The CMO Files: Ronéll Stutzer, Head of Marketing: Contact Centre Solutions (MEA), Merchants - A Dimension Data Company

Ronéll Stutzer, Head of Marketing

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'...


  Name:  Ronéll Stutzer

  Organisation: Merchants - A Dimension Data Company

  Job title: Head of Marketing: Contact Centre Solutions (MEA)

  Location:  Johannesburg, South Africa



(1)           Where were you born and raised?


Boksburg, South Africa



(2)           What was your first job?

Gosh, my first job was when I was still in school - I worked at our local KFC to earn extra pocket money. After I graduated I started my journalism career as a junior reporter at a local community newspaper.




(3)           What was the first product you got really excited about?

Strangely enough I'm not a huge gadget person, even though I've been in IT for most of my career. But I guess being a manic reader I have to say my most prized possession is my iPad Mini, I never leave home without it in my handbag, even if I go shopping… I'm also a compulsive e-mail-checker so the fact that I can do that and read my favourite book is a plus!


(4)           Who has been the biggest influence on your career?


There have been so many influences in my career, some work related and some personal. On a personal front my mom has always encouraged me to think big, never to settle for second best. I still hear her voice in my head when I have big decisions to make. Then throughout my career I've had so many inspiring people touch my life, I believe strongly that if you open your mind you can learn from anyone. The one rule I really believe in though, is actually based on a quote I read, it basically said that you shouldn't let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out!



(5)           What has been your greatest achievement?


I often wonder about this; if you look at the amazing things people do like climb mountains, swim across oceans or create programmes that alleviate poverty, it makes me wonder how my achievements measure up J Until I realised that why should I compare myself with others when no one in the entire world can do a better job of being me… than ME! So for me my most memorable achievement was when I was tasked to head up the marketing department at T-Systems South Africa, not only was I very junior and ‘green' I also had very limited marketing experience at the time. Looking back I think it was the best period in my career, it shaped me into the person I am today, we didn't do ‘text book' marketing because I frankly didn't own the text book. We looked at new ways of reaching our focused B2B customers and came up with innovative concepts that used ATL channels in a personalised manner - very unusual at the time especially for a company that believed it was a ‘boardroom brand' only!


(6)           What has been your biggest mistake?



We are all human and have made mistakes at some point in our lives, I really can't think of a specific instance where I thought "wow that was my biggest mistake"! When thinking of failure I'm always reminded of Thomas Edison who said - "I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that didn't work." Learning and growing is what makes life worth living and you can't do that without making mistakes. If I had to single out instances that could have made my ‘biggest mistake' list I would say it was the times I had an idea or an opinion and didn't speak up! The lesson I've learnt is, be who you are and say what you feel because those that mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind!


(7)           What is your greatest strength?

I can think blue skies, and then say ‘right, how do we make that work practically.'




(8)           What is your biggest weakness?

I can be impatient and stubborn at times ;-)



(9)           What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   

Due to my unusual background, which is not your traditional marketing background, I'm a really strong believer of the message. I believe that before we jump on the creative bandwagon, we should always look at the message. Also I believe that our strongest brand ambassadors are our employees, I think this used to be neglected and was seen as mostly an HR responsibility, but with the take-off of social media and how the individual now has the power to influence brands I think that aspect is starting to get more attention.




(10)       Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?

I love quotes and phrases and my mantra changes depending on where I am in my journey. At the moment my favourite phrase that energises me is: "Life is not a rehearsal, be happy now!" And this leads to what makes me squirm, the ‘yes, butters…" Nothing frustrates me more than hearing that phrase, I'm more of a "Why not…" girl!


(11)       What makes you stressed?



Indecisiveness, I really get upset if people can't make up their minds and just hover in no-man's land….


(12)       What do you do to relax?

Spending time with my family, enjoying a good book and a glass of wine, watching cheesy movies and eating a whole slab of chocolate on my own!! No sharing J




(13)       What is your favourite song?

I have a wide range of tastes, from classical to pop, it depends on my mood, but if I'm in need of a pick-me-up where I can sing along loudly (and badly) I always play AC/DC's Thunderstruck - a real crowd pleaser - the song, not my singing ;-)



(14)       Which book taught you most?

I know this is probably ‘old school', but Jim Collins' book ‘Good to Great' is one that I always refer to. I also love listening to Guy Kawasaki's podcasts or his Stanford presentation on Creating Meaning.




(15)       Do you have a team or sport that you follow?

Yes, I'm a huge rugby fan and I also love, love, love tennis, well maybe it's more like a specific athlete … Vamos Rafa J


(16)       Which country would you like to work in?



I am a South African at heart, I love my country. I don't mind traveling, I enjoy learning about new countries their people and culture, but in the end there is no place like home!


(17)       Which company do you think has the best marketing?


From a B2C perspective I have huge admiration for the Apple Brand - I think they really found the right mix of message, product and channel. Really amazing!



(18)       What do you love most about your job?


The freedom to think outside of the box, paint it any colour I want and then share it with whomever I want to!


(19)       What is your favourite book?

Mmmm, that's tricky… I always tell people that any books with vampires or werewolves in it will be on my must-read-list! I read to escape and to exercise my imagination. For knowledge and more ‘serious' reading I keep up to date through social channels  such as the Harvard Business Review Blog and Forbes magazine website. I also really like to read Guy Kawasaki's books like Enchantment and Art of the Start.




(20)       What keeps you awake at night?

Our Boston Terrier, named Bella-Boo, she and our cat Zoe constantly fight for prime position on the bed which inevitably leads to a scuffle and tears before peace is established ;-)


« Crowdsourcing Innovation: Gregory Papadopoulos, Founder of Petals Office


Crowdsourcing Innovation: Jeff Batio, CEO & Founder, Idealfuture »
IDG Connect

IDG Connect tackles the tech stories that matter to you

  • Mail


Do you think your smartphone is making you a workaholic?