked to the politics that come with this territory. People who don’t understand marketing tend to have a lot to say.

DOM: What advice would you give to an aspiring marketer?

Be open to change and growth. You won’t always be the smartest in the room and that’s a good thing cause it’s a chance to learn.

DOM: What surprising challenges did you find in the world of marketing?

Katlego: In marketing, there’s always a new way to do things. Yesterday’s strategy doesn’t necessarily work for today’s world. Different target audiences require different approaches. Static messaging without feeling/emotion & human connection is the quickest way to ensuring that your brand is forgotten.

DOM: What predictions do you have for marketing in ’23 ? As you can tell from her response she has quite a great sense of humour

2020free I believe will be a ground breaking year to try new marketing approaches.

I think being the first is not always the best.

Impact is what I believe we should be chasing over and above being number 1.

DOM: Marketing is multidisciplinary , which aspect and pillar of marketing do you enjoy the most and why?

Katlego: The product Market Fit ( you can’t position yourself in market if you aren’t solving anything. Why should customers choose you?)

Growth Marketing ( Now that you know your fit it’s time to strategise and acquire those customers and grow them over time and this can be in the form of different marketing channels.

Your product fit will inform your market focus. Your Growth will inform the programmes you need to execute to achieve your goal).

DOM: If you had to mentor someone, what advice would you offer?

Katlego: Failure is not the end of the world, it’s a stepping stone to the future. Your lessons from your failures can be what catapults [you] to your next success. Marketing is a place where trying something new is possible as long as you understand the fundamentals of marketing.

DOM: You had rapid growth in your marketing career, what do you attribute that to? Tell us about your length of service in marketing and the role you’re in now

I am honoured that you mentioned my rapid growth. So, I think curiosity about the craft was where it started. Embracing a learning spirit because I come from a technical product background meant that I would not know much about marketing, but I kept asking questions until I understood.

I am currently the Director of Marketing for Southern Africa, a role that I believe embraces both my strengths which is my technical product skills and my growing marketing knowledge which has grown because of my career mentors. I have loved operating in this role.

Finally, I think I want to give kudos to my faith. Most of the principles of work that I have learnt have been informed by the deep discipleship that came from mentors in the Christian faith.

I have been in marketing now for over 2 years and it’s a journey that I am loving.