In April, we asked readers to tell us who they thought scored 10 out of 10 so we could celebrate our industry’s top achievers who consistently out-perform their colleagues. The criteria were that the person had to be between 25 and 35-years-old, and work either in a media agency or a media owner sales team. Meet Deshendri Smit.
Tell us about your job
I am the Executive Head of Media Sales for Primedia Unlimited’s Mall Division. My role involves developing and implementing a national sales and marketing strategy across our mall specific brands, which include Primall Media, MallWorx, Mall Active, Prime Courts, the Primedia Lifestyle Group, and SourceCRM.
Why are you passionate about what you do?
I love helping clients build their brands in retail while also serving the shopper, retailer, mall and property owner. I also enjoy entrenching the value of partnership between media agencies, media owners, brands and creative agencies.
What makes you suited to your role?
For this type of position, you need to have nerves of steel, the ability to build and maintain relationships with people across various levels, work in integrity, have a brilliant sense of humour and be able to hold the attention of a boardroom and in a one-on-one conversation. My mission is to add value to every relationship and every interaction.
What have been some career highlights and lowlights?
My career highlight is utilising the skills I have now and being in my current position. I love the team that I’m surrounded with and enjoy the many support structures of management, staff and all our Primedia sister companies. I can’t really point out any lowlights as I believe that life only throws us lessons and experiences, and I’ve had plenty!
What major opportunities do you see in your field of work?
I believe we can work more on integration across our various mall offerings to provide better retail solutions to clients, and to use our environment to generate shopper and retail analytics.
Another focus area for opportunity is to uplift the importance of ROMI (return of marketing investment). The conversation has moved from just building brand equity to really understanding how a campaign has delivered against the investment.
By closing the gap from ATL (above-the-line) to path-to-purchase, we can drive the understanding of shoppers and what influences their buying decisions.
What are some of the challenges?
The constant deadlines are tough but the clients and our teams make the day really enjoyable. While we’re in the field visiting agencies and clients, there is also a lot of admin work and reports which need to be completed but all the systems and processes are in place to ensure effectiveness and efficiency at the end of the day. It’s what makes a business better.
What do you see in the future of media agencies/media owners?
I think that focusing on integration will be key and that businesses need to constantly transform to growing market needs. We’ve reached a tipping point where customers are demanding more value for less investment. We need to create smarter ways in which to work and start introducing new services that we haven’t had before.
Your views on social media and its usefulness
Social media is just another communication channel and I believe it has its own positives and negatives. It’s a great way to communicate quickly and effectively to a very specific group of people but on the negative side, it can be very distracting as well. Although, you could argue that about television or magazines too!
What is the most important lesson you have learnt during your career?
Integrity above everything and never burn bridges.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’d like to keep progressing and reach a higher management role within our Mall Division, utilising the skills I have learnt, relationships I’ve built and to continue to grow and empower the Mall Division and the team.
To vote for Deshendri Smit send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your pick.
This story was first published in The Media magazine’s July 2016 edition.
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