Kurt Frenier, Senior Director Beverages, PepsiCo Middle-east and Africa discusses ‘Marketing Strategies, Positioning and Planning’ with aspiring marketers.
Planning a career in Marketing? Learn to ask ‘why not’ as much as ‘why’. Such were the thought provoking suggestions offered to a capacity-packed auditorium full of aspiring marketers: mainly honours-year undergraduate students specialising in Marketing at Middlesex University Dubai. The session was led by Mr Kurt Frenier, the Senior Marketing Director Beverages at PepsiCo Middle-East and Africa who offered truly inspiring illustrations from brands including Google, Disney, MINI Cooper and of course, Pepsi’s own legendary marketing campaigns.
Insights shared by Mr Frenier were based on his own learnings through 20+ years of an illustrious career as a marketer working with some of the most exciting and recognised brands in the world including Pepsi®, Mirinda®, Mountain Dew®, Aquafina®, Gatorade® and Cheetos® among the 2,000 or so brands under PepsiCo’s portfolio. He has been directly responsible for some of the most successful marketing campaigns in the Middle-east and Africa region for PepsiCo’s beverages and has driven creative excellence as well as the transition towards social media and experience marketing. Within the MEA region, he works across emerging and established markets, where PepsiCo’s brands have leadership and challenger brand positions in high as well as growing GDP economies.
In defining his job as a marketer, Kurt offered perhaps the simplest and yet the most eloquent description of the marketing discipline: “to get people to LOVE my brand – this way I get my customers to sell my products to others.” Using examples of strong brands, Kurt advised marketers to be relevant to consumers, differentiate themselves, communicate in an engaging manner, be consistent and finally, evoke passion. “Passion is everything for a marketer” Kurt emphasised. He also reminded marketers not to lose sight of core business objectives of revenues, profits, market share, stock price, etc while focussing narrowly on marketing objectives such as awareness, engagement and experiences.
Challenging students to take a customer-centric perspective to marketing strategy, Kurt noted that the traditional Marketing Mix (4Ps) framework developed in the 1960s was perhaps too producer-focused and “a bit outdated for the marketing challenges of the 21st century”. Offering an alternative model (as originally proposed by Dev & Schultz, 2005), he urged students to think of marketing strategy in terms of Solutions (that will solve problems for consumers), Information (required from consumers), Value (as defined and invested in by consumers) and Access (to the solution offered by the marketer). Interspersed throughout the session were real-world examples and case-studies which allowed the audience to visualise the application of theory to practice.
“This very experience of seeing marketing theory in action, is what we aim for when we invite Distinguished Guest Speakers from the business community to address our students”, said Mr Mohammad Meraj, Adjunct Lecturer at Middlesex University’s Business School who hosted the lecture for his students. “Kurt’s presentation today has encouraged students to see how the solid foundation that they have acquired in their marketing degree will enable them to standout as successful practitioners in the future”, he added, while commending the Careers and Employability Service for their efforts in organising such speakers saying, ‘I am grateful to Ms Alveena Javed, our Careers Manager at Middlesex University Dubai for providing an excellent opportunity for students to engage with business leaders”.
Professor Raed Awamleh, Pro Vice Chancellor at Middlesex University and the Director of the Dubai campus closed the event and presented a token of appreciation to Mr Frenier.
For more contemporary insights on the changing face of marketing, follow Kurt’s lively blog at www.redhotmarketingblender.com/blog