Marketing does not restrict you to one specific job

Friday December 04 2020
By Edgar R. Batte

What does your job entail?
I am marketing manager of Yalelo, a new vertically integrated aquaculture company in the business of fish farming, processing, distribution, and sales. I handle its marketing portfolio and make sure that the public gets to know about what it is all about. It is headquartered on the shores of Lake Victoria in Jinja.

You’ve been Premium Beers Brand Manager at Uganda Breweries, how easy or hard is the switch career and portfolios for you?
It is about flexibility. I am a go-getter and open minded. When the proposal was presented to me to join a fishing company, I felt it was an opportunity for me to challenge myself to offer my marketing skills and experience in a whole new business environment and so far, so good. Yalelo is led by an ambitious team which speaks to my aspirations too.

As marketer, what would you list as some of your career highlights thus far?
I could say that the words of my former senior colleague, Juliana Kaggwa, at my departure from UBL were humbling. She described me as a star performer and wished me all the best in my new journey. As a fellow marketer, Kaggwa’s words mean a lot and spur me to scale the height. Some executions as a marketer have won global recognition in the alcoholic beverages industry. Under my stewardship, Uganda became a global benchmark for executions like Guinness Night Football with other markets following Uganda’s lead. I am still hungry for more success so I am focused and remain hardworking to realize that.
Could you please briefly walk me through your career journey?
My performance track record goes way back to when I joined UBL. I have risen through the ranks. I began my journey at the brewery in the ‘Key Accounts’ section which I did for a year. 

I was recognised for excellent work in trend leading outlets so I was given extra responsibility and entrusted with the biggest contract distributor in Kampala, a task that saw the distributors revenue almost double.

 I was then promoted to the job position of ‘Commercial Planning and Activations Manager’ under which I was instrumental in transforming company’s brands trade presence at scale. 

A little under two years, I was trusted with transforming the largest volume contributing brands in the company’s beer portfolio through a critical business period. 


In December 2018, I took over the premium beer category where I delivered breakthrough business performance, grew volume and value share at the same time transforming brands equity for all the three core premium beer brands. 

How were you able to scale the height to that level in the different roles that you were promoted into?
I always take time to understand the job at hand which enables me to focus on the key areas and then give my all, my A-game. 

Of course, I achieve but with a team of colleagues who buy into the strategies. During my tenure, I consistently drove the highest standards of execution for the brands. 

On top of that, I built strong relationships with external and internal partners plus stakeholders specifically brand owners, media, advertising, digital, Public Relations (PR), promoters, specialist agencies, internal commercial, finance, supply chain and business support teams, creating a highly effective cross-functional team.

How can young people break into marketing?
You need to start small and seize every opportunity availed to you. People tend to only look at multinationals especially Fast Moving Consumer Goods industries but you can start anywhere, even in unlikely sectors like the NGO world. 

Once you are a good marketer, you will always rise through the ranks. Many established marketers tend to get into their comfort zones which shouldn’t be the case if you are looking up. Don’t be afraid to venture into new waters.

Why is marketing an ideal career choice?
Marketing is ideal because it does not restrict you to one specific job. You handle finance issues, branding, media, people management, consumer interaction and so on, which makes you competitive in a wide range of career roles.

 It is also a dynamic career that allows someone who is creative to explore their talents and embrace technology as it evolves.

What is on your wish list?
I am up for the new challenge of growing the Yalelo brand into a household name in Uganda, and helping FirstWave Group, its mother company, achieve its vision of becoming the lowest cost producer of animal protein globally and the largest producer of animal protein in Africa while remaining environmentally and socially sustainable.