Being Vast Keeps You Ahead-Victor Ikem
In our February edition of SpotOn for the year 2017, a marketing communications adroit, amongst other things, lends a thought to the importance of knowing something about everything and how being vast in a bottle neck marketplace keeps you ahead.
Enjoy the chat but more importantly apply these truths to your life.
- Who is Victor Ikem in 140 characters?
Victor Ikem is a certified marketing, media and communication business manager. As a marketing professional, my desire is to help people (customers) know and have access to the things (products and services) that they need to live a quality life. I am a believer in destiny, an audacious dreamer and an ambitious self-starter.
- How did growing up affect your career path?
Growing up was very interesting. I grew up in a very active environment, where reading and learning were greatly encouraged. I had a lot of my senior ones who had gone to university, and there was a lot of healthy competition in academic pursuit and performance. I remember then that if one was not doing well academically or had no chance of going to university, one would not be regarded in the family.
So, the options were very clear to me as a young person regarding the right goals to set for myself. That, also, provided for me a strong purpose for discipline, and focus, early in life I developed interest in Communication and the Media. Going to university, I chose to study Mass Communication and it was a pursuit I took in my strides because I was already adequately prepared haven been exposed to important books and learning materials that I inherited from my father and siblings. At university, I specialized in Advertising and Public Relations, and also took courses in Print Journalism, Media Theories and Communication Research.
- What facilitated your interest in the media and marketing industry?
I had studied Mass Communication with a bias for Advertising and Public Relations. Being involved in media and marketing came as a result of that. Fortunately, I have worked in many aspects of communication. I have worked as a part-time reporter writing for a business magazine. Just to mention that as a student, I was news editor of a campus-based newspaper called The Campus Voice. I was at different times a junior press relations officer in two state ministries of information. I have worked in TV production, and in three leading advertising agencies in Nigeria, and later on I moved on to work in marketing departments of various companies at different times. The desire to do more in media and marketing grows stronger every day as I am exposed to more responsibilities in the course of my work. I would say that this is what I have a passion for.
I keep preparing for the challenges involved, I have invested aggressively in developing myself, seeking relevant knowledge and skills. I hold a master’s degree in Communication specializing in marketing communication and belong to various professional bodies that are involved in the training of communication and marketing professionals locally and internationally. These bodies include the Advertising Practitioner’s Council of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of public Relations, the American Marketing Association based in Chicago, IL, USA, the Australian Institute of Marketing based in Sydney, Australia and recently been invited by the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria into the Associate membership cadre, among others.
- Can you describe your most challenging and equally most exciting project ever handled?
Every project and task in marketing is exciting and challenging. I have handled quite a number of them that I find it hard to really say which one is more challenging. Every marketing brief presents its own unique demands. But knowing that the purpose of every marketing effort is to serve the customer needs makes my job very exciting. One has to think about very creative and imaginative ways of keeping the customer happy, informed and entertained all the time; happy about the product and service he or she has bought or will buy in the future; happy about how he or she has been spoken to and how the organization puts him or her the customer, first.
- What has been your Motivation over the years?
My motivation comes from knowing that I am doing what I love and what I know how to do, and knowing that the customers that we all serve are satisfied with the quality of service we set out to offer them. Meeting the right people and finding new knowledge also motivates me.
- What’s your take on mentorship?
Mentorship provides the bases for quality growth, a better society and improved humanity. I have benefited from mentorship and I do believe that it should be encouraged. It is important to also add that one can be a mentor at any level one finds oneself – there is really no special training required to be a mentor, what is required is being conscious that there are people who need to be helped and empowered.
People are desirous of being mentored even in areas least thought of. We mentor based on our repeated experience and no one person is best qualified as a mentor, I think people should be prepared to help those who look up to them and those who ask for help at any time.
- What are the skill sets you think a lad interested in your path should possess?
Knowing everything about something and something about everything – where possible. The marketing person must desire to know everything possible to know: from medicine, engineering, technology to even religion, metaphysics and myths; anything within the bounds of human knowledge. Know as mush as you can and use as much when required.
Marketing thrives on experience, not one’s experience only but the experience of others. The marketing person should be able to feel the pains and joy of customers, and the society. Communication and marketing are among the few subjects that have direct impact on everything else. So, it begins with an open heart, the will and the zeal. Every other thing will come with learning and self-drive.
- Your top three most inspiring books would be?
The ones I can think about now are Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Sicilian by Mario Puzo and You Must Set Forth at Dawn by Wole’ Soyinka. I am currently reading a book by Bayo Adekanmbi “The Future is Shared”, I think this book is very inspiring too, for the future of businesses.
- Candid advice to today’s crop of youths?
Follow the trend but never get lost in it. Learn from those ahead of you, remain humble, focused and be contented with what God has given you, don’t compare yourself with others except in a positive way. Focus on your own race, set your targets and never let other people’s opinion become your reality. You can succeed or fail, all depend on your choices.