When Mosidi Seretlo started in the marketing industry, she knew nothing about marketing, she just loved solving business issues and getting consumers to buy the brands they were selling. She also loved seeing how campaigns and innovation were impacting on business results. Today, Seretlo is the founder of strategic marketing company Mosidi K Seretlo Consulting.
Her parents wanted her to study a B.Sc but Seretlo studied a B.Comm degree at Rhodes. Some of her modules included marketing, and she was drawn to the subject, but was not sure how it would translate into a career. ‘I saw an advert for a weekend away that Unilever used to do for students. I attended that session and knew that was what I was interested in. So, I applied to Unilever and was accepted.’ She stayed at the company for 12 years, with stints in Dubai and Argentina. Other career highlights include: SABMiller and Vodacom.
She continued her career through to other blue-chip companies. ‘I was always drawn to strategic marketing – the analysis, research and getting to understand what should be done to drive the growth of a brand in the market.’ She left the corporate world in 2016 and opened up her own strategic marketing consultancy based in Fourways, Johannesburg.
Seretlo’s career highlights include:
• The EGO to Axe campaign (changing EGO’s name to Axe) and seeing huge volume growth.
• Working on Redd’s Phola Campaign and winning the SAB MD’s award for turning around the brand.
• Launching Sarita (cider) – it had record sales in the first year, beating estimates.
• Working on Vuyo the Beeg Beeg Dreamer (Hansa) and seeing huge equity shift.
• Working on the Vodacom Baby ad and the Vodacom Summer Campaigns with the Priest (2015).
• Starting her own business and working with many clients, even in Kenya.
What do you enjoy most about working in the industry?
‘I enjoy the psychology of understanding consumers and developing solutions to solve their problems. I enjoy innovating and doing 360 TTL campaigns that involve creativity and working with cross-functional teams. In my business, I enjoy working across a variety of industries – no two days are the same.’
Strategic marketing insights and trends
- CEO’s don’t trust marketers and don’t see the value of marketers. This is becoming even more of a challenge and I see it everywhere, with marketing no longer being considered a real driver of value.
- Purpose based marketing is growing, e.g. the Nike and Gillette campaigns are making an impact and leading societal changes.
- More companies are looking to have in-house agencies, which is a real threat to creativity.
- Big Data is a big trend but I’m not sure that it leads to more creativity or whether it helps in galvanising consumers to buy brands.
- The advertising stats from big digital players like Google and Facebook are being questioned – are we reaching audiences or robots?
- Content is becoming very big and this is specifically so with the rise of digital. Some brands are doing well whilst others – well let’s just say they have a long way to go. Word of mouth and referrals are powerful and have become the source of trust – no longer are brands telling us what is good – and they are losing out – which has seen the rise of influencers. But the jury is out whether they help brands achieve their goals.
- Very few brands are making a real impact and staying relevant and negative, and fake news may impact the brand.
- Competition is no longer local but global.
- We are seeing a rise in ethical marketing – making sure whatever you promise actually delivers.
Keys to creating successful campaigns
‘Successful campaigns need bold leadership – leaders who can take risks; a great agency and client partnership. You need to know what the brand’s essence is and then work out a clear narrative that resonates. A successful campaign must engage, be relevant and really make a change in consumers’ lives. Of course, creativity and driving consistency with a fresh perspective are important, as well as understanding the consumer, being curious and being innovative.’
‘I love travelling with my daughter – we save money and chose one place to go every year. I am also an avid blogger; like giving motivational talks and I am a very spiritual person. I run two Facebook business pages – one for female entrepreneurs and one for women called Phenomenal Women. I’ve recently got back into reading. I have also started exercising and, surprisingly, I am enjoying it.’