Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You’re reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Managing projects in leading global corporations is an ambitious and responsible task that requires in-depth analysis and innovative approaches. Mikhriniso “Niso” Nigmatullina—an expert with a decade of experience in strategic marketing, e-commerce, and business development—provides valuable insight on crafting and executing highly effective marketing strategies and her proven techniques for surpassing KPIs.
Initially, Mikhriniso built a successful career at Procter & Gamble in the CIS market, where she was promoted from intern to manager, overseeing the online commerce segment of the company’s pharmaceutical brands after a breakthrough in improving commercial performance. She is now responsible for developing the B2B division in the US sector of VistaPrint (Depositphotos) —a global e-commerce corporation that offers royalty-free content for the marketing needs of businesses and private clients.
Do Not Be Afraid to Change Established Routines
“When developing a marketing strategy, it is crucial not to be afraid to question existing approaches and boldly introduce new ones. This applies to both offline and online sales, and has helped me succeed many times in the companies I have worked with,” shared Niso.
During one of her first projects at Procter & Gamble, Niso swiftly increased sales of the entire Health & Beauty segment on hypermarket shelves by 11%.
“I was in charge of one of the largest retail chains, with 12 hypermarkets under my responsibility. The task was to improve the representation of Procter & Gamble brands in the Health & Beauty segment on the shelves and increase sales turnover. Having analyzed the existing product shelving and identifying numerous shortcomings, I decided to carry out a complete optimization.”
Niso developed a new shelving concept that allowed customers to better navigate the products. The marketer created a focus on customer preferences instead of price: positioning premium and popular category brands at customers’ eye level, restulting in an increase of the most suitable products for their needs rather than the cheapest. In addition, Niso introduced cross-selling in hypermarkets, bundles of related products, and promotional campaigns.
As a result, sales increased for Procter & Gamble brands within the Health & Beauty category in each hypermarket under Niso’s supervision.
“Working on the new concept required a deep dive into sales statistics both globally and at each individual store,” the marketer explained.
She engaged Procter & Gamble’s research team in developing the new strategy, and established personal communication with merchandisers and retail chain supervisors, which was no small feat.
“One of the difficulties of working in the CIS market was the hierarchy factor within the companies. Salespeople were inclined to follow corporate procedures. In my experience, salespeople in the US often have more autonomy and freedom to make decisions based on the client’s needs. However, I was able to build communication in the CIS market with clients in a way that reduced the hierarchy factor and convinced them of the validity behind our strategy. With this strategy, I strived to solve problems personally with each store,” said Niso.
The speed of sales increased, which motivated the retail chain to increase its purchases from Procter & Gamble. As a result, competing hypermarkets also adopted and implemented Niso’s developed shelving concept.
Niso was awarded for her achievements and promoted to a managerial position. She has become responsible for one of the vital e-commerce channels for P&G pharmaceutical brands—Russia’s most significant national pharmaceutical network.
“My next task was to increase sales of our brands in the leading online network through optimization. I managed to solve many problems: to establish relevant output on the site, to improve navigation and user experience (UX), to reduce the number of clicks on the user’s path to purchase, and to implement a system of recommending products suitable for the customer. I insisted on changing the network format from a simple online catalog to a customized sales system.”
“Thanks to the optimization, customers received a user-friendly interface and product suggestions relevant to their shopping carts. We implemented purchase analytics, updated the marketing strategy, launched promotions and co-sales, and emphasized large packaging options—which sell well in online channels, unlike in-store,” the specialist noted.
As a result, sales of both Procter & Gamble brands and the entire pharmaceutical chain’s product category soared 300% year-over-year. Under Niso’s leadership, the project received the prestigious P&G Gold Award for a significant increase in online retail efficiency within one year and personalized solutions for businesses.
Calculate Financial Risks and Plan Your Moves in Advance
Niso introduced the Investment Criteria Calculator to accurately calculate expenses and forecast the budget when making business decisions.
“Based on the formulas I developed, the calculator helped evaluate potential overspending and limitations before implementing new mechanisms—including marketing. As the world’s largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, on the one hand, has never spared promotion budgets, but on the other, expenses should not work against profits,” Niso explained.
The budget calculator allowed the sales team to improve the evaluation and planning of marketing activities, preempting overspending. This helped reduce financial risks and achieve significant savings by avoiding ineffective solutions.
“The principle of forward-looking results calculation helped me in my further work in the US market, where success in sales is always evaluated based on clear sales targets and performance metrics. But in the CIS, this method was not a priority at the time. I noticed that sometimes employees were more focused on processes and personal relationships than on metrics. During that period, I realized that I was more aligned with the first approach and tried to focus the team and partners on KPIs, reducing the influence of subjective factors,” Niso emphasized.
The strategic planning approaches she developed remain relevant for Procter & Gamble. The company still uses the Investment Calculator and the marketing concept introduced by Niso.
Engage Opinion Leaders
As numerous studies show, today, the opinion of influencers is often a key factor in making purchasing decisions online, especially for teenagers and young adults—the so-called ‘Zoomers’—or Generation Z.
“The focus on brand promotion in social media is particularly relevant for the US market. Social Media Marketing is also gaining importance in the CIS, but traditional methods still have a significant impact. As one of the most progressive corporations, P&G paid great attention to social media, even back then. I was participating in making decisions about which bloggers to work with coordinating the financial aspect and brands. All SMM campaigns were calculated and thought out—analyzing click-through and engagement rates on their accounts beforehand. I only engaged those who resonated with the brand and genuinely drove sales.”
For preliminary calculations, the marketer actively utilized the Investment Calculator. As a result, pharmaceutical products were consistently and effectively sold, specifically through the sales channel overseen by Niso.
“We collaborated with top bloggers who, for instance, shared their pregnancy stories while showcasing our pregnancy tests. In these cases, I always ensured that influencers provided a link to the website of the pharmacy chain I was supervising. This way, I was able to attract additional traffic to the site. With our conversion rate, we tracked how many clicks were made on our social media ads, how many users clicked on the banner, and how many eventually purchased the product,” Niso said.
Today, it’s essential to accelerate the consumer’s path to product purchase as much as possible.
“For convenience, you can use QR codes that immediately direct potential consumers to the purchase page. Users don’t have time to search for links on their own and navigate through them,” the marketer believes.
Personalized Approach to the Client
Developing a marketing strategy and implementing business decisions requires a lot of ‘homework.’
“At P&G, we studied the behavior of millions of consumers to develop effective approaches. We conducted extensive Market Research for the B2C segment. Now, at VistaPrint (Depositphotos), I am developing the B2B segment. My task is to formulate a relevant offer for each specific company client—to boost sales, attract new customers, and retain existing ones,” explained Niso.
In the past year, she has managed to exceed KPI targets.
“The metrics are constantly improving because, in addition to conducting market research, I have started taking the most personalized approach in communicating with the client.”
The expert is now responsible for business development within the Depositphotos division of VistaPrint, serving as a Senior Business Development Manager. Her clients are large companies that buy photos, videos, and audio for business purposes.
Niso has developed a strategic marketing model based on a customization and structuring approach. This model has proven effective within the B2B sales division under her supervision and demand for the Depositphotos business.
“Don’t rush to impose your services on the client,” Niso stated. “In the case of large deals, it’s important to work individually. You first need to establish a dialogue with the decision-maker to reach a potential customer. I conduct a preliminary conversation to determine what specific content the company uses and in what quantity. I inquire about their challenges and needs. Only by understanding all the nuances can you formulate a customized offer.”
“For example, a regular marketing agency only needs to sell hundreds of units of content per month; however, a company developing Artificial Intelligence algorithms may require hundreds of thousands of images to train a neural network. Some clients prioritize content licensing, while others, such as non-profit organizations, focus on price, as they don’t generate revenue. That’s why every commercial proposal might be customized depending on every client’s needs,” she explained.
“One of the critical drivers of customer acquisition KPIs is finding new niches. I call this ‘Identifying New Business Opportunities.’ I open up new sectors alongside our existing customer categories—such as art, design, AI, and educational organizations. I customize my approach and offer to each client’s needs for Depositphotos—including content request promotion strategy.”
With a focus on personalization, Niso has reached a 15% increase in new customers annually.
It’s One Thing to Get It. It’s Another to Keep It.
Niso works with hundreds of clients simultaneously. She maintains a customer retention rate, or a loyal customer base, at no less than 80%—meaning that the majority of companies consistently renew their subscriptions.
“I stick to clear structuring. I have organized my database with maximum details about when, to whom, and by what means I should address—even down to what holiday to congratulate them. I recommend not just tracking when someone’s subscription runs out, but communicating with the customer several times throughout the year; finding out what they like, what concerns them, and identifying areas for growth. Thanks to such attentiveness, clients return to me and continue to purchase content,” Niso shared.
“Generally, this is a striking feature of doing business in the US—emphasizing personal relationships with customers, active listening, and understanding their needs. I believe the CIS market is still transitioning to full customization,” she added.
“Email marketing works well as a communication tool. It allows a brand not only to remind customers about itself but also to stimulate additional sales.”
For example, when an advertising agency only purchases photos but has the opportunity to buy video and music, it would be a smart move to offer them a custom selection. If the agency specializes in fashion, you can provide examples of fashion-related content.
“Customers appreciate it when you offer to help them improve something. This builds loyalty, leads to long-term collaboration, and as a result, to increased profits,” Niso said.
Try New Things, Share Experiences, and Keep Learning
Artificial Intelligence algorithms can help solve many tasks faced by today’s Digital Marketing and Business Development specialists. For example, neural networks can be used to create a marketing plan, analyze consumer behavior, and improve the quality of targeted advertising based on large datasets.
“Of course, neural networks cannot wholly replace competent and qualified specialists. Only a human being, an experienced professional who aligns analytics with the company’s values and brand philosophy, and transforms their vision into practical business solutions, can formulate a business concept, evaluate, and analyze data in a complex. And most importantly, new creative ideas are still the prerogative of the human mind,” Niso believes.
At the same time, AI algorithms can cope with routine tasks, which can help a company increase conversion rates and sales efficiency while reducing costs for routine labor.
“Such cooperation will allow marketers to focus on creative tasks, and for the business as a whole to reach a new level.”
To skillfully implement new technologies in your work and keep yourself in a professional tone, it is essential to continue learning, expand your network within the professional community, and keep an eye on competitors.
“I would recommend attending industry conferences, which are beneficial not only in discussing trends and networking but also for increasing your personal brand awareness. I am often invited to such events as a speaker on an international level. It’s an opportunity to share my experience, gain insight from my peers, and align my strategies with industry standards,” concluded Niso.