Returning home to excel as a Marketer in Indonesia with Philips – My highlights and lessons

Name: Kefas Timothy Ponggawa

Role: Trade & Shopper Marketing Manager
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Bringing Solutions to People through Marketing


As a Trade & Shopper Marketing Manager at Philips Indonesia, my job is to ensure that all of our customers have a positive consumer experience with Philips solutions. To do this well, I put myself in the shoes of various different consumers and re-enact their shopping patterns and behaviors towards our products. This means I spend several hours every week visiting our stores to do research, keeping an eye out for new trends and a close watch on our competitors.


I see marketing as a tool that connects consumers with the right products. With my specification on trade and shopping, I get to see the scale of the meaningful impact that marketing can make! For instance, last year we launched a particularly bold campaign to market a brand-new line of rice cookers in Indonesia. Within the short span of six months, we managed to place our product on at least 400 racks across the country, which was tough to pull off logistically, so it still fills me with pride. Months after the campaign, we saw that our displays were still the most prominent in stores, which raked in impressive sales and paid testament to our work.  Experiences like this reinforced my strong belief in the difference that we are making by really getting to know our consumers to an extent that we can change their shopping experience for the better and improve their lives with Philips products.  


Philips aims to provide people with new and improved healthcare solutions, and this innovation-focused company stance constantly inspires me to look for new areas that can be optimized within my role’s scope as well. I have observed that within the Indonesian demographic, marketing materials are approached and interpreted very differently compared to more developed countries in Europe or Asia. The uniqueness of the market is firstly, an exciting challenge forcing Marketers to adapt and redefine conventional marketing techniques and secondly, an opportunity to contribute in building a more marketing-conscious consumer nation.


Being a Creative in a Corporate World


Despite being a creative in a large business like Philips which brings along certain rules and guidelines, I have never felt creatively restricted. On the contrary, this environment pushes me to stretch myself and think of new ways to communicate our message. Here at Philips, it is about striking the right balance between creativity and sensibility in order to best serve our consumers. This balancing act is something that always keeps me on my toes!


In fact, I find many plus sides in exercising my creative talent for a multinational company like Philips.  For example, I get to engage with diverse individuals from around the world and learn from their perspectives. Amongst others, I have connected with marketing teams from Australia and the Netherlands, and those experiences taught me that the cultural diversity that Philips harbors is a great source of creative energy.


You are Who You Surround Yourself With


Whether in Indonesia or abroad, collaborations with colleagues are always a true pleasure due to everyone’s positive spirit, and I feel fortunate to be part of such an exhilarating work environment.


The exemplary professional attitude of my colleagues is of course also manifested in our leadership. I started out as a Sales graduate trainee, but my former senior manager always knew I had a bigger interest in marketing. As a hands-on and involved leader, he made a real effort to teach me lessons that would be useful for me down the line, and develop my skills in different areas. His commitment to me in helping me grow, allowed me to chart out my own career path with the company and strengthened my ambition to become a leader myself.


There is also an impressive pool of talent in the office! As a very dynamic team, we push each other to our ultimate potential. I feel constantly motivated to improve because we all have the same winning mindset. Still, it is never about being competitive with one another and that makes work fun.


The Bigger Calling and Lessons Along the Way


I always knew that I wanted to contribute to growth and development in my home country, with the skills and knowledge I acquired while studying abroad in the Netherlands. Though Philips is globally established, we pay careful attention to our local demographics. It is extremely satisfying to have been part of several successful projects that have made a lasting positive impact on the Indonesian consumers. 


Philips has allowed me to follow my calling, in providing me with the mentorship, the engaging work environment, and the experiences needed to grow as a creative and make a meaningful difference. I have listed the most valuable lessons in my three-year journey with Philips below with the hope that they may come in useful for like-minded, driven individuals with a strong ambition to go far in their career:


1.       Create, Develop, Execute

The execution is just as important as the idea. Ideas are intangible. The execution brings your ideas to life. The timing of your execution matters greatly too. You are up against competitors every single day, so you have to be quick and smart in getting there before them.


2.       Work with Style

Own your role and put your personal touch to it. When you develop your own style of working, you are comfortable and therefore will naturally enjoy what you do. Consequently, when you are happy at work, you will please your managers and subordinates too, and pretty soon you are on your way to a promotion!


3.       Develop Relationships

Relationships are an important part of any business. They are your gateway to success and self-development. Especially in my field, relationships with store owners determine how much of my products I can get into their stores. Take time to know your customers too – to better understand what they want and help you do your job better.