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French Version

Young leaders in perspective : Bilal Otoum

Having his heart set on becoming a computer programmer, Bilal Otoum instead found himself plunging into the raging sea of marketing, steering advertising campaigns, adds and promotions.

“Marketing is a mix of everything. You can’t say that anybody would understand the four P’s of marketing: Product, Promotion, Place (distribution) and Price.

It’s not a simple process of rationalizing a marketing book,” said Otoum, the regional marketing manager at Siemens since December 2001, and who has 18 years of experience in the field of sales, marketing and advertising. According to Otoum, “Marketing is basically how you do not localize a product. How do you make something out of the basis you have? How do you come up with a strategy and tactic that have a positive result?” “

You have to interact and learn, added Otoum, “now, after you love the job you’re handling, the next logical step is interaction and learning. A knowledge gathering process of some sort that will provide the basis of your marketing strategies later on,” explained Otoum. Growing up in Kuwait, where 136 nationalities existed, provided Otoum with a unique platform that helped in increasing his understanding of different societies, nationalities and exposure to other cultures.

“Looking outside the box, doing it the different way really makes all the difference. If the market wave heading your way is strong and you can divert its route, that’s ok. But if you cannot change its path, ride it, otherwise you’ll drown,” vigorously said Otoum, “this is what I call the art of survival, by not being necessarily strong anymore. Marketing is how you can blend, bond and communicate with people in a different fashion.”

Working between 1996-2001 with AdPro Advertising, which is among the top three advertising agencies in Jordan and which is affiliated to Impact BBDO, Otoum had the opportunity to enhance his work experience by occupying different working positions. Starting from account manager in 1996 for Volkswagen, reaching to account director for Pepsi Cola International (1997-2000) and climbing the final steps of the ladder to become client service director in 2001, Otoum decided it was time to move on to the telecommunication sector. Prior to AdPro Otoum, who was raised and lived most of his life in the Gulf, worked for Al Ghanim Industries-Consumer Electronics in Kuwait in between the years 1986 and 1996. Starting out as a sales representative his personal perseverance led to his attaining the position of senior marketing analyst after becoming product analyst and supervisor.

“First of all you must love what you do, this the key word. If you conduct a statistic on corporate employees you’ll find that the majority of those who like what they do is scarce. Because papa was a doctor I was forced to be a doctor, my father had money so I decided to open a car dealership and it worked or I have ten thousand dinars I opened up a café next to a friend’s grocery shop,” exclaimed Otoum adding, “the process of choosing a career is not organized and haphazard.” “

I love details, I love the big picture and I love the macro and micro. Nothing is really impossible, unless you won’t do it. It is about you trying to do it differently and sometimes you have to be a politician in the way you operate,” explained Otoum. Pointing at a pile of newspapers containing world and local headlines, which he will be using in a marketing presentation Otoum said that the people in those headlines are his target audience and that he needs to communicate with all walks of life.

“One must get close to his local market and present products that are both innovative and are user-efficient.” Otoum further added that Siemens as a company was extremely active on the Jordanian front. “

We were the first company to promote the national basketball team in the King Abdallah II tournament,” added Otoum. According to Otoum, Siemens Communications is one of the largest players in the global communications industry.

“Siemens is the only provider in the market that offers its customers a full-range portfolio, from devices for end users to complex network infrastructures for enterprisers and carriers as well as related services,” said Otoum, “it is the world’s innovation leader in convergent technologies, products and services for wireless, fixed and enterprise networks. It is the largest group within Siemens and operates in more than 160 countries around the world. In fiscal 2003—year-end September 30—its 60,000 strong workforce posted sales of nearly 17 billion euros.”

Mike Derderian
The Star

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