A Moment of Truth – Life in Corporate Marketing
by Tan Wen Hui
Sure, Marketing is one of the best jobs to be in. But amidst the glitz and glamour that surrounds it; this job can be challenging.
More often than not, many are fixed with the preconception that a career in Marketing is the best – it pays well, is flexible and gets you places. Contrary to popular belief, it takes sheer effort and hard work for Marketing Executives, or Assistants to scale the corporate ladder. At times, luck plays a part in career advancement. Here’s a glimpse into the life of a Product Manager as told by Luke Lee, Senior Product Manager of the Pan-Malayan pharmaceutical heavyweight, Hyphens Pharma.
Tan Wen Hui talks to Luke Lee, Senior Product Manager of Hyphens Pharma to find out more.
Let’s talk about your job. What does Product Management entails, and what is your motivational force that made you decide to pursue this line?
Pharmaceutical Product Management is about the management of the product’s life cycle. This means knowing the strategic direction of the product, its market positioning and the timely execution of tactical strategies to ensure the product’s success.
Coming from a sales background, I chose to specialise in product management / marketing because it puts you in the driver’s seat. The product is the vehicle and as the driver, you need to plan and execute strategies to ensure the product accomplishes its goals. These goals could range from taking market share, to being the market leader. Without product management, most products would have little differentiation.
As Product Manager, life is hectic and at the same time, challenging. What are the challenges you face in your line of work and how do you overcome them?
Yes, the work schedule of a Product Manager can be very hectic as you always have to be planning; executing events and marketing programmes, and keeping your eyes and ears open for feedback, and opportunities. However, it is a very challenging and rewarding career.
The number one challenge of product management is the constraint of resources. Time, Advertising and Promotion dollars, and manpower are some of the scarce resource challenges that I have to factor in my routine. To overcome the challenge of time, I always have to be mindful of productivity. The goal of everything that I do as a product manager is to ensure Return of Investments and product success. So everything that I spend time on has to be productive towards product success. To overcome Advertising and Promotion dollar constraint, innovative thinking is the key. New ideas to do more with less will not only help you differentiate yourself to your customers, it will also help you stretch your Advertising and Promotion dollar and manpower resource.
Would you say that luck, asides from hard work and effort, plays a part in your career progression?
I believe hard work and effort is always the starting point and the foundation. In terms of career progression and the element of ‘luck’, I believe that you have to establish a solid foundation and reputation in the industry through hard work and effort before ‘luck’ would have a chance to help you.
‘Luck’ is being in the right place at the right time and without hard work, you wouldn’t be able to be in the right places. So I would not totally discount neither ‘luck’ nor hard work.
What advice would you give to fresh Polytechnic and University graduates who intend to make Marketing, Events and Product Management their career?
Nobody can or will plan out your career for you. You have to always stay positive. List out your career / life objectives and stay passionate about achieving them.
A Marketing career is a very challenging yet rewarding one. Think of yourself as the director of a movie. Without a good director with a good script, there will be no good actors, actresses or movies. It all starts with the vision and passion. The Marketing or Product Manager sets the tone of the product, just like a movie director is the backbone of a good movie. A product cannot market itself and be successful and thus the role of a product manager is extremely pivotal, important, and strategic. It’s a career that is exciting, challenging, and very satisfying.
In your free time, what do you do to rest and relax?
In my own free time, I engage in active sports, spend time with family and read. An active healthy body helps you think better.