As the head of marketing and communications for the Maserati brand in Malaysia under Naza Italia – Maserati, Jihan Malik (pictured) leads the branding, PR, CRM, marketing and communications efforts for the luxury Italian automotive marque.
She firmly believes in creating unique brand experiences for every customer and this has been her guiding principle in reaching out to niche markets while fostering strong customer relationships. Prior to Maserati, her experiences include Ferrari, Koenigsegg, Nissan and Sime Darby Property. As one of the judges for A+M's Marketing Excellence Awards, Jihan shares the type of work that excites her as well as how the industry can improve as a whole.
[The Marketing Excellence Awards is back in Malaysia for its seventh year to recognise and award Malaysia’s outstanding marketing campaigns With 33 categories open for entry, don’t forget to submit by 23 August 2019. Visit our website to find out more today.]
A+M: What do you hope to see in the submissions for Marketing Excellence Awards Malaysia 2019?
Jihan: Simple. I look forward to submissions that are clear in how it achieves the objectives, solves the challenges, unconventionally pushes the envelope, complemented by a cohesive execution and obviously delivers the desired outcome.
It will be doubly exciting to see innovative ideas that are delivered with proportionately lower spend, which goes to show that not all big ideas require big money.
A+M: What type of work stands out to you as a marketer?
Jihan: We’re living in a world swamped with information and consumers have a plethora of alternatives to choose from. Hence, being presented with a work that is fresh and original which could potentially help and differentiate the brand from its competitors is exciting. It’ll also be thrilling to see a programme that may not only react or improvise the latest trends, but also, one that sets them.
A+M: What do you look out for when working with agencies?
Jihan: Great chemistry, transparency, synergy, agility and mastery of data. Definitely an agency which is genuinely interested to understand our goals, challenges and strategies; and see beyond adding the work to its credentials and award submissions. Being practical and realistic are definitely a plus-point!
Additionally, having an agency that teaches you things more than a client should have to learn, is much welcomed and valued.
A+M: What do you feel is the biggest challenge marketers in Malaysia face today?
Jihan: The lingering misconceptions among some that during the economy downturn that negatively impacts the sales growth - marketing budget gets cut first.
Most businesses tend to start cutting marketing costs as they see it as an expenditure rather than an investment in the business, also due to the perception that marketing as a mere “cost-center” than “value-center”. Trimming the marketing budgets during trial times will not only lose potential sales and profits, but will lag us behind our competitors once things get better. Marketers are accountable to build, sustain and grow the values of customers – and it’s challenging to deliver with minimum to spare.
With the rise of adtech, it is a struggle to strike the balance between short-term impact with long-term results, which could be at the expense of creativity and brand-longevity.
Marketers are often under pressure to deliver short-term marketing metrics, over long-term brand building.
A+M: Where is the standard at for Malaysia’s marketing industry? How else can the industry improve as a whole?
Jihan: Digital fluency and data analytics are a necessity and with the ever-evolving technology, it can be challenging to keep up - if not supported with the right tools and exposure.
Perhaps we could consider having the marketing version of Department of Statistics Malaysia where marketers have swift access to data, statistics and behaviours, catering to all industries.
Marketers can then become their own data scientists. Marketers are also expected to be on the forefront of all the consumer trends. The least I could say is to do our best in ensuring the marketers are regularly trained, developed, rewarded and retained in this ever-demanding industry. The open-mindedness to learn, unlearn and relearn will also come in handy.
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