When she arrived in Johannesburg, she started working as a receptionist and bookkeeper for Michelle Combrinck, CEO and founder of Zinto Marketing Group (Zinto), a brand activation agency based in Linbro Park, Sandton.
She spent many fruitful years in administration and finance but Combrinck realised that Mitchell was capable of adding further value elsewhere in the business.
Combrinck discovered that despite extensive strategic planning, many (often expensive) promotions did not achieve the anticipated objectives due to the poor standard of execution at store level and subsequently identified a gap in the market for highly specialised and professional marketers.
With just a map book and route plan in hand, Mitchell embarked on a mission to turn the promotions industry around.
She travelled store to store to unfold the intricacies on the ground and gained the hands-on experience needed to implement successful in-store promotional campaigns while getting to grips with the consumer habits of SA’s diverse markets.
During these encounters Mitchell learnt that the industry was dominated by promoters who wanted to reach and engage with consumers, but either had little or no understanding or ability to connect with them.
Mitchell recognised that to build a brand successfully and ‘speak’ to the consumer, one needed to understand the layout and landscape of the country as well its touchpoints. She also realised that people in different regions had their own sets of cultural nuances, languages, customs and traditions. These attributes largely influenced their brand choices and buying decisions.
At the time, these market insights were unfamiliar to traditional marketing applications and could not be learnt in a textbook or lecture hall, making Mitchell an invaluable asset to the company and offering a unique selling proposition which would set Zinto apart from its competitors.
Over the last 15 years she earned her stars and stripes steadily moving up the ranks and was recently appointed as general manager.
Mitchell oversees an in-house staff complement of 150 permanent employees and 200 part-time brand activators across nine provinces. She manages an extensive client portfolio while keeping track of each campaign element: from promoter presentation and grooming to managing lighting, staging and production as well as tracking and delivering measurable campaign results.
Today she’s responsible for navigating the agency’s path to success, no small feat in the tough and highly competitive BTL industry, and is adding value by investing in and developing professional brand ambassadors.