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Vita Kadile interview

Interview: Vita Kadile

vita kadile

Vita Kadile is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in Marketing at Leeds University Business School, UK, where she also earned her PhD in Entrepreneurial Marketing with University of Leeds scholarship. Her research interests include cognitive and behavioural entrepreneurship, as well as international and strategic marketing. Vita’s research has been published in internationally renowned academic journals, such as Journal of Small Business ManagementInternational Marketing Management, and International Small Business Journal. Her work has been awarded with a prestigious ‘Research Impact Prize’ for outstanding contribution into impact beyond academia. Vita Kadile also served as an Assistant Managing Editor for the Journal of International Marketing. Before commencing her academic career, Vita Kadile worked as a Marketing Manager in a large hotel, where she gained extensive practical insights in corporate strategy development and international promotion. Please enjoy our interview with Vita Kadile.

Talk us through a typical day for you…

My day always starts with a strong coffee and spending some time with my daughter.  Since she also acts as a live alarm clock, I had consistently early mornings in the past 8 months. First thing I do before getting into work is going through my to do list for the day, along with any other items planned for the current work week. I do have lists for everything, and a list of to do lists as well. Having it written down and planned takes pressure off my brain and leaves extra space to focus on things that matter.

I would normally start with replying to emails and then, depending on the semester, I’d teach several lectures or seminars of Marketing Research module at the University. It’s very liberating to teach something I truly believe is one of the most important things in marketing – how to find out and understand who your customers are, both current and prospective. In between teaching I typically work on research projects, be it the conceptualisation of initial idea, data collection/analysis or writing up stage. In addition to work, I try to squeeze in some running, swimming, tennis or yoga. My day finishes with a lovely dinner (I love to cook), followed by some art movie or an episode of crime investigation series with my partner.

How did you get into marketing?

I was always a people’s person. After I graduated from school, I had plans to apply this attribute in event management or journalism. But while doing my undergraduate studies in business and management, I discovered marketing and went through an incredible transformation. Before, I thought that success in business comes predominantly from a great product, skilled employees or a cool idea, but in fact, marketing was a backbone holding all those pieces together. It’s like I found my religion. It was unquestionable.

I chose a specialisation in hospitality marketing and started my career in corporate communications strategy of a large independent (non-chain) hotel. I loved everything about my job apart from the fact that I couldn’t work in all marketing domains at once, as it just wouldn’t have been possible. Neither could I switch between various marketing roles frequently, because that would have just seemed weird or suspicious. To understand where I see myself further, I decided to gain some additional knowledge and embarked on my master’s in International Marketing Management.

Towards the end of my postgraduate course, I was approached by the head of the marketing division to discuss potential PhD proposal. Until then it never even crossed my mind to join academia, it was really not something I ever considered. But later on, I realised that academia made it possible to combine three most important criteria of any job – autonomy, task variety, and interaction. It has been almost 10 years and I still love this almost holistic way of practicing marketing – teaching students, doing research and consulting businesses. 

Where do you get your latest marketing news and tips from?

I am subscribed to various academic and industry journals, including The Entrepreneur, Business Todayand California Management Review. I am also a part of several special interest groups within British, European, and American Marketing Associations. Another important way of getting latest trends and developments comes from attending and presenting at conferences around the world and topic-related webinars. Other sources include Market Research Society, FT, and Wired

What one piece of advice would you give a small business owner looking to market their business?

Since I do research on entrepreneurial passion and business start-ups in particular, I am lucky enough to meet and chat with a lot of aspiring small business owners on a regular basis. What I’ve learned over years is that good business owners (and marketeers alike) know what consumers want. Great business owners know how to convince that their product is what consumers need. In a world where overconsumption is frowned upon, take example of those who focus on experience. So, my advice would be to emphasize the unique features of the product or service and the way it can make consumers’ lives genuinely better, or at least easier. Of course, all of this can only be possible when backed with ongoing market research.

What’s the best book on marketing you’ve ever read? What lessons did you take away from it?

I’ll have to say Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom. I often research cognitive and behavioural marketing and entrepreneurship, and this book managed to assure me that we still have a lot to learn about why people do what they do (not just in terms of buying) and where does marketing stand in all of this.

With your experience in hospitality, how do you think social media should fit into the marketing strategy for organisations in that industry?

When I started working in hospitality marketing, our hotel didn’t even have a social media account, just a web page. Nowadays, good hotels and restaurants take pride in their extensive social media presence. When it comes to hospitality, social media is of utmost importance, because essentially what the industry is selling are heterogenous experiences.

Hospitality businesses should use social media strategy to compensate for the lack of tangibility of their services, creating visually appealing, relevant, and targeted content that can generate following and, ultimately, sales. SMM provides opportunity to reach and (most importantly) hear back from large numbers of customers, whether it is to do with Q&As, own- and third-party reviews or promotions to name a few. Then, service offering should be developed based on those customer insights gained through social media ‘intelligence’. Eventually with the development of artificial intelligence even the words that are used can be tailored towards the visitor profile. 

Do you have a favourite marketing campaign of recent years? What was it and why does it stick in the memory?

It’s hard to pick just one and I have so many that I really like! The one that comes to mind as an exemplary rebranding trick is the Stella Artois ‘C’est Cidre not Cider’ campaign. Launched to shake off the brand’s lager-related dull image, these artfully executed short films with remarkable cinematography and great music managed to associate the brand that everyone knew as a budget lager with the classy, stylish and almost luxurious lifestyle of carefree Provence.  

What advice would you give a business owner who is stepping into the world of social media for the first time?

Make a list (always!) of what you want to gain through social media channels. Be realistic and specific. Is it about generating informative content that eventually turns followers into customers? Is it about boosting brand awareness and retaining existing customer base? Or is it about inviting people to join in on a special cause that you want to support? Start with one item on that list and gradually evolve into an all-encompassing online ecosystem of your business.

In three words; describe the future of marketing.

Customer-profiling, artificial intelligence, sustainability.

To learn more about Vita Kadile, be sure to visit her faculty page.