Career Conversations: Efe Uduigwomen Is Carving Her Way In Product Marketing And Growth.

Efe Uduigwomen is a seasoned Product and Growth Marketer, with a Master’s in Marketing Analytics from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. She is currently a Sr Growth Marketing Associate at Remitly.

Efe brings a wealth of expertise, with over 8 years of experience across the financial and tech industries. Prior to Illinois Tech, Efe led the marketing team at Risevest, a leading digital dollar investment fund, and managed Communications at Paga, a leading mobile payments company in Lagos, Nigeria. Efe has a passion for developing and implementing marketing strategies that not only capture market nuances but also deliver substantial value to consumers.

She speaks to us about the opportunities of the STEM Programs for women, mentorship opportunities and her career growth.

Can you tell us about your journey into the field of product and growth marketing? What initially sparked your interest in this area?

My journey into product and growth marketing has been quite an interesting one, driven by my curiosity about people and how technology changes our lives. I studied sociology in my undergrad and this laid the foundation for my career, as it deepened my understanding of societal dynamics and human interactions. Post-graduation, I started working in communications mostly because of my interest in social media. I particularly enjoyed using Twitter back because it was so cool to see how it connected people from all over the world in real-time. 

My first role was handling social media for a small photography business in Surulere. Then, I moved into the world of fintech, working with innovative companies like Paga, Risevest, and Casava. These experiences were pivotal as they constantly made me think about what was next. Working in these roles, I began to see how technology and data were reshaping our approach to product and growth marketing. I started to appreciate the intersection of technology, data, and marketing. 

Overall, what drove me into product and growth marketing was seeing how fast the tech sector was growing, especially through marketing and analytics. It was an incredible opportunity to use what I knew from my sociology background, working in communications and marketing and combine it with data analysis. This blend is really the heart of product and growth marketing — finding creative ways to grow a business by understanding the customers and using data to make better marketing choices. So, in my path into product and growth marketing, I’ve always aimed to combine insights from human behavior with data analysis. It’s about crafting marketing strategies that not only resonate with people but also are backed by solid data. It’s this intersection of understanding people and using numbers to guide decisions that makes this field so exciting for me.

Can you share with us some of the challenges you’ve faced as a woman in the marketing industry, particularly in Africa, and how you’ve overcome them?

I’ve faced a number of challenges working in marketing and also in tech as a woman. A couple that stood out were limited networking opportunities and lack of female role models and mentors. In career growth, sometimes, who you know can just be as important as what you know. I found that there were limited networking events in marketing, most I’d come across were for engineers and other core tech roles that were male-dominated, this made it harder to pivot into tech. It often felt like trying to join a conversation where you feel like you’re not heard or just on the outside looking in. On the lack of female role models and mentors. It’s hard to overstate how important it is to see someone who looks like you in a position you aspire to be in. Back then, in the marketing field here, there just weren’t many women in those top roles I could look up to or seek guidance from. It sometimes felt like navigating a maze without a map, you know? I had to figure out a lot on my own, which was a bit daunting at times.

So, how did I deal with these challenges? Well, for the networking part, I started creating my own opportunities. I began reaching out directly to people whose work I admired, setting up coffee meetings, or even just a quick chat. I joined online forums and groups related to marketing, where I could interact more flexibly. It was a bit of a push at first, stepping out of my comfort zone, but it really paid off. Which made me appreciate organizations like Wimbiz who did a good job of providing various programs, workshops, conferences, and networking opportunities aimed at empowering women in different sectors like business and management. 

As for mentors, I put myself out there, attended meetups, joined online tech communities – anything to connect with people who’ve been in my shoes. Gradually, I built a network of peers and mentors who’ve been nothing short of supportive and informative. It’s amazing how much you can learn from just talking to people in the field. This experience inspired me to pay it forward. I’m always eager to offer guidance to those who are now in the position I once was. I’ve been involved in mentorship programs like Leading Ladies Africa and currently a mentor on ADPlist, and so far I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact such support can have on women making their way in their careers.

What unique opportunities and advantages do you believe women bring to the table in the realm of product and growth marketing?

I believe women bring some unique opportunities and advantages that are particularly valuable. One of the key strengths is our ability to provide an inclusive perspective. Women have a knack for understanding and empathizing with different viewpoints, which is crucial in today’s diverse global market. When it comes to crafting marketing strategies, this means we’re not just focusing on a narrow audience. Instead, we’re able to create approaches that are inclusive and resonate with a wide range of demographics. This inclusivity isn’t just good ethics; it’s good business. It helps in building brands and products that appeal to a broader customer base, ensuring no one is left out.

Another significant advantage that women bring to the table is our growing expertise in data-driven decision making. In a field like product and growth marketing, understanding and interpreting data is essential. Women are increasingly leading the way in utilizing data to make informed decisions. Whether it’s analyzing market trends, diving into customer behavior analytics, or measuring the effectiveness of a campaign, women’s ability to interpret data helps in making decisions that are not just based on intuition but backed by solid evidence. This skill is invaluable in today’s market, where data is king. By harnessing data effectively, we can predict market trends, understand customer needs better, and create more effective and efficient marketing strategies.

Women’s strengths in providing an inclusive perspective and in making data-driven decisions are not just unique; they are crucial in shaping the future of product and growth marketing. 

What advice would you give to aspiring marketers who are interested in pursuing a career in growth marketing?

If you’re looking to pursue a career in growth marketing, that’s fantastic. Growth marketing is a dynamic field that blends creativity with analytics, and here are some pieces of advice to help guide you on this journey. 

Firstly, foster a mindset of continuous learning. Growth marketing is an ever-evolving field, with new technologies and strategies constantly emerging. Stay updated with the latest industry trends, tools, and techniques. Read relevant blogs, attend webinars, and participate in marketing forums and discussions. This ongoing learning will keep you agile and adaptable, which are key qualities in a growth marketer. Secondly, develop a strong foundation in data analytics. Growth marketing heavily relies on data to drive decisions. Familiarize yourself with analytical tools and metrics essential for measuring the success of marketing campaigns. Understanding data will enable you to identify trends, make informed decisions, and create strategies that are not just creative but also effective in achieving growth objectives. Be willing to experiment and take risks. Growth marketing often involves testing new ideas and strategies to see what works best. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and equally important, be prepared to learn from failures. Each experiment, whether successful or not, is a learning opportunity.

Lastly, develop a customer-centric approach. Understanding your audience is critical in growth marketing. Spend time learning about your target customers – their needs, preferences, and behaviors. This insight will enable you to create more personalized and effective marketing strategies. Remember, a career in growth marketing is a journey. There will be successes and setbacks, but each experience will contribute to your growth as a marketer. Stay persistent, keep learning, and always look for new ways to engage and grow your audience.

As a woman in a leadership role within the marketing industry, what initiatives or changes do you believe are necessary to foster greater diversity and inclusion within the field?

In my role as a woman leader in the marketing industry, I strongly believe in several initiatives and changes to foster greater diversity and inclusion. 

Mentorship and sponsorship programs are crucial. Tailored to support women and underrepresented groups, these programs can offer vital guidance, encouragement, and access to opportunities. More than just mentoring, sponsorship can actively advocate for individuals in their career growth. 

Ongoing diversity and inclusion training is essential. Rather than a one-off session, this should be a continuous effort to educate employees about unconscious biases, the value of diverse perspectives, and fostering an inclusive environment. Awareness is the cornerstone of transformation.

Flexible work policies make a significant impact. Such policies are key in retaining talent, especially for those juggling professional duties with personal or family commitments. Options for flexible hours, remote work, and an understanding of work-life balance contribute to a more inclusive, supportive workplace.

Equitable hiring and promotion processes need to be a priority. It’s important to examine and adjust these processes to remove biases, set diversity goals, and be transparent about progress. Decisions should be based on skills and potential, not influenced by gender or race.

This way, we can make strides towards a more diverse and inclusive marketing and tech industry. It’s about creating a space where everyone feels valued and fully empowered to contribute.

With the rapid evolution of technology and consumer behavior, how do you stay ahead of the curve and adapt your marketing strategies to meet changing trends and preferences?

 There are several exciting trends shaping the future of marketing and analytics. First off, AI and machine learning are now a big deal, changing how we analyze data, allowing us to uncover insights faster and more deeply than ever before. There’s also a lot of focus on data privacy and ethical handling of consumer information, especially with regulations like GDPR. This shift towards transparency and responsibility is changing how we manage data, and it’s beneficial for both consumers and marketers.

Another thing that’s changing is omnichannel marketing. With people constantly switching between different devices and platforms, understanding and engaging with our audience requires integrating data from multiple sources. It’s like piecing together a large puzzle of customer interactions. And we can’t forget voice search and conversational AI being on the rise. As devices like Alexa and Google Home become more popular, optimizing for voice search and using AI for customer service chats are becoming essential. These technologies aim to make interactions smoother and more intuitive.

So, how do we keep up with all this? To stay ahead in this evolving landscape, continuous learning is key. Keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in AI, data analysis, and digital marketing is essential. Understanding data ethics is equally important. Being adaptable, pulling insights from various sources, and embracing experimentation will also be crucial. Data is invaluable for understanding consumer behavior, and a flexible approach to marketing strategies will enable us to quickly adapt to new trends and technologies. In essence, staying ahead in marketing is about being adaptable, savvy with data, focused on customers, and continuously innovating. Embracing change is not just necessary; it’s the driving force behind effective marketing strategies.

Finally, what role do you see women playing in shaping the future of marketing and technology across the African continent, and what steps can we take to ensure greater representation and inclusion in these fields?

Women are set to play a huge role in shaping the future of marketing and technology in Africa. They bring unique perspectives and creativity, which are key for innovation in these fields. Plus, with their understanding of diverse consumer needs, women can drive marketing and tech solutions that really speak to a wide audience.

To make sure we have more women in these areas, we need to start with education and opportunities. Encouraging girls to dive into STEM subjects is a good start. Also, companies should actively work to create inclusive environments where women can thrive and advance. Mentorship programs can really help, giving women the support and guidance they need to grow. And, of course, we need to keep talking about the importance of diversity – the more we talk about it, the more we can make real changes. In short, the future of marketing and tech in Africa looks bright with more women leading the way. Let’s open those doors wider!

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