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Lee Retimana

Founder and chief marketer of Muritai Marketing

Bringing a fresh approach to marketing

Muritai is the Māori word for sea breeze and Lee Retimana loves the ocean. “When I open my windows at home, I can smell the sea,” says the dynamic chief marketer of Muritai Marketing. “And I wanted to bring a sense of that to my work – it was all about bringing a fresh approach to marketing.”

Her company specialises in marketing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, including new start-ups.

“Many SMEs don’t have marketing staff or, nine times out of 10, the business owner, who is also the managing director, is also the marketing manager. In order for those businesses to grow, the owner can’t continue to do both roles,” she explains.

Muritai Marketing has developed a range of packages and services to fill any marketing expertise gaps that an SME might have; the firm can also act as a coach or a completely outsourced marketing department.

Since the Christchurch earthquake, the company has also specialised in helping Canterbury businesses to reinvent and rebuild themselves.

Motivation to do an MBA

Lee says the reason she decided to do her MBA was simple: she wanted additional career options. “I’d gone down the corporate route and while that was great, I knew it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea forever,” she says.

“I really love the more vibrant, smaller business environment, so doing the MBA was the seed of thinking about starting my own business. But how could I train myself and learn about all the different areas of business necessary to do that? The fastest and most efficient way was to do an MBA.”

Lee says her MBA definitely helped her move up the corporate ladder in a range of sales, business development and marketing roles. But, ultimately, it gave her the confidence to leave the safety of a permanent job to set out on her own.

“There had always been a part of me that thought I had worked for companies and talked the talk and, at some point, I would actually walk the walk and start my own business. There was always a desire to be a marketer who could take their skills and help lots of other businesses.”

And Massey made it easy by allowing her to study for her MBA from Christchurch as part of a South Island cohort.

Benefits

Lee credits her MBA with giving her the ability to think strategically and transfer her skills and knowledge effectively, no matter what environment she finds herself in.

“The ability to assimilate information about new ideas and concepts, and to then be able to apply them to your current situation – that’s what the MBA delivered for me,” she says.

It’s been a particularly useful skill to have when giving strategic marketing advice to others. “We look not only at the marketing but at the business too – there’s no point coming back to a client with recommendations that they don’t have the resource, budget or capability to implement.

“We help businesses put together marketing programmes that are appropriate for their target market and industry, but are also aligned with where the business is heading strategically.”

She says the connections she’s made through studying at Massey University have opened the doors to a range of new opportunities that were unimaginable to her before. And the MBA itself has been invaluable when dealing with new clients.

“It’s my credentials,” she says. “When people see those letters they accept that I know what I am talking about. Having that MBA has been a positive thing in every way. It tells people that I not only come with experience gained through doing, but I also have knowledge that has come through learning at a highly academic level.”

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