I thank Mr. Basar for letting us know about his career and marketing subtleties.
Tell us about yourself.
I have spent 22 years of my life with work life and technology. I have worked as senior manager and vice general manager in top world’s multi-national companies such as Compaq and HP as well as Turkey’s leading telecommunication companies such as Turkcell and Turk Telekom.
In 2014, I’ve been listed by Global Telecoms Business Magazine in “50 CMOs to Watch” and have been placed in “Chief Marketing Officers of The Year” list of Capital Magazine in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
I am married and have an important role in my life as a father to my 7 year old son, Kaan.
Tell us about your education life. How were you as a student? Did you have a specific career goal through this period of your life? What did you do to reach such goals?
I’d been a good student but were never after any appreciation. I mean, I wasn’t exactly the perfect student. But, through my high school years, I participated in a lot of activities other than the lessons themselves. I have been in school choir and sung songs. I have also been a dancer and an actor. I have been the presenter for the graduation ceremony. I have worked for university’s business club. I also have participated in a lot of other non-governmental organizations. One can only realize their and potential and how they differ from the others, what they can do, and see their strong and weak sides and and set a goal via their strong sides.
The internships I’ve taken in my university years also benefited me in the way of getting to know myself. I didn’t really know what I could do but I did know what I couldn’t do. I was not going to do finances, accounting or supervision. I was more into the sales and marketing but not aware of how it’s going to happen, but I can say that fate somehow intervened.
How did your paths cross with Turk Telekom?
While working as Corporate Customer Marketing Director İn Turkcell, I have been offered the Vice General Director in charge position and I’ve accepted the offer. Thus, my story with the Turk Telekom Group began. A year later, I’ve taken charge of Turk Telekom and TTNET’s retail customer services, and then I’ve worked as Vie General Director in charge for Corporate Customer Marketing for 2 years for TTNET, Avea and Turk Telekom. As of 2017, I have quit my job in Turk Telekom.
Do you have an idea of life? If so, what is it?
I’ll quote Montaigne:”Storming a breach, conducting an embassy, ruling a nation are glittering deeds. Rebuking, laughing, buying, selling, loving, hating and living together gently and justly with your household – and with yourself – not getting slack nor being false to yourself, is something more remarkable, more rare and more difficult. Whatever people may say, such secluded lives sustain in that way duties which are at least as hard and as tense as those of other lives.”
What do you do for yourself in your free time apart from the intense work life?
It is important for one to acknowledge their roles in life and set goals for such roles. Whilst managing, we are also spouses/partners, moms/dads, sons/daughters, siblings or citizens and we belong to a community in which such roles are what makes us us. It is imperative for us to live our lives to the fullest by scheduling our lives in days, weeks, years in regards to the goals we set for our roles.
Time passes quickly. While you are too busy with your school or work, your parents whom you thought would always be with you grow older and older. Your child grows up, your friends move to another country. Apart from my work life, I try to spend my time with my loved ones, share the life with the ones who matter to me. In the mean time, I keep trying to learn new things. Technology and managing strategies change way too quickly that not learning is basically the same thing with staying behind.
Can you tell us about marketing subtleties and what you place importance on in marketing strategies?
Everything about marketing begins with the customer. What problem does the customer have? Can you be the solution for them? Can you solve the problem? What products and services can you come up with in order to do it? With whom can you collaborate? Who are willing to solve the problem? Who are your opponents? With what kind of pricing will you reach the customer? In this crowd and message bombardmen, how will you attract the customer and reach out and convince them to buy your product? How will you keep in touch after you sold your product? How will you keep your customer satisfied?
To me, of all these questions, the most important and critical one is to understand your customer truly, to hear what they are not saying, to notice their needs without them realizing that their needs. There is no way a product, a company or a brand that is against the human nature, doesn’t satisfy the needs or even reach out the customer can keep existing.
Should we be ambitious? What’s your perspective on being ambitious?
The word “ambitious” might evoke negative emotions in brain. I’d rather use the word “passion”. Desire to be a better person than you were yesterday with the will that strongly comes from the inside.
Being happy with the efforts for being the best of you, with pushing yourself and succeeding the better. Whatever you do, thinking about it at night, waking up to realize you’re excited because you will do what you love.
What do you look for in the youth that is about to start working?
They asked Sepp Piontek, coach for the Denmark National Soccer Team which he carried from holiday to the European Championship, what he looks for while forming a team. He said: “I look for two things: skills and will.” Since skill is something that is developed through the years by working, the first thing we look for is the skill itself. If they are someone who really is willing, they succeed in overcoming the difficulties and they come through.
On the other hand, we look for hints in their past. How they were as a student, what activities they participated, what projects they were in charge, what clubs they worked for, which teams they played for. Certainly, we look for their foreign language skills, foremost, English. Of course, such processes for especially the bigger companies systematically proceed as new graduates programs in their websites.
Can you give advices from your life?
I think the first thing I’d say is to focus on your strong sides. All of us can tell about our weak sides at one swoop. Like, my language skills are not proficient, my school’s rating is low, I didn’t do internship, etc. But when we are asked what our strong sides are, we can’t really tell like we talk about our weak sides. In fact, it is also imperative that we know what makes us different from the others, what will put us in front, what we do better than the others and we should improve these. Strategies are built on strong sides. A boxer will never say that he is bad at wrestling. Instead, he’ll try to improve and train himself and keep fighting his opponent in the boxing ring. Whining on your weak sides won’t earn you a single thing. Find