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.