“Continuing to develop yourself in your profession affords you so much”

From Product Manager to Digital Marketeer

Trying new things at work really energises me. Results from the past don't provide any guarantees for the future. Therefore, it is important to continue to develop yourself and the things you do

Challenging start

During my Master's degree in Marketing Management in Groningen, I spent six months working for FrieslandCampina. Friendly and educational, the work placement convinced me that I wanted to work in the food sector. As Junior Product Manager at Perfetti Van Melle, I had a very challenging start with Look-O-Look, a brand that had just been transferred to the Benelux organisation in Breda. Quite a hefty task for a 'beginner' because the brand was going through a great deal of change: from commercial aspects and product development to the supply chain. Alongside Look-O-Look, I also worked for Chupa Chups, a brand in the Perfetti Van Melle portfolio which offers juniors a great deal of freedom for substantiating activations. That provided space for my input.

Rapid development

Usually, you spend quite a long time in a junior position. However, when the role of Product Manager Mentos became available within a year, I sent off my application. This once again confirmed that I'd made the right choice with Perfetti Van Melle: the company gives you opportunities and the confidence that you're doing well. An extra challenge is that, as our best-known brand, Mentos is closely scrutinised in our organisation.

Local approach to a worldwide brand

Even though Mentos is a worldwide brand, we are given plenty of freedom to interpret the brand in our own way. We place our product differently in Belgium and the Netherlands, for example, because the retail market in the two countries is very different. I don't think there are many other companies where the marketing employees are given so much freedom to interpret a worldwide brand in their own way. We do, of course, use the experience gained in other countries. For example, if a promotion runs well in France, there's a good chance we'll try it here too.

Ongoing learning experience

Continuing to challenge yourself and learning new things are an important part of your job. Therefore, in recent years, I was able to attend various training programmes and courses, alongside my work, with support from the company. For example, I could delve into the world of online marketing and had the chance to follow the digital strategy course organised by Google. The company also offers internal courses like ‘Smaakmakend Leiderschap’ (Tasty Leadership) where you not only learn about management but also acquire quite a bit of self-knowledge.

Fashioning my new role

After having acquired a few years of experience in the Mentos marketing team, I am now responsible for a new role in the organisation; Digital Marketeer. The growth in digital media and the related complexity motivated us to create a new position so we could take our digital marketing projects to the next level. A chance to fashion a new role doesn't come along every day, so I grabbed this unique opportunity by the horns.

Looking for a challenge

I still thoroughly enjoy going to work each day. Now, after a few years in my position with Mentos and in my new position, I have discovered that there is always more to learn and that you must continue to challenge yourself. What will I be doing in 10 years? I hope that my colleagues and I will have succeeded in taking our digital marketing projects in the Benelux to the next level, and then? Luckily, this profession is never stagnant, so the challenges should be plentiful along the way.