Since 1 December 2020, Mareen Bogerd has been the new Marketing and Product Management Manager. Her interest in the other side of the chain, the appeal of the green sector, and the chance to use her retail experience were the reasons for her to switch from retail to Anthura, a breeding company.
Can you explain your choice of this position?
For the past fifteen years, I have worked at the intersection of stores, consumers and assortment. One question was central to this: what range does the shop need in order to provide the best possible service to the consumer? The shelves are not made of elastic, and the aim is to help the consumer make choices and avoid selection stress. Then you decide what to communicate about it and how to get the message across in the best possible way. Of course, in doing so, you include the affiliated entrepreneurs, franchisees, in the choices you make with regard to assortment, promotions and selling prices, and you enable the shops to meet the often latent consumer demand as well as possible.
I had been curious about the other side of the chain for some time, and that interest was multifaceted. In my current position, everything came together unexpectedly. Questions like „Why do producers choose to market a certain product, with which goal and with what expectations?” I can now ask our customers. My knowledge of retail helps in discussions with our growers and I can translate the wishes of retail into the offer and the assortment of the customer. The customer focus that comes naturally from retail helps to translate our technical product focus into what the customer and the customer’s customer want.
In addition, a long-term partnership with franchisees is similar to the partnership we have with our clients. You both have your own interest, and when you find the common interest, 1+1=3. The finishing touch for me is that our sector leads the way when it comes to innovation and sustainability, and that it is all about plants; products that make you happy and make the world a more colourful place. What more could you want?
What does your job entail?
The position of Marketing and Product Management Manager is, in a nutshell, about estimating consumer demand, now and in the future, and providing the best possible response to customers in terms of product, range and communication.
You’ve been on the job over six months. Is it what you expected it to be, and why?
It’s even more fun than I expected. A world has really opened up for me. This is partly due to the sector, which is very progressive and tries to fathom the secret of 'nature’. Anthura is an enormously innovative, technically-orientated company with many passionate colleagues. There is a basic attitude of 'getting better every day’. If a colleague comes up with an idea, we look at how we can bring that idea to a higher level together. That fits in very well with who I am: always looking at what can be improved or changed in order to then do it even better together. And of course we also look at what is not going well, with the aim of learning from it and how things can be improved. In practice, this means that we don’t go down the beaten path, but look at different ways of achieving our goal.
What goals have you set for yourself?
The most important contribution I can make is to see how we can help our customers to make even better choices of varieties. One variety may suit the working method of one customer better than another. This may be related to faster cultivation, for example, or because a customer mainly exports to a specific country where other 'requirements’ apply. Then, it is important that we tell the story of the varieties we breed to the customer’s customer or even the customer of the customer’s customer. Are you still with me? In fact, all the department’s activities are related to this: breeding strategies, market introductions, concepts, novelties, trade fairs, communication, too much to mention. I’m very curious as to what this area will be like in five years’ time.
What has struck you the most so far?
What touched me the most was the passion and commitment of all my colleagues. The way I was welcomed by all the departments, how we make plans together, how we can take the next steps, and how everyone has given me the time to feel at home in this very inspiring world of anthuriums and orchids.
What is the biggest challenge in your job? Why?
As a department, we are a spider in the web. We connect the wishes of consumers in 10-20 years’ time with the research and breeding questions of today. This is, of course, extremely complex, because consumers are not thinking now about what they will need or find beautiful in 10 or even 20 years’ time. It means listening carefully and observing developments. Fortunately, I don’t do this alone, but together with many colleagues from different departments.
This journey has just started for me and in the past few months I have taken the time to get to know Anthura, my colleagues, some of our customers, partners and suppliers, and to deepen my knowledge of the sector. That alone is overwhelming and interesting and takes a lot of time. Now a new phase is beginning and that is to turn all my ideas and concoctions into concrete plans. I’m taking on this challenge with great pleasure and confidence!