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By unknown | May 20, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Author and humourist SH Simmons once said: "If a young man tells his date she's intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he's saying the right things to the right person and that's marketing."

And Angie Burton's concedes that it is a one way of describing marketing. Burton is the general manager, group marketing at Absa.

She says the marketing bug bit her when she was in Grade 10: "We had to develop a product and take it to the market. I developed a bubblegum that was packaged as the fruit flavour it carried - so you'd have grape flavoured bubblegum, packaged as little bunches of grapes in a tiny crate, or a bag of oranges.

"I immediately changed my career dreams from being an accountant to being a marketer," she said.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master of Business Administration degrees.

As a marketer she is involved in positioning the Absa brand in the country. This is hard work that requires a lot of determination and perseverance to succeed.

She says: "Creativity, perseverance, communication skills and attention to detail are key. Logical, structured thinking definitely helps .

"You need a strong left brain, with a good right one to complement it. And the ability to multi-task is essential."

She says a marketer never has one project at a time -"you always have a million different balls in the air at once".

Burton explains: "The most stimulating part of the job is the diversity. You never know what a new day will bring.

"There are new opportunities and challenges every day, and you learn something or meet someone interesting every single day. Also, the creative element is exciting and enticing."

Her day involves going to the office, responding to any urgent mails, attending meetings with her team, suppliers, sponsorship rights holders, agencies, internal clients and other marketing departments.

"I also hand out hugs, encouragement or direction where needed. My last meetings are typically over by about 6pm, which is when I settle down to get through mails and do my thinking."

Burton advises to those interested in marketing to bear in mind that it's a competitive field. She says it is crucial to have a marketing related qualification.

"During the job interview, be authentic, show your creative side - don't be scared to show the passion that you have for marketing," she says.


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