NEWS Women & Tech

Tech, Through the Marketing Lens!

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For this week’s Women & Tech, Associate Editor, Channel360MEA, had an eInterview with an energetic Marketing Professional who holds an impressive experience in the IT industry. She has the ability to deliver 360-degree marketing campaigns focused on brand development, lead generation, and revenue growth. A BE Hons. in Computer Sc. from BITS Pilani, Dubai Harleen Sohal, Regional Marketing Manager – MEA, WSO2, has her own interesting experience to share. Below are the excerpts… 

The professional journey
I have had a very fulfilling journey over the past 5+ years of working with leading IT distributors and now an IT vendor for the MEA region. Brand building and communication has always been an area of my interest. As a computer science engineer, marketing in tech felt like a sweet spot to learn more on-the-ground and build an interest-based skill set. The IT industry has its uniqueness when we look at it from a marketing lens. 

For instance, selling an IT product or solution requires stronger network interaction between various stakeholders of the value chain, primarily because of the complexity characteristic. For almost every transaction, the vendor, distributor, and channel partner must collaboratively work to create and deliver value for the end user. Having exposure to such an extensive marketing process has allowed me to work end-to-end and develop a holistic understanding. This has enriched my journey and has been very empowering to contribute and drive the regional marketing strategy at my organization.

Still Miles to go… 
Definitely, there is more buzz about technology among women now. There seems to be a good number of women in junior and mid-level roles. Although at senior levels, the representation remains poor. Many industries including tech have historically had women in a much smaller proportion, and this may have created a bias against hiring them in many roles over a period of time. This is gradually shifting as more and more organisations are now systematically focusing on having a more diverse workforce and rethinking their hiring strategy and methods. The tech industry as a whole is also consciously working to attract and tap into female talent in the market equally or even more sometimes.

Milestones you achieved in your career
I started my career as a Marketing Coordinator, primarily addressing back-end support activities for Marketing Specialists. Over nearly 2 years, my role evolved into a team leader for a small, yet diverse team of coordinators. We delivered great value by working on the ground with vendors and brand principals to ensure efficient campaign executions. It was immensely satisfying that as a team, we developed a solid understanding of back-end marketing processes, compliance, and timelines among other things; eventually we were able to make a mark at a brand building level. Whilst wearing my Team Leader hat, I subsequently moved into the Specialist role which gave me a great flavour of ideation and marketing planning for my bucket of vendors. Fast forward to today, I am currently spearheading the MEA level marketing planning and execution for my organization. This is the part I enjoy the most and the journey keeps getting more exciting every day!

Can w-f-h/ hybrid work be the game changer for women?
The benefits and change of remote working are felt by everyone, not necessarily women alone. Having said that, it does seem that women should feel more encouraged to continue their careers instead of dropping out mid-way. A lower dropout rate at junior and mid-levels could potentially help in better representation at senior levels in the long run. Theoretically, employers should have a relatively larger pool of female candidates to choose from, and this should help them rethink how to attract and retain female talent in their setups and provide promising careers. Although, implementing new ways of working needs thorough thinking from employers to make it successful.

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