May 27, 2024 3 min read

Shape the Markets

My name is Khalil Guliwala. I'm an Indian Muslim educated by the British, with a Middle Eastern upbringing. I'm proud to be a Quebecer and a Canadian. I'm a Marketing and Sales professional with ten years of experience in Relationship Building, Financial Analysis, and Strategic Communications. My career success came from leveraging data-driven strategies to drive revenue growth and client engagement in the e-commerce, healthcare, and retail industries.

Growing up, living with so many different cultures, I was always fascinated by other people, which made me ask questions like:

• What moves them and drives them?
• What kind of world do they want to shape?
• What brings them laughter and sadness?
• How can I build relationships to make the world better?

As marketers, we seek to understand the market to get inside the customers' hearts and minds and move their souls. Understanding the people and the market is only the beginning. Don't forget that you must constantly push back to shape the markets around you.

Think of the People

Integrity is vital in marketing because, when done ethically, it promotes the best products and services to match our needs, and the company successfully brings in revenue. On the other hand, if the marketing is parasitic, deceitful or unethical and doesn't meet our needs, we are left poorer and can be manipulated. Don't take advantage of the weak and the marginalized. Have ethical standards and say no when marketing crosses the line and becomes manipulative. Think of the people behind every marketing dashboard and KPI metric as human beings who deserve to be helped and supported.

Show Expertise

Initially, recruiters and colleagues questioned whether a newcomer and minority could understand "mainstream Canadians." I leveraged my prior work in epidemiological research, which was essentially about how groups of people think, move, and act. I spent time as I do today, pouring over market research and statistics reports and any source that aims to understand Canadian identity and psycho-social preferences on a federal and provincial level.

By mastering this demographic information and combining it with insights, I present my opinions on consumers backed by real data. This approach has given me an edge, as it shows my expertise without getting trapped with questions about my background or appearance. I also got good at financial analysis, modelling, and projections. By taking this on myself, I was able to assume a driving role when it came to defining strategy and be more proactive when it came to handling any turbulence in the market.

My Advice

Spend more time understanding market research.

Take the time to know your customers. Millions of dollars are spent to understand the very people you want to market to, and this information is often published for free.

Get comfortable with AI.

AI is a powerful tool, and while your schools might ban you from using it, companies are actively encouraging their staff to do the opposite to reduce costs. Believe the hype and master it.

Speak data and understand how it flows in a company.

Spend some time understanding basic statistics and how data flows across organizations because you never know. For me, so much of the marketing I do requires working with data science and engineers.

Trends

Ethnocultural marketing: There's been a growing rise in ethnocultural marketing in Canada, which aligns with the shifting population demographics. For the most part, it's still seen as an afterthought for big companies; however, I've noticed better marketing coming out.

AI, AI, AI: From copywriting and image generation to strategy development and personalized user experiences, AI at this scale has caused a paradigm shift comparable to when computers became part of offices.

Proudest Accomplishments

My proudest accomplishment is and always will be my family. I'm truly blessed because we work on our relationships and love and support each other.

Professionally, my proudest accomplishment was launching my passion project, the BIPOC Manager Podcast. After being racially harassed at a few workplaces, I decided to make a podcast to share information on how minorities can overcome bias and prejudice at work. The podcast lets me connect with CEOs, HR, activists, and researchers to unpack what minorities go through at work and build a library of knowledge. It's a real labour of love for me and something I'm proud of daily. I'm also working on a book on career advancement for minorities to get all that knowledge in one place.
Be Good

Early on, I realized I had to be good so no one could ignore me. When I speak and present, the audience knows I'm an expert. That's why I continuously upskill myself and am both a generalist and a specialist (or, instead, a specialist in many domains). My advice is to be too good to ignore.



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