Zineb Ahnou Ghouila
Manager, National Business Solutions
Sector: Marketing, Sales, and Service
Born: Outside Canada
Type: Career Profile
Business & Economics, Computer Science, Math
I’ve been working in marketing for a little over 15 years, including the last five years in the automotive aftermarket sector. In fact, I am very proud to be working in this industry, given that I grew up in this field, as my father owned a garage for more than 25 years.
What I appreciate most is the fact that I’m always learning something. This might be in the marketing field (brand building, web and social media trends, data marketing, etc.) or in the automotive industry (development of new technologies and their impacts on the aftermarket, the realities of a mechanical shop owner, etc.).
I also enjoy being constantly in contact with people who lift me higher and challenge me in my thinking, whether they are my colleagues, customers or business partners. In addition, working on projects with multidisciplinary teams helps me to see other business aspects and to continuously strive to challenge myself.
When I was in high school, I wasn’t very interested in anything. I was something of an introvert, which I am not at all today. I was trying to find myself and I didn’t really know what my future would look like. This may surprise you, but I listened to my father’s advice! He was the one who told me to figure out what were the best study programs to study that offered real career opportunities. He suggested that I think a little outside the box and to choose something different from the other members of my family. So, when I graduated from high school, I decided to go to a business school. That’s where I really realized what I wanted to do and that I didn’t want to do anything else. I studied business for two years and took a wide range of courses: math, statistics, micro- and macro-economy, international negotiation courses. Then I specialized for two years in marketing. I took courses in marketing, communication, statistics, etc.
I completed two internships. The first one was the most boring thing I’ve done in my life! It was in a pharmaceutical company, where I spent my days in an office doing word processing. Then, I had a second internship that was a real revelation. I carried out a quantitative and qualitative study on the impacts of a brand name change on consumer behaviour. To do this I developed a questionnaire that I administered to more than 250 people. From the results, I was able to identify some trends and to make recommendations to the company. Thanks to that internship, I was able to land my first job in that company as an assistant product manager.
It’s normal to hesitate. It’s normal to not know what you want to do, or in which field you want to work or even study. Do not hesitate to ask questions. Talk to professionals and ask for advice.
You have to be persistent and trust yourself. That’s what will allow you to move forward.
Wherever you come from, whatever the colour of your skin or your gender, you should never hesitate to take up new challenges.
I enjoy eating and shopping. No, seriously, I spend a lot of time with my children and my husband.
I am a member of the financing committee of a non-profit organization, which helps job searchers integrate the labour market.
I enjoy biking and walking, and I try to go to the gym at least once a week.
I work on many projects. I often carry out market analyses to evaluate territories that have sales development potential. I also look at the statistics and economic trends as well as at the development of each zone. These data enable us to evaluate various communication strategies to target customers and to promote what we offer.
Communication is key: knowing how to identify the good channels, develop relevant messages and, above all, invest strategically to get a good return on investment. Today’s media are varied. In addition to traditional media such as television, radio, billboards and posters, there has been an emergence of digital media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It is now crucial to have a modern website that is up-to-date with the latest technological standards in order to reach and influence customers’ behaviours.
In the context of my work, I don’t use specialized equipment but I do use several software programs and platforms that enable me to carry out my job. I work with multidisciplinary teams, such as the sales team, the product development team, the finance department and even the legal department.
Although I work in marketing/communication, there is a lot of math. This will surprise you, but in high school, I hated math and I would never have believed that one day, I would love “playing” with numbers. When you have to develop a campaign to promote a product or a service, you have to make sure you have the right product mix. This means you have to have a product that meets your customers’ expectations. To be able to do that, quantitative and qualitative studies must be done. Also, you have to have a good price positioning and to distribute the product through the right sales channels. Then, the product has to be promoted, generate sales and be profitable. So, you have to make sure that your development expenses generate profits.
Today, many mathematical indicators can be used in marketing. These include: the ROI (return on investment), the acquisition cost for a customer, website traffic, the engagement rate on social media (Facebook, for instance), and conversion rates. It may seem complicated… but I can guarantee you that it isn’t at all. On the contrary, it’s really the magic of math in the service of marketing.
I was born/grew up in: I was born in Algiers, in Algeria (North Africa). I lived and studied there for the first 28 years of my life, before coming to Canada.
I now live in: Boucherville, Quebec
I completed my training/education at: I hold a marketing bachelor’s degree from HEC Alger, in Algeria.
When I was
- Foreign Languages
- Literature & Language Arts
- Enjoyed doing things on my own
- Liked reading
- Didn't really care about grades
- Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
- I was very introverted when I was young