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Student Voices | Achieving Marketing and Career Growth: Insights from Hana Kalaie Sharan’s Professional Journey

Graduate | May 28, 2024 |

In today’s fast-paced marketing world, achieving success requires a mix of creativity, strategy, and adaptability. Hana Kalaie Sharan ‘20, our Marketing Area industry speaker who also is a notable alumna of Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, shares her journey from being an international student from Venezuela to securing a position at Amazon Business in the U.S. She offers valuable lessons in marketing strategies, career advancement, and personal growth. This article highlights the key takeaways from her experiences that may serve to help others striving to build a career in marketing.

Hana’s path emphasizes the importance of trying different things within the marketing scope, as well as using various tactics and channels. She began her career in economics, which built her analytical mindset, but moved into marketing once she realized—after establishing her own entrepreneurship at Dash and Lola—the value of understanding marketing backed up by data analysis. She also gained valuable experience with big brands like Coca-Cola and Grubhub before landing a position as product marketing manager at Amazon Business. Her journey illustrates that exploring various roles and industries helps to develop a well-rounded skill set.

Hana explains her current job responsibilities as such, “at Amazon Business my role is to drive users to spend in multiple storefronts and increase their engagement. As a product marketing manager (PMM), my focus and product intention is the customer experience (CX). My job is to ensure growth to create a roadmap across multiple channels depending upon what stage the customer is at, and to lead them to content that is relevant to their industry or vertical.  As a PMM, I am responsible for the positioning, messaging, branding and customer retention for emerging lines of business as they navigate and purchase from Amazon Business. I work closely with cross-functional teams, building relationships with partners, and I make informed data decisions to accomplish my campaign and business objectives. My role is critical to the end result of increasing B2B sales revenue, including creative optimization with the help of other internal creative resources.”

Hana sheds light on how Amazon Business tailors its services for B2B enterprises, focusing on bulk orders, competitive prices, personalized content, and providing the best solutions for business. Understanding the needs of business customers is crucial, which differs from the more transactional approach of Amazon Retail. Mastering B2B marketing strategies in today’s economy is important and becoming stronger. 

Leveraging personalization and A/B testing is key to Hana’s marketing strategy. She highlights the importance of testing different approaches to see what resonates with customers, as well as creating a persona or characteristics that resonate with a specific segment. For example, she found that a video-based email campaign worked better than a text-heavy one. This shows the need to adapt to changing trends and refine tactics accordingly. Hana thinks big when it comes to testing ideas, for example, she utilizes different content, creative, landing pages, segments, etc. These will help to provide strong conclusions regarding what customers are looking for and how to best market to them. 

Hana stresses that harnessing the power and role of data analytics and AI is important in marketing today. While AI can help analyze data, it can’t replace human creativity in strategy and building relationships, especially in B2B marketing. All marketers should keep up with new trends especially those related to AI, but they should also focus on personal connections with clients. The way to use AI is as a complementary tool to optimize marketers’ strategy and execution. 

Hana’s journey wasn’t without challenges, but she emphasizes the importance of staying confident and persistent in following your dreams and pursuing your goals, “Nothing is impossible,” she says. Her advice to aspiring marketers is to keep learning, stay up to date with multiple soft and hard skills, seek guidance from mentors, and never give up. Success often comes from resilience and determination. Also, networking is important, but having a resume that illustrates your achievements, backed up with data is key. It is also important to map out an upward career trajectory, but one that is also flexible . If your goal is a specific job or area and you are not getting there yet, be open to trying new or other things first, because that will create stronger skill-sets for the future.

Work on developing effective communications, which are essential in marketing. Hana encourages students to improve their communication skills by networking and learning how to handle presentations. Building connections with professionals in the field is also crucial for guidance and support.

Hana’s journey offers invaluable insights into marketing, career growth, and personal development. Her experience teaches us the importance of adaptability, personalization, and resilience in building a successful marketing career. As we navigate our own paths, let’s take Hana’s advice is to embrace every opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with others.

Written by: Ahmad Sharifi (MBA ’25) and Hana Kalaie Sharan (MSMI ’20)

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