Claudia Marta: Impossible Is Nothing!
We seldom see the huge efforts and sacrifices that they have made; we only see the final result and covet what they have now. Moreover, we try to find some recipe to take us “to the heights” of personal affirmation. A lot of work, passion, ambition and perseverance are the “secret ingredients” that have brought recognition to Claudia Marta. Nevertheless, she might not have managed to have an enviable career if she had not followed the credo that is still guiding her life: “Impossible is nothing!“. This is how a winner thinks, no matter what the area of activity!
Claudia Marta, Senior Marketing Manager of Western Union Romania and Bulgaria, is a graduate of the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Trade Department, majoring in marketing.
Her job description now covers a broad area, from defining comprehensive programs to help meet the business objectives, to defining and implementing the marketing objectives and strategy for the two countries she coordinates, Romania and Bulgaria, the PR and communication strategy, defining the media plans, implementing and measuring the advertising projects. Job responsibilities also include defining the customized plan for each individual partner, in order to ensure the fulfillment of business objectives or launching new services on the market.
Training courses, a necessity for professionals
As for schooling, Claudia Marta says it has prepared her for a very good start, at the time. Now, however, she is sure there should be more cooperation between faculties and companies, especially in internships, so that the young people may acquire a minimal experience when they graduate from higher education. “This would make it easier for them to integrate into professional life”, the specialist opines.
Claudia took several specialist courses such as Marketing Metrics offered by GFK, the Six Sigma – Yellow Belt courses, leadership training…, thinking that it is important for a professional to be permanently in contact with what is going on in the industry. Furthermore, she is convinced that the information one gets access to in such courses, and the people one meets there, are just as important.
But she has not always wanted to become a marketing specialist. When she was little, Claudia wanted to be a doctor. In the 8th grade, she took part in the Anatomy School Olympics with this idea in mind. But at the very last minute, she changed direction, and chose to attend high school “Virgil Madgearu“ and follow economics studies instead. “After the Revolution, talking to my parents, we thought that the years to come would bring growth and significant diversification in the economic sector and specialists would be needed. Which actually did happen” Marta says.
Only in the second year in university did she realize what path she really wanted to follow in her career. “After my first two years of higher education, I discovered marketing and decided to specialize in this area. Even though, at first, I did not have a clear idea of what it meant, it sounded very business, professional and western! I remember I was fascinated by the courses in promotional techniques. Even at that time, I was thinking it would be so super to work in an advertising agency. In my last years at University, I was wishing I could find work in an advertising agency and even saw my dream come true”, the marketing specialist reminisces, nostalgically.
Claudia wanted to work in advertising while still a student. And she very earnestly pursued this dream: she did her homework thoroughly and found out what advertising agencies worked in the Capital, sending them all her CV. She was invited to several interviews, but she only wanted to work for an agency. “I can still remember I was accepted by two large and reputable agencies on the same week, so I was given a chance to choose. This is how I started with Lintas (now Lowe and Partners) where I spent six months as account executive.” She was fascinated by everything that happened in that idea factory and keen to learn as much and as fast as possible. On her first day at work – the 8th March 1998 – she stayed in the office till 11 at night, working on a project for Johnson and Johnson. And she went on at the same pace during the following days and weekends, on accounts such as ING Nederlanden, Metro, 3M, Astra Zeneca or Hilton. She was young and full of energy “All I wanted was to become one of those people who, at the time, were working as group account manager or marketing directors with the clients we had”. Yet, even at the time, she was sure that, in order to get there, she would need to work hard and was willing to do everything as well and as passionately as she could. After all, she was already doing what she had been dreaming to do while in college.
There is no “can’t do”
Later on, a former mate from college, who was working for D’Arcy, asked her if she might be interested in an account executive job, as they had just won an account for a mobile telephone company and they needed people. Claudia was tempted by the change. She went to two interviews and got the job. This is how she started to work for D’Arcy, on the Connex account. She was immediately fascinated by the work rate and she was in love with what she was doing. “I worked with Alfred Borcan, Romina Tăzlăoanu, Sorin Popescu and with Aneta Bogdan – every one of them extraordinary people from whom I learned a lot. It was the time when I learned that there is no «can’t do». I should also add that as a person and in my work approach I fit in with the agency’s policy and the customer’s expectations – I even believed that no «mission» was impossible. In my everyday work at the agency, when a department said it can’t be done, I knew that as the account manger, had to find a solution and offer it to the client”, Claudia Marta proudly states. An example is the time when, for a campaign, she had to find a “Dacian wolf”. The production department could not find one, but Claudia had the idea to go to the Military Museum. She requested a meeting with the manager and obtained the “Dacian wolf”. “I left carrying it in my arms, in a taxicab, although it was quite valuable. After the shoot, I returned it in good condition“, Marta adds.
Another time, while everyone was searching for the key message for a brief having to do with a discount tariff on the Kamarad card, Claudia came up with “one cent, tariff with no precedent“. Ultimately, this became the campaign slogan, as the creation department accepted it was the most suitable message.
She does not remember ever saying during those years that something could not be done. “I found solutions, even if it meant a lot of adventure. Not infrequently, we got the brief on a Friday and we had a week plus the two weekends maximum to put it on air. I worked on Connex go, on the launching of the Kamarad card at a pace worthy of Formula 1. That was the training that prepared me for taking on more responsibility” she adds.
In 2002, Claudia started working for several accounts. She worked with Brau Union, Azimuth, Western Union. It was the time when she started collaborating with Alexandru Bădulescu, for Western Union. At the time, he was building a team. She liked it and, after passing the recruitment process successfully, she joined the team. After nearly five years with D’Arcy, she was feeling well prepared for advertising and wanted to understand the process from a customer’s marketing angle as well, to experiment the connection with the business side of the brief, before it comes to the agency.
After a number of interviews, she was again offered the chance to obtain the desired job. Her new responsibilities included the marketing plan for two countries – Romania and, at the time, the Republic of Moldova. “I was pleased with the trust they were showing me, but, on the other hand, there have been sleepless nights, when I took down my old manuals from university, as I had to read up again on the media, PR, management sides, that I no longer mastered as well as I wished. The strategy I adopted was to work with the best on the market. So far, it has proved to be a good strategy and I learned a lot from each of my collaborators. And here I am, with this company for nine years already. I can say that I have had a lot of recognition internally, within the company, as well as outside. And, very importantly, from the consumers – as the results of marketing research has clearly proven”, Claudia Marta upholds.
In 2010 and 2011, Western Union was recognized by the consumers as a „Superbrand in Romania”.
“When I strongly believe in an idea, I find the arguments and the talent to sell it to others”
As the Western Union service is meant for customers who want to send money from one country to another, she also had to meet the challenge of implementing a number of broad programs in Italy. She caught a plane and went to organize the tender. She selected the agency, defined the project and monitored its implementation. It was about a caravan in 18 Italian cities, very well received by the public and the media. “This is what I like best about this job, I get exposure to other cultures, I need to be well informed at all times, on the economic and political side, a such aspects can influence our activities and results”, Marta confesses.
Claudia also had projects involving local initiative, acclaimed by the market, and which acquired the status of “best practice” for the large global campaign. These included the image building campaign of 2006, organized with Next, the benefit campaign of 2007, with Doc Comm Advertising and the campaigns launching the money transfer service within Romania, with Doc Comm Advertising, in 2009, then with Next, in 2010. “All of these were projects in which I invested energy and trust and which involved a complex «selling» process within the company. When I strongly believe in an idea, I find the arguments and the talent to sell it to others“.
From her position in the company, she cooperates with partners in banking, postal services and retail – each and every one and opportunity to improve her professional experience and to meet with exceptional professionals from whom one always has something to learn, such as Anca Rarău, Mariana Iosif, Simona Ghiţă, Doris Dezzani, Daniela Budurea. “I think that the most important thing is to do what I do with dedication. I believe I am a spontaneous, action focused person, so that many ideas that emerge in discussions or meetings have materialized as projects. For me, it was important to feel encouragement, to assume responsibilities and put my ideas into practice, and the results were not late in coming”, she states.
Give people the chance to make decisions on their own
Always treat others as you wish they treated you! is Claudia’s philosophy in life. It may be why the management style she uses as a specialist, that she likes and believes will give the best results, is to give people the chance to make decisions on their own. “You help them, when needed, you respect them and show, whenever you have the opportunity, that you trust their decisions. In my experience, their reaction is not to let you down and to meet your expectations as agreed at the start. Working with concrete objectives, agreed upon at the beginning of the year, will set the rules of the game for the whole period. Of course, I agree to consult along the way, if necessary. People know they can talk to me at any time, I have created a relaxed atmosphere, of cooperation, that may stimulate them and enhance their creativity “, Marta says, adding that, for motivation, recognition and awards for merit work very well.
“When somebody trusts you, you do not want to disappoint, and want to show it can be done“
In recent years, she has managed to balance time at work with time for the family. For everything to work well, Claudia needs to be contented personally, as well as professionally, so she applies efficiency principles at home as well as on the job. “I like going to the mountains, to the seaside, play with my daughter. I have written poetry, with my daughter’s encouragement. A poem was even published by the publishing house «Cărţile Lucia Muntean», in the e-book “Mama mea scrie o carte” [Mummy is Writing a Book]. When somebody trusts you, you do not want to disappoint, and you want to show that it can be done. My little girl taught me that I can do everything I want. In truth, I also tell her constantly that she has to be ambitious. If she does not succeed the first time, she should try again and again for as many times as it takes, and she will succeed for sure.
“I feel fulfilled professionally as well as personally. If I were to choose between my family and my job, although there has never been a need so far, I would choose my family. With the experience I have gained, I can start something else, any time and anywhere, if I have my dear ones near me to encourage and believe in me“, she strongly states.
The recipe for success: when you start in life, demonstrate passion, dedication, appreciate what you have and persevere in showing that you are the best at your job. “It won’t go unnoticed. I have met young people who want to progress very fast, in one year, to obtain what my generation obtained in five. This is not possible! …especially with this economic climate. I recommend The leader who had no title, by Robin Sharma. Choose to do in life the thing you like best, the thing that makes you get up like a spring in the morning, to have ideas before you go to bed, to find solutions, sometimes even while you sleep, and do it with passion. With perseverance, confidence in yourself, and you will make it”, Marta concludes.