Tatenda Marongwe was adjudged at the Marketer of the Year at the 2021 Exceptional Marketing Awards held in Inyanga last October.

She is the Group Marketing Executive for Insurance firm ZIMNAT.

She chronicles her journey to the top with us:

1. May you briefly tell us about yourself? Whom is Tatenda family schools attended etc?

Tatenda, a firstborn in a family of four is married to Kudzai Marongwe and we are currently blessed with two lovely flowers; Watidaishe and Watipaishe.

Career wise, Tatenda is a proficient marketer with over 12 years’ extensive experience spanning across various sectors which include Telecommunications, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and Insurance. Insurance is her “happy place” having occupied various Marketing positions within the insurance industry from a Marketing Specialist at First Mutual Holdings Limited, to a Marketing Executive at Old Mutual Life Assurance Company and now the Group Marketing Executive for Zimnat Group, a diversified, innovative and game changing insurance giant in Zimbabwe.

She is an advocate of creativity, innovation and delivery of results through leading diverse teams. She has developed a proficiency in providing innovative strategic insights not only in marketing but also in positioning businesses for growth.

Tatenda holds a Master of Business Administration degree, B. Com Honours Degree in Business (MSU) and a certificate in Digital Marketing through the University of Stellenbosch South Africa amongst other certificates in Project Management and Events Planning and Management.

Outside work, Tatenda loves baking, event management, adventure and creating a positive impact to people and communities surrounding her.

  1. Briefly share your professional career background.

I started off my career as an attachee at a telecoms company, Powertel Communications many years back (chuckle). I then moved into advertising as an Account Executive briefly before I was taken on a management Trainee program at Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, where I underwent rigorous training which I give much of the credit to for turning me into a professional that I am today. The program was thorough. I then transitioned into insurance starting off as a Marketing Officer at First Mutual Holdings Limited. I then had a short stint in the FMCG industry employed by National Foods as a Senior Brand manager but in no time I bounced back into the insurance sector as a Marketing Executive at Old Mutual. Today I am making life better for our customers with the Zimnat team as the Group Marketing Executive.

Marketing chose me. I must confess, growing up, I had never dreamt of being in the marketing space….being this soft soul that I am. There were also so many stereotypes about who could become a marketer and definitely, I didn’t fit the space,  but like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie put it across, “The problem with stereotypes is not that they aren’t true, but they are incomplete” and I am a testimony to it.

My passion had been in business management, running a profitable business. I followed my heart to a greater stage, but I then learnt that the heart of business is in marketing as it is the bridge between business and the consumer .I then specialised in Marketing  and guess what, here we are today.

Doing the unthinkable. Breaking the internet. Causing chaos in the city (hiding my face and laughing emojis) and out brand trending on Twitter. I am referring to Zimnat’s Security plan and Assessment centre launch executions which caused havoc on the respective days of campaign executions. We placed a mysterious object, heavily guarded and covered in a white cloth at Joina City for security plan launch. As you would have experienced, there were unimaginable conspiracy theories around it so much that some high offices had to pay a visit to the activation site. Luckily, we had done our homework (winking emoji)

It means a lot to me. It means life and affirmation that the world is full of endless possibilities. This award made me realise that we live in a world of endless possibilities- only if one believes, is focused, determined and fearless or shall I say courageous. With increased access to information in this global village, there is no sky to limit anymore. It also means a lot to the Zimnat team. It shows that all our sweat, teamwork and hardwork has been recognised. Moreso, our brand is becoming a household name.

Simple. Away from the box thinking which we like to call Box 3 thinking. Which is about creating material fit for the future. In the period under review, we were deliberate about doing things differently as a team. Before rolling out any campaign, we would ask ourselves if anyone else could replicate it. If the answer was yes then we would immediately drop the idea. We would brainstorm until we got to an idea that we felt could not be replicated THEN YES WE KNEW THAT WOULD BE US. Our desire is to make life better and make Zimnat a household name. The world has become so competitive that extraordinary stuff is not good enough. Remarkable is the new normal as one of my mentors would say.

The desire to make a mental mark and learn. After all we never stop learning. I have had the privilege of meeting, working and interacting with many people from different backgrounds and levels of exposure. In all of them, I have found something worth carrying with me. From the village boy in the rural place to some industry captains I have had the privilege of sitting on a table with. People are amazing. I have therefore made a deliberate decision to learn from any interaction, emulate the good things and better still make a mental mark. Ultimately I am motivated by the desire to make the world a better place. Day by day, little by little, step by step.

Customer obsession. Putting the customer at the centre and front of everything that we do. Our purpose is to make life better and there is no better motivation for us than seeing people, our customers and stakeholders at large in better places. At Zimnat we also like memorable experiences right from how we introduce a service or product right to using or enjoying the product. Remember at Zimnat we seek to make life better.

Just watch the space. It is in our DNA to bring new and exciting products to the market. Obviously we will do it in a remarkable way. By the way have you heard about our latest offering?

Dare to dream, to be different. “The illiterate of the 21st century are not people who can’t read or write but people who can’t unlearn, learn and relearn.

  1. How have you managed to break-through in the Insurance industry during these harsh economic times?

It has not been easy with the pandemic. Like many industries we faced our fair share of difficulties. We had to quickly adjust and get used to dancing in the storm. As an individual I had to leave the comfort zone together with my team to bring out the best ideas that could take the business forward in such an environment.

  1. Do you have one thing that people don’t know about Tatenda?  

I love speed, racing, fast cars and the adrenaline that comes with it. I went to the extent of visiting Ferrari World for the thrill but mmm the Ferrari Rossa in Abu Dhabi is the only thing that almost brought me to a breaking point …..Man, that roller coaster is fast (chuckle). The experience is too exhilarating.

  1. The secret to success?

Team work, perseverance and hard work. In life nothing comes easy. At Zimnat we work as a team. I owe it to my team and the support from our executive management level at the various SBUs of the business- Zimnat Life, Zimnat General Insurance, Zimnat Asset Management and Zimnat Financial Services.

  1. You received a standing ovation when you were announced winner at the Exceptional Marketing Awards. How did you feel and what was going on in your mind?

I felt blank, I didn’t know what to do. It was only after a few seconds that I processed.  I then read it as sign of affirmation from my industry colleagues. I felt proud of our brand, my team and myself.

  1. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.

Success at organisational level is not defined by efforts of single person but by collective efforts of solid support structures. To succeed one needs to build a functional team. Exciting results will follow. As they say if you want to go fast go alone. But to go further go together. Nothing can be further from the truth than this statement when it comes to corporate success.

The MAZ Charity Foundation, an arm of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe in January handed over food and other basic commodities to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) in Chinhoyi.

The donation is part of the Association’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.

The toiletries were sourced and donated through MAZ’s Charity Golf Day where MAZ corporate and individual members participated in the annual tournament while the basic commodities included mealie meal and flour were donated by National Foods.

The MAZ Charity Foundation and MAZ staff travelled to the ZPCS, Chinhoyi Depot on January 28 to handover the donations to inmates.

Speaking at the handover ceremony in Chinhoyi, Mr Samuel Matema a committee member of the MAZ Charity Foundation said it was such a great honour to be part of such an event which uplifts other people’s lives.

“As MAZ we don’t give out of abundance but out of sacrifice, and we believe in rebirth and resurrection thus we give sacrificially” he said

Speaking at the same ceremony, MAZ Executive Secretary Mr Gillian Rusike said they were driven to donate to ZPCS after learning of some of their challenges in the media.

“Early last year we saw in the newspapers that those in the correctional services were having a difficulties accessing basic commodities and we give thanks to the ZPCS officials for giving us such a prestigious opportunity to help out.”

“We decided to buy buckets, soap and other basic commodities in partnership with National Foods. We believe that in these times of the Covid 19 pandemic hygiene is of paramount importance and also the need for basic food stuffs,” he said

He encouraged all inmates to utilize opportunities availed during their time in prison to do what they desire most.

“I would want one day to see one of you in my office saying that I got a degree in marketing during my time in prison and I’m looking for a job or just saying that I motivated you to study while you serve your time in here, I would be happy,” he added.

The Provincial Public Relations Officer Mr Emmanuel Kondowe who happens to be appreciated MAZ for the donations and opportunity availed to the prisoners.

“I want to thank MAZ for this opportunity they have put in front of us, for this is a first time when our inmates are offered a chance to start afresh when they leave this place, therefore I urge each and every one of you to study and graduate one day you shall be free and will visit us just like these humble ladies and gentleman,” he said.

One of the female inmate gave thanks to MAZ Charity for the gifts they had been given.

“On behalf of my fellow inmates ,I’m really grateful for these donations that you have given to us , love is very  important and this is  great love that you have shown to us as prisoners, we are really grateful for your love”

She went on to thank MAZ Charity Foundation in partnership with National Foods on this initiative they are partaking in as an Association and said such opportunities should be extended to others as well.

Other MAZ Charity Foundation members who were part of the ceremony include, Mrs Enia Zimunya, Monica Nyawera, Tawanda Rusike and Tanaka Tapasowa also helped with the handover.

MAZ has been involved in different corporate social responsibility initiatives through the MAZ Charity Golf Tournament that include the donate  a shoe campaign which saw the Association handing over school shoes to Chokera Primary School in Masvingo and to Mathew Rusike in Epworth.

In 2020, proceeds from then Charity Golf Tournament were used to buy sunscreen lotions which was donated to the Zimbabwe Albino Association. In the same year, the MAZ Charity Foundation responded to the Covid 19 pandemic by donating food baskets and other basic commodities at the Methodist church in Epworth.   

The Charity Foundation also donated stationery to Dambudzo Primary School in the Midlands province. The school had its roof blown away by heavy rains and a lot of infrastructure and learning material was destroyed.

Whether your business is an established empire, or you were just starting to get your ideas out into the business world as a start-up organisation – the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a devastating impact on business operations worldwide. The main demise of businesses is the inability to adapt and entities that could not innovate and incorporate creative ways to sustain income have found it challenging to keep their heads above the water during this period where physical interaction with customers is limited. What is not, however, limited, is the ability to diversify business operations to include what is perhaps the only unphased aspect of life as we know it – technology.

This article explores the options that a business can adopt to do business during the lockdown period. The first and most important stage is the planning stage.

Failure to plan is planning to fail

Planning during a pandemic focuses on prudent assumptions of the future position of the organisation. This entails that it is imperative to assess the future from a worst-case scenario position. The advantage of this approach versus the opposite is that it accounts for the unpredictability of the situation we find ourselves in and in general terms; overcompensating is far wiser than being underprepared. Companies routinely plan budgets, sales and marketing strategies, and operational adjustments. However, the most forward-thinking and progressive companies are also developing what are referred to as strategic technology plans.

A strategic technology plan is an assessment of a company’s current technological strengths and weaknesses. The assessment then establishes a roadmap to align technology with the way the company wants to do business. The economies of a planning exercise of this type are scaled to the size of the organisation. The bigger your business, the more value the implementation of technology planning is. However, smaller businesses will have a better change transition as far as adopting technology into their processes which makes it a suitable first step for all business sizes.

Top 3 Technology Planning Assessment Tools

  1. OneNorthwest’s Organizational Infrastructure Assessment Form, which is available as a downloadable PDF file, is a good one to start with. It’s comprehensive enough for most purposes and will probably lead to some useful brainstorming.
  2. Strategic Technology’s Components of Tech Assessment & Readiness is a much more detailed set of documents which can be downloaded individually as PDF files.
  3. For more remote assessment, NPower’s Tech Surveyor and Tech Atlas are interactive online tools. 

Our fourth and notable mention is TechSoup which takes a different approach to assessment by providing a series of online worksheets listing questions on specific aspects of technology.

If done correctly, technology planning can provide a foundation to fulfil your organizational mission. It will also help in the planning and procurement of funds to get the right technology for your business needs.

Technology for different business processes

Collaboration in teams

Effective collaboration has been compromised by the dispersion of workforces during the quarantine. In order to maintain team cohesion, the efficiency of communication must be the top priority. Communication serves as a foundation for planning. All the essential information must be communicated to the managers who in-turn must communicate the plans to implement them.

The advantage of working in offices is the ability to have oversight of all business processes and monitor the effectiveness of individual contributions to the company objective.  The distribution of work and the subsequent evaluation is not possible without written and oral communication.

There are several software programs that have been developed to incorporate the administration of work processes as well as enabling business staff to coordinate projects that are critical to maintaining core operations during this lockdown period.