Feb 24, 2020
By Blake Marchand
Omid Nadi, Trade Marketing Manager with Ledvance, is a Ryerson University grad coming out of their Marketing management program.
“During my education I had a big interest in innovation, disruption, and data analytics,” he noted, which has influenced his career direction.
While he was in school, he spent four years in appliance sales, “that really gave me a foundation and an understanding of sales and communication.”
He also spent four months at Sears Canada in their online marketing department, “really from that a key learning for me was what happens when a company fails to adapt to the market in a timely basis. There’s a good Darwin quote, ‘It is not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change’ so that was a good learning experience.”
A few months later Omid would graduate from Ryerson and join Ledvance. He had been looking for a rotational program and came across an opening there. A rotational program is where an employee is rotated through various departments and positions to gain a broader experience or perspective of a company and industry. He spent a year at Ledvance’s Boston office in that position, “which was a great experience, I got to work in four departments: Product management, business operations, product marketing, and also worked on some e-commerce projects.”
After that year he returned to Canada in a sales and marketing role and has been in his current position as Trade Marketing Manager for just over a year.
“I execute and manage all of our trade marketing programs for Canada, from promotions to merchandising to different incentive programs that we run – the nice thing is that I get to work closely with our customers and different distribution partners across the country,” he explained of his current role.
“I also work closely with our sales team, so there’s definitely a lot of collaboration involved, a lot of planning, and, really, working towards joint goals, which can make it fun.”
Often, collaboration leads to a better product and having multiple perspectives is key to effective marketing.
“The interesting part is that the industry is changing rapidly, and there are opportunities to try new things, so we’ve done a lot of that in the last few years. Starting to try new marketing programs and different types of promotions,” explained Omid, continuing to discuss his role with Ledvance.
He noted that each year they like to try something new and break new ground as a way to avoid a repetitive cycle. With marketing it is certainly beneficial to maintain consistent messaging, however when that messaging isn’t engaging new and existing market touchpoints, it’s ultimately counter productive.
“That’s the cool thing about marketing – it’s okay to experiment and even fail as long as you learn from it, you kind of have to try new things, so I enjoy that part of seeing what else we can do differently.”
Omid explained that Ledvance has two channels: B2B, being distributors; and B2C, which is end-users. A focus on the B2B side is ensuring there’s an ease of doing business and there is value being provided.
“Over the years I think the expectation of what a manufacturer can provide has increased, so we’re always trying to see what other value we can provide, how else can we help our distributor partners sell more and hit their targets? And, ultimately, it’s about joint success.”
Omid’s route into lighting was his pursuit of a rotational program, so when he applied to Ledvance he didn’t know too much about the industry. Although, he noted that the interview process was actually fairly intensive. As part of the process he had to complete a lighting audit that included developing a proposal and presentation. That intensive process actually forced him to become a little more familiar with lighting than he otherwise would be, serving as a great introduction to the industry.
Omid added that, “I didn’t know much about the industry, but I found the qualities of it was what really pulled me in – it’s very dynamic, it’s rapidly changing, and there’s always challenges. Things move quick and I think those kinds of things create a good environment. An environment where you can learn a lot and build your business acumen, but you can also come in and make an impact.
“And I think it’s an industry open to some disruption, some new innovative ideas – those two things really drove me in.”
“There’s definitely a learning process,” he conceded, and participating in a rotational program was key to curbing that.
“One of the things with Ledvance and myself, there was a quick alignment in terms of core values.” Ledvance’s core values are, “Strive for excellence, winning together, and breaking new ground.”
As Omid mentions above, he is interested in innovation and disruption, and Ledvance’s core values reflect that. And so does the digital-connectivity-data-driven shift in the lighting industry, in general.
Industry Trends in Marketing
With respect to marketing trends, Omid explained that, “what you see in the B2B market is probably about 5-years later than what happens in the B2C market. So, e-commerce, the Amazon’s, and the consumer shopping experience has changed so much. We’re starting to see these trends come into the lighting industry, the electrical industry and the B2B market, where customers are starting to expect a better experience with the ability to be able to purchase online.”
“For us that’s an emerging trend we’re making sure we’re on top of and there to support our distributor partners.”
Increasing customer demands, expectation and adapting to those changes is a major focus. For B2B and B2C channels.
“As the generational shift happens with contractors the younger people coming in, they use their phones much more – if they need a product for a job the first thing they might do is google the nearest distributor or google a product name. So, things like search engine optimization (SEO), mobile friendly microsites and web shops are very important for us,” explained Omid. “The whole digitalization trend definitely impacts how we view the market.”
“In general, as marketers, you want to do be able to do everything,” he said, discussing some of the challenges to his current role. “You want to have something for everybody, and you want to run as many programs and promotions as you can.”
So, the challenge becomes, “prioritizing and focusing on the right activities for certain channels or segments,” and, ultimately, “making sure we’re targeting the right touchpoints, and we’re thinking about our different customers.”
Omid is just three years removed from his graduation and has hit the ground running with his career, finding quick success with Ledvance. He possesses a clear passion for his profession and an inclination toward innovation. And is no doubt poised to continue that progression as the industry progresses further into the digital era.