Kate Khoo Pei Leng, Sime Darby Motors

“Never stop challenging yourself”. This piece of advice reflects Kate Khoo Pei Leng’s go-getter attitude in everything that she does. As the Head of Marketing for Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors Malaysia, Kate oversees the marketing portfolio for Hyundai in Malaysia, which includes advertising, promotions, events and public relations.

What is a typical work-day for you?
It involves a lot of planning and preparation for Hyundai’s overall marketing strategy. This includes brainstorming with my colleagues as well as external agencies, such as creative, media and event agencies. There are times when I have to be really hands on, especially during events, where I need to visit the event locations and even be present during event rehearsals. For me, even the smallest details are very important and I always make it a point to ensure that everything is in order.

What is one of the most challenging tasks that you have ever been given?
One of my most challenging experiences was when Sime Darby Motors entered the Taiwan market for the first time as the sole distributor for Kia passenger vehicles. I was attached to Kia Taiwan for 10 months to coordinate and setup a marketing department for Kia Taiwan. It was very interesting as Taiwan was a new market for me to familiarise with and we had to work on everything from scratch. We managed to recruit some very talented people and got the company up and running within the deadline.

What’s the best part about your job?
I would probably say that there is never a dull moment. Every marketing campaign is a challenge for me because there is always something new to learn. Nowadays, you cannot use the same marketing campaigns over and over again. We need to frequently brainstorm for new campaigns, even better events, or come up with creative advertisements.  

What do you think is your strength?
I am a very structured and organised person. In marketing, there are many things going on at the same time. In a typical marketing campaign there are multiple advertising mediums (e.g. newspaper, magazine, radio and online), events at different venues, dates and times as well as public and media relations which need to be looked into. It is very crucial for us to be able to organise and coordinate all the marketing activities to ensure that we can deliver consistent and strong marketing messages.

What is your life motto?
To never stop challenging myself. It is important to always push yourself to the limit and not get trapped inside your comfort zone. The market is always evolving and if we just do the needful and be satisfied with what we are doing without pushing the limits, we will lose out on market opportunities.

How do you find people in Sime Darby?
My colleagues are very experienced and helpful. Most of them have been working with Sime Darby for many years from different divisions or companies within Sime Darby. With such a diverse workforce, the abundant experience and knowledge sharing provides unique insights and perspectives.