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Manulife CEO on skills senior marketers need to have to really impress

A veteran in the financial services sector, Khoo Kah Siang (pictured) currently helms the role of CEO at Manulife Singapore. He has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, including four years as deputy director at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Prior to joining Manulife in 2018, Khoo was with another insurance company Great Eastern since 2006. With Great Eastern, he held several local and regional positions, such as head of group actuarial, chief financial officer, and general manager for Singapore. He led the local operations at Great Eastern Life Singapore as CEO from 2011 till 2016, before taking on as senior managing director. 

With Manulife now, he oversees and is responsible for growing and strengthening Manulife’s franchise in Singapore for life insurance and wealth management. Firmly believing in meeting the needs of customers, and advocating strongly in promoting high servicing standards industry-wide, Khoo shares his views on talent in Singapore and marketers who catch his eye.

Celebrate and reward your star employees and teams at the inaugural Marketing Talent Awards 2019 and attract new talent. Entry submissions close on 12 July—start your entries now!

Marketing: What do you think makes a veteran marketer good?

Khoo: For verteran marketers, I look for strong marketing and business strategy as well as good leadership.

Marketing: What role do you think veteran marketers play in attracting new blood in the industry?

Khoo: Having veteran marketers with a good, strong reputation would help attract new talents to join the company. As a mentor, veteran marketers are the role models to the younger generation of talents to guide, support and lead, so that the younger ones grow in competence and confidence in the field.

Marketing: One important tip for our veteran marketers to impressing a CEO?

Khoo: To be customer centric and be open to the ever changing new ways of audience engagement.

Marketing: As a judge what do you hope to see in the submissions for Marketing Talent Awards from the rising stars?

Khoo: As a judge, I will be looking for marketing work that is distinctive, relevant, impactful to help exceed business objectives.

Marketing: What do you make of the awards?

Khoo: I think it’s a good platform to shine light on the up and coming talents in the industry, both as a retention and motivational tool. That said, it’s important for them to not rest of their laurels but to keep the momentum going for the next breakthrough.

Marketing: Why do you think talent retention is such a problem in the marketing/advertising community?

Khoo: I don’t necessarily think difficulty in retention is unique to the marketing/ advertising community. In a developed, open market like Singapore, this is a continuous challenge across many other jobs and industries as well.

Marketing: What do you feel has to change to ensure young talent stays in organisations, and you can attract young talent?

Khoo: For young talents, they need to be given the right tools to shine and stay – a reasonable amount of guidance, exposure and visibility. A lot depends on their character of grit, willingness to constantly improve and patience in an organisation. Sometimes in large organisations, things may not happen overnight. However, every young talent has different  factors of motivation and as leaders in the organisation, we need to know our people well enough to motivate them differently.

There isn’t a one size fits all approach.

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