Inspirational Woman: Oana Gheorghita | Founder & Digital Marketing Consultant, SOEM Digital

Oana GheorghitaI am Oana Gheorghita, the go-to Digital Marketing Strategist (THE DMS), helping small businesses, fresh entrepreneurs, and novice marketers to increase their online visibility and sales using digital marketing strategies, efficiently and profitably.

I am an accomplished and experienced marketer, with more than 20 years of professional experience in Commercial Marketing, Trade, and Shopper Marketing, forged in Blue Chip companies such as Unilever, Philips, Nestle, Mars, Dairy Crest, Burton’s Biscuits, and Bidfood Foodservice. I am bringing innovation in projects, igniting brands’ growth, enhancing shopper’s experience, and drive category growth and digital transformation across a diverse range of industries like FMCG and Jewellery & Luxury, Arts and Crafting, Online Retails and more.

I have cross expertise within Consultancy, Recruiting, Technology, Retail, Grocery, Out Of Home, Travel, Foodservice, and E-Commerce channels, both B2B and B2C.

I am both an economist and an engineer by formation, as well as a PD certified professional in Digital Marketing. I hold a wide range of industry-recognized certifications, and I am a Certified NLP Practitioner. All of these skills and certifications are giving me the confidence that I deliver best-in-class results for my students, customers and partners.

I am passionate about tech and AI, a millinery enthusiastic and I am both a technical and a creative mind and spirit.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am an accomplished marketer, with over 20 years of marketing experience, forged in Blue Chip companies such as Unilever. Philips, Nestle, Mars and a few more.

I am an engineer and a marketer by formation with a Post Degree in Digital Marketing. My whole career I have been striving to help brands, shoppers, customers, and businesses to grow their sales, brand awareness, and visibility. I have using my creativity and my out-of-the-box fresh thinking to find new solutions and new ways to enhance customer’s journey and experience online, and at the point of purchase, and I am in continuous search of improving operations. Big data is my best friend. I love to laser-cut through data and transform them into actionable insights, spotting trends and micro universes.

As I am a versatile professional, a fast learner and an action taker. I believe that anything can be learned if there is willing to do it. I’ve been serving so many industries, from FMCG, to domestic appliances and electronics, lighting, pet food, soft drinks, confectionary, diary, foodservice, fashion & luxury, art & crafting, recruiting that now I can say that the key for any new role is to get in the shopper’s (customer’s) shoes, know their pain points and their behaviour and then make their life as easy as possible (whatever they do around your brand/business – research, browsing, shopping, using it, etc). The key to success is to make people happy. Know them better than they know themselves and deliver the solution.

For the past 4 years I have been consulting in Digital Marketing via my agency SOEM Digital, and I have been helping fresh online entrepreneurs, small business owners, novice marketers and Virtual Assistants, to understand and use at its maximum power, digital marketing. I have been supporting them with training, 1-2-1 coaching, business services and lately, with online courses. As each business is unique, there is no day the same, interacting with amazing professionals, empowering them, and seeing them grow and shine, are my biggest motivations to deliver more and more quality to my partners and customers.

SOEM Digital, my digital marketing agency, just won 2 awards, which I am very proud of: The Best Digital Marketing of the Year 2020-2021- Prestige Awards and The Most Empowering Digital Marketing Service Provider of the Year 2020-2021 – by UK Enterprise SME News.

I am from Romania, living in North London with my family and my Yorkie. My additional -creative- business is Oana Millinery, a bespoke hat brand, just voted as the Best Hat Making Company of The Year 2020-2021 London and South East – voted by the Corporate Wire -Prestige Awards.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I can say, I did. Many times. When I have found myself at crosswords, when the role was not challenging enough for me, because I could have delivered even more value to the business and there was no path to grow in the immediate 1-2 years, I have challenged myself to move up in different ways. I have been always a self-starter and always looking to ways to learn more and deeper about how to do my work better and faster. Investing in my learning and up-skilling will always be my priorities.

Some of the most decisive moves I have done in my career – planned and researched on- was moving to the UK leaving behind a senior role in Nestle, with good salary and amazing perks – and starting almost from zero in a totally new market, environment, new language, new technologies new culture, new weather! After 6 years I can say it totally worth it, I would do it again!

Another moment of turning around my career happened 4 years ago when I wanted to shift to digital marketing roles within the companies I was working with. That was a moment of waking up and taking a (nother) big decision: moving further on the same career path, dragged by the long and deep expertise I have in Category Manager and that was very sough after – and well paid – or scramble my career in the middle of my working life, as do what I want to do?

Guess what? I am now a successful and award winner digital marketer! I have taken time to invest in education and complete my traditional, shopper, customer and trade marketing experience with the digital expertise now so much needed by big companies (and not only!) to serve their omni-channel customer.

Maybe you asked yourself why not pursuing a digital role in the same company I was working? I was way too good to what I was already doing, they needed me for that, offering me the chance to change careers meant to look for another professional for my role, not a convenient situation for the company. And on top of these – I did not have the experience – on papers – and they would prefer younger (!) candidates. So here I am, my own boss!

Looking forward, digital marketing is the future, I am here to stay, and I can’t wait to see what technologies are coming towards us and to master them profitably!

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

There were plenty of challenges.

It is all about breaking out from the comfort zone, be confident with your skills and potential and work hard to achieve a level when other will have nothing to comment about your decisions. There will be always people that you know – or you do not- that they will not support or agree with your decisions. You can always hear their opinion, but you will take your decisions by yourself, for your own good.

I consider that every challenge I had to face, made me stronger and considerate, enlarging my mind map and understanding better the world and mechanisms around me. But we are the sum of our challenges and depends on each of us how we decide to face them: full of energy and positively, getting the best out of them, or letting them mark our lives and behaviour. It is a matter of choice.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I believe moving from the corporate world, where you have behind maybe hundreds of years of brand awareness and huge teams of expertise to back up you when facing customers, to being a solo entrepreneur, where you must do everything by yourself – at least at the beginning- and it is your idea, your dream, your profit – or loss- is a huge achievement.

I am sure that each entrepreneur knows the beginning struggles but the satisfaction that comes with a sale made, a customer review, an award, it is totally worth the effort. Now with 3 awards under my belt, for my 2 businesses, it looks I am doing the right thing, and that it is very satisfactory.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

The most important thing in me in achieving success is the clarity of the scope.

Being clear what I want to do, no matter the subject, alongside with my do-er attitude and hunger for seeing it happening, gives me the energy to move mountains, persuade people, learn more and more, and see the thing happening. I am always aware that each thing (scope) has its own time, not always a short one, but I am always looking for ways to improve the processes, automate, do it differently, so I get it a bit sooner – if it physically possible!!

I am a purpose driven professional and this is the red thread that can be seeing throughout all my actions.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I strongly recommend everyone to find themselves a mentor and to be a mentor for someone. Everyone can be a mentor and a mentee at the same time – for different people or subjects.

I have had a mentor in my 20’s when I have discovered NLP and it has been a time of self-discovering and self-development that formed me as I am today. Having a mentor, it is like a fast-track or a short-cut to find the power within faster than majority of the people, because you have the right questions asked to answer. A good mentor is somebody that gets the best out of you, pushes you outside your comfort zone and ask the right questions. He/She would open the doors of curiosity and self-studying and self-discovering in a way you do not even see it. It is someone you look up to and influence your life and pathways in a unique way.

I might have been mentoring someone but not in a formal way – normally, I believe, you would be asked to be someone’s mentor – but I hope I have influenced positively the people around me, by listening to them, getting to know them, and asking the right questions.

I am in search of a mentor, and I am sure I would like to mentor someone too.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I am all-in Gender Equality, and I am encouraging and shouting-out the people that are breaking the stereotypes. I love to see women in space, engineering and even repairing oily car engines, piloting fighting airplanes and being successful in every field of the industry. At the same time, I salute men staying home for paternal holiday, knitting, and wearing skirts. Why not!

If I would be to accelerate the gender equity I would start with a powerful lobby towards educational sector, to change the educational system to be more fluid and inclusive and to teach and expose everyone the same to all the industries and professional skills. Furthermore, as a government, I would incentive the companies to have in all job functions, a perfect gender balance, from the cafeteria level, up to the board management. In the same time I would penalize any gender discrimination – and to name and shame them to give an example. We are in the 21st Century!

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I would advise myself not to let others decide for me, don’t compromise, travel more, learn at least 3 other languages, start a business sooner than later, save money for retirement from day one of your job life and take care of your body and mental health. It is a piece of advice with more pieces of advice in it.

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