Ayaan Mohamud joined impact.com in 2019 as marketing director before stepping up to APAC’s regional vice president of marketing in 2022.
Mohamud spoke to Mediaweek about her career journey, the need for greater diversity in the tech and media industry, paying it forward, and the outlook for the company.
Mohamud on joining impact.com and developing the APAC market
Mohamud joined impact.com as the first marketing hire in APAC and was tasked with building a high-performance team from scratch across Australia, SEA, and China.
“From PR to demand generation and events, I oversee all local initiatives. As a marketing generalist, I relish the opportunity to get my hands dirty whilst being responsible for big-picture strategy.
“However, at the beginning, it was certainly a case of building the plane whilst flying it solo. I’ve since expanded the team, and we have five marketers in Australia, Singapore, and China.”
As part of the APAC leadership team, she also assists the company in venturing into new markets.
“Lately, our focus has been on Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia. Soon we’ll have two new team members in Kuala Lumpur, and we’ve just launched our Japanese website,” she said.
Mohamud on her career journey and navigating the pandemic
Reflecting on her career journey, Mohamud shared that the path has been challenging, particularly at the start.
“Being a people person, I thrive on in-person interactions, so I had to adapt swiftly.
“The situation was further complicated by the fact that I was still relatively new to the company and the sole marketing resource during the initial phase of lockdown, which often left me feeling a little isolated,” she said.
“However, and I say this incredibly respectfully to everyone who suffered during the pandemic, it proved to be a significant period of growth for me professionally. Shifting from a largely in-person events strategy to an entirely online approach was demanding. Still, it ended up fuelling our creativity and innovation,” she noted.
Mohamud explained that on the first day of lockdown in Australia (March 20th, 2020), she had begun planning a webinar series, “Create Impact”, comprised of four webinars.
“All four were completed by the end of April when many brands were just beginning to roll out revised activities – and delivered a 50% conversion rate from marketing qualified leads, setting a benchmark for the team’s growth during the pandemic years. In fact, marketing-sourced deals now contribute an impressive 50% of APAC’s revenue!” he said.
Mohamud concluded that impact.com truly shines in face-to-face interactions. She said: “I’m relieved we are now back to a full channel mix of in-person and online initiatives.”
Mohamud on the importance of developing and creating a diverse team
For Mohamud, as a senior female marketing leader of colour, a burning industry issue is the need for greater diversity in the tech and media industry.
“While women are well-represented in functions like marketing when I’m in the room with senior business leaders, they are predominantly white males. As I organise and attend industry events, I often face challenges in assembling diverse speaker panels, despite my best efforts,” she said.
Mohamud noted that she believes in the phrase “you can’t be what you can’t see” and shared that it has motivated her to consciously be more visible within the industry, such as contributing thought leadership articles, participating in industry awards, and speaking at conferences.
Within impact.com, Mohamud shared that she works alongside her senior leadership team to help implement concrete policies to ensure equity.
“We actively strive for a 50/50 gender split across APAC and have a documented plan in place to ensure diverse gender and cultural representation in our hiring interview panels,” she said.
“I believe achieving parity often requires deliberate steps, such as balancing compensation packages and superannuation contributions during parental leave,” she added.
Giving back to the industry and how industry up-and-comers should navigate their careers
With over a decade in the industry, Mohamud has been giving back to the industry for the past four years through the LUCY mentor at Macquarie Business School.
“It’s a female mentorship programme for second-year and above female undergraduate students, which aims to empower students to identify the skills they need to become future leaders,” she said.
“Along with many of our team (our APAC MD Adam Furness is a founding member and current Co-Chair), I’m also a strong supporter and advocate of the work of social impact company, UnLtd,” she added.
Mohamud is also a founding member of APM Connect (Affiliate & Partnership Marketing Connect), a networking group of 360+ passionate performance marketers focused on the affiliate and partnerships channel.
“We put on events, share insights and are always looking for new members, so anyone interested should shoot me a note.
“When it comes to advice, I’d encourage people to be curious, to have a growth mindset and to build and nurture their network; this is how I got my last three roles,” she added.
The outlook for impact.com’s marketing in APAC in the year ahead
Mohamud shared that for the year ahead, impact.com will focus on continuing to build and nurture their partnerships community in person in each of the markets where they have a team.
“I’m currently deep into planning our second iPX (impact.com’s Partnership Experience) event in Sydney as well as putting strategies in place to grow our brand awareness in our newer markets in APAC,” she said.
Mohamud also noted to Mediaweek that impact.com was conjuring up ideas to make a big splash globally and locally about their upcoming new creator offering, which is set to revolutionalise how brands and creators can work together.
“Watch this space!” Mohamud added.
Top image: Ayaan Mohamud