This past January, WOMMA introduced six new board members and it is my privilege to highlight them in the All Things WOMM blog as a series of Q and A interviews. Today, we start with Tanuja Singeetham, who admittedly has been using WOMM since she started at Nestle 20 years ago.
Today, she is the Digital and Social Media Marketing Manager working in the Communications Division of Nestle USA focusing on various interactive and social media efforts across all of Nestle.
Jacob Hurwith: Tell me about your journey through Nestle?
Tanuja Singeetham: I always considered myself a tech geek (my favorite movie is Star Wars) and always thought I would have a career in special effects.
I started in promotions at Nestle before the digital age. We didn’t even have email then. In 1998, digital was on the rise, but there weren’t official jobs related to digital. Because of my passion for technology, my boss said “we need a website and you like computers,” so I was charged with building our first website called FriskyPet.com; and the many that followed. I learned a lot about the power of word of mouth since pet owners love to share stories and pictures about their pets.
JH: How did you get introduced to WOMMA?
TS: In 2006, I attended my first conference in Orlando and had no affiliation to WOMMA. This is when I first realized the industry was changing when it came to conferences. They were moving from tech or promotion conferences to word of mouth conferences.
I had heard it was a great place to see new case studies, learn about engaging campaign ideas, and find ways to generate word of mouth. Also, these conferences really looked at the industry from an experiential point of view. I had never seen that before.
JH: Why did you decide to become a WOMMA board member?
TS: WOMMA has been an organization that I have recommended for years. I have gotten so much out of WOMMA and have applied numerous lessons from WOMMA Summit every year to my work at Nestle. When Pete Blackshaw, one of the founding fathers of WOMMA, brought the idea up to me, I was so honored to be in considered, I had to jump at the opportunity.
Furthermore, the content has always inspired me as the association really is top notch. To be involved with a board like that; I was very excited to say the least.
JH: Why is WOMM important?
TS: Because the greatest impact on purchase decisions is a recommendation from a person and now that the power of online reviews and social platforms are growing, the impact is greater and growing exponentially.
It is becoming harder and harder for brands to break through the clutter and generating WOMM has been a key to building Nestle brands.
JH: What is the most interesting lesson you have learned at a WOMMA event?
TS: In 2007, I saw Chip Heath speak (co-author of “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die"). He showed us that there are different ways to look at the target audience and creating engaging messages that “stick.”
He was so good, we even had him present at a Nestle marketing event the next year.
JH: Is there anything else you would like to share with our membership?
TS: I truly believe in word of mouth. The power of being a great story teller in life makes us interesting. It makes our brands interesting.
It is not about the technology. It is about the people. At end of the day, consumers are people, just like you and me. I find it so exciting to find out how people tick and what motivates them.
By understanding key insights into how we are wired, we can better create impactful messages that help us achieve our business objectives. WOMMA provides the space to see how others understand their target audiences.
So many great campaigns I have done have come from an idea sparked at WOMMA. On the board or not, if I could only go to one conference a year, it would be WOMMA.