Marketing guru, Olajumoke Bolu-Kujero makes interesting post-pandemic predictions

Hey guys! Welcome – again – to another tile in the Share of Voice scrabble board. With Share of Voice, we aim to tell stories of and have conversations with CEOs, Directors, C-Suite Execs, Brand Managers, Media Personalities, influencers across industries. We have had conversations with people like Samuel Ajiboye (Alpha and Jam)Adenike Fagbemi (Nixxhash Communications), Bayo Adedeji (Wakanow), etc. And this one…

Olajumoke Bolu-Kujero is a specialist in marketing communication management, with over eleven years experience in the effective management of people, processes, and projects, with a lively career progression to show for it. Her professional experience spans business development, human resource, operations and marketing management, with experiential knowledge of integrated marketing communication (IMC).

This is how it went:

Do you know Olajumoke’s story? 

I can’t say I’ve had a linear career path. At some point, I was a jack of all trades and later became master of one – Marketing. I graduated with a Higher Diploma in Microbiology from YabaTech but knew I was never going back to the laboratory. I found it super serious, and as unserious as it makes me look, I wanted to have fun while at work. I love freedom, flexibility and creativity, and wasn’t going to get that from being at the lab.

I served – NYSC – at UBA and was a standout salesperson during my time there. I decided not to stay on after the service year was up because, again, it didn’t feel like fun work. Banking is quite straight-laced.

After UBA, I moved into HR consulting and finally started liking what I was doing. My interest laid in HR management and recruitment. I handled large scale training programs for major clients which included banks at the time.

Through all this, I was always super involved in the business development and marketing side of the business. So, I started carving a niche for myself in Marketing. I have worked both on the agency side and client side so far, and love both. Jumia was a natural fit for me because it’s a great company with a timeless value proposition – Digital retail.

From hurdles to successes

I am super ambitious, and constantly looking for challenges bigger than me. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel challenged on a new job or project. This always posed a big problem, because it was hard getting people to take me seriously at first. You know…young girl, big dreams, and I looked so unassuming. Eventually, being young and relatively inexperienced at the start of any new project or new role became a USP for me, because it meant I was daring and adventurous and willing to try new solutions to old challenges.

The other challenge is the continuous battle to finding work-life cohesion. Balancing ambition and drive with domesticity and making myself available to my family in a tangible way is tough. Some days you do good, other days you realise you have missed bedtime for one week straight. I’m grateful I have a strong support system around me.

More often than not, I have met with success.

Changing life and work styles during  a pandemic

Phew! It’s been hard! This period has made me realise how much of a kick I get from dressing up in the morning, starting up my car and driving to work. I am an extrovert who feeds off the energy of the room and my colleagues. Working from home has changed that dynamic.

Now the dining table is my work station, and my house clothes are my work clothes as well. I must confess the first week was chaotic, but I quickly implemented what has now become my work from home routine.

I basically try to recreate my pre-pandemic routine to create a sense of normalcy. I wake up when the alarm goes off, take a shower and start to prepare like I normally would. Take breaks as I would at the office and try to close at the time I would if I went to work. Though, that latter part is easier said than done. In fact, it hasn’t worked out because I find I work longer hours at home. So far it’s working out good overall. No complaints.

Pandemic-changing customers in view  – as a Marketer

Yes. Definitely. Over the past few weeks, we have seen a shift in consumer behaviour in response to the global pandemic and resultant shutdowns. In addition to bulk buying and in some cases hoarding of groceries and supplies, we see consumers also heavily investing in entertainment products to make staying at home for an extended period more palatable. A huge change we have seen is the heavy consumption of videos and entertainment content as well as increased engagement on social media. With imposed restrictions on ‘hard sell’ techniques by some of the digital advertising platforms such as YouTube, companies have had to adopt creative ways to engage with consumers and stay top of mind. Now, you see previously product-driven company social media handles now engaging with fun content, puzzles, challenges and games. Customers more than ever need reassurance and to feel a sense of stability in these very uncertain times. Organisations and brands that will set themselves apart need to align with these new realities. Humanity first, the sale second.

Olajumoke also predicted consumer behaviour post-pandemic

Consumers will prefer more contactless options across the retail value chain and service delivery. This change will sweep across multiple industries – Banking, Retail, Entertainment, e.t.c. The heightened health consciousness has come to stay as well. I predict a boom in immunity-boosting ‘supplements’ and for some certain demographic – concoctions. The rules of engagement with large events and crowd management as well would change. Overall, these are interesting times and I’m looking forward to seeing these changes.

Leadership lessons

My team and I have had to come up with new ways to work in this period. I am more intentional, I communicate more clearly and explicitly (no luxury of body language to help communicate what I am not saying). I would also like to think I am more caring. The situation is taking a larger toll on many than they are willing to admit so I try to be there emotionally as much as I can. In all, I have also learnt to be a little more lighthearted and laugh more with the team. All it took was one virus to show us that all we thought we couldn’t do without, we actually could. Life isn’t that serious.

Using the magic wand to make changes in the Marketing industry in Nigeria

I would draw a fine line between advertising agencies, PR agencies and digital marketing agencies. These are three different competencies entirely. The ability to manage social media accounts alone doesn’t make an agency a digital agency. I would also shift focus on vanity metrics like page views and web sessions/traffic to actual performance and cost-efficiency metrics to determine the success of digital campaigns.

Expectations from innovators this period

One big one is education. We need local innovators in the education sector that will break the monopoly of physical classrooms at the primary and secondary level. It will be cheaper to access and parents who opt to it can sign up for this as part of a holistic homeschool curriculum.

One question no one ever asked Olajumoke

One question I’ve never been asked is “Do I want $10 million!” My answer is “Yes, I do.. Let me send you my account number.

What does she do when she is not working?

I watch movies and I sleep. This was fun, thank you!

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