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Navigating Marketing Challenges: Insights from Fractional CMO Prenessa Nalliah
In a recent podcast episode, Ethan Baird interviews Prenessa Nalliah, a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) with extensive experience in helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) bridge their marketing skill gaps.

Prenessa shares her career journey and offers valuable advice for business owners.

In this article, we’ll delve into Prenessa’s insights and discuss some common misconceptions about marketing, the challenges posed by non-marketers making marketing decisions, and effective strategies for navigating these hurdles.


A Diverse Background: From Architecture to Marketing:

Prenessa’s career path took an unexpected turn when she transitioned from studying architecture to discovering her passion for marketing.

Her desire to work with people and make a positive impact led her to explore different avenues, eventually landing in the field of corporate communication.

Her experience in running a fundraiser and empowering individuals highlighted her strengths in connecting with people and bridging gaps, which aligned with the essence of marketing.

Prenessa emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and being open to exploring diverse opportunities to find one’s true passion.


The Misconception of Marketing as Easy:

With the advent of social media and easily accessible marketing resources, many individuals believe that marketing is easy and can be self-diagnosed.

Prenessa cautions against this misconception, likening it to diagnosing oneself in a medical context.

Effective marketing requires expertise, experience, and a deep understanding of strategy and consumer behavior.

Business owners must trust and empower marketing professionals, allowing them the freedom to utilize their skills and knowledge to achieve desired results.


Dealing with Non-Marketers Making Marketing Decisions:

One challenge faced by marketers is when non-marketers, including upper management, impose their ideas and disrupt the established marketing cycle.

Prenessa highlights the importance of effective communication skills in such situations.

Clear and open communication between marketers and decision-makers is vital to ensure that everyone understands their roles and respects each other’s expertise.

Business owners should trust their marketing professionals and provide them with the necessary resources and frameworks to execute successful marketing strategies.


Embracing Cultural Diversity in Business:

In today’s globalized world, businesses often operate across diverse cultural contexts.

Prenessa emphasizes the significance of understanding and appreciating different cultures, as it influences communication styles and decision-making frameworks.

Marketers must be aware of cultural nuances and adapt their strategies accordingly.

By fostering an environment that encourages cultural exchange and learning, businesses can harness the power of diversity to drive innovation and better serve their customers.


Nurturing Long-Term Goals:

Prenessa advises marketers to focus on the overarching goals of the business and avoid getting caught up in short-term “popcorn ideas” that frequently change.

By keeping the original objectives in mind, marketers can ensure a consistent and cohesive approach to their strategies.

Open dialogue and understanding between marketers and decision-makers enable the alignment of ideas with long-term goals, fostering sustainable growth and success.



Prenessa Nalliah’s journey from architecture to marketing provides valuable insights into the challenges faced by businesses, particularly SMMEs, in effectively managing their marketing efforts.

By dispelling misconceptions about marketing, fostering open communication, embracing cultural diversity, and focusing on long-term goals, businesses can navigate these challenges and achieve meaningful marketing outcomes.

Trusting and empowering marketing professionals, while respecting their expertise, is crucial for the success of any marketing strategy.

You can listen to the episode here:

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