Interview with Suzanne van Arragon - Marketing Manager at Lindt Benelux

  • Interview with Suzanne van Arragon - Marketing Manager at Lindt Benelux

    Majdi Hentati

    On a gloomy Rotterdam day, the clouds painted the sky with a usual grey, not unknown to whoever spent some time in the Netherlands. In her cosy apartment, Suzanne welcomed us to share with us her journey in the marketing field. Suzanne van Arragon is a Senior Brand Manager at Lindt Benelux. She has been overseeing the brand operations for 2 years now. Before getting to this position, Suzanne worked with many other FMCG companies such as PepsiCo, Douwe Egberts, and Kraft Heinz. Thus, it’s not surprising that she has a lot of marketing wisdom to share. 

    “I thought when I was studying that studies would determine your future.” Suzanne says. It might seem surprising, but the 32-year-old Brand Manager did not know she was about to end up in marketing early on in her academic journey. Suzanne started studying photography. However, she realised after one and a half years that “it was more of a hobby”. She then embarked on a journey in Psychology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. “But I also knew that I didn't want to do clinical psychology. But there was a master's in Leiden to study economics and consumer psychology, which was very nice. It's very much marketing oriented. So, that's when I really started to like marketing”. Just like that, Suzanne’s professional destiny took a turn.


    After her internship at PepsiCo, Suzanne kick-started her career at Kraft Heinz where she worked for 3 years. She started as part of the European marketing team to then migrate more towards the local brands of the company. From her B2C job, she then got a new position at Douwe Egberts with a focus on B2B which she qualifies as a “completely different kind of marketing. In B2C, you're really consumer-oriented, so focused on reaching a lot of consumers. In B2B, you’re way more focused on the people who actually make the decisions for companies. And those people are usually focused on price, sustainability, etc.”.

    Fast forward, two years ago, a headhunter contacted Suzanne about a position to integrate the marketing team of Lindt Benelux. Her experience sheds the light on the role of networking in landing you positions. 

    Currently, Suzanne is a Senior Brand Manager at Lindt working in their specialties branch. “I think, on average, four meetings.”, she answers when asked about her typical workday. “And then in the meantime, it's following up on the actions and answering e-mail.” She also explains to us that, although it’s early in 2024, Lindt is already working on its strategy for its 2025 marketing plans. 

    Suzanne was enthusiastic talking about what she was doing. What she appreciates the most about her work is “doing so many different things”. A quite common answer from a marketer, she thought. She then carries on telling us how she enjoys crafting the vision and long-term strategy for the brand. A part of doing this is thinking about how the brand portfolio should look like in the upcoming years. “But then, of course, you also need to execute the strategy. So, we're also working a lot on the actual campaigns. For example, in two weeks, it's Valentine’s day, we need to make sure that we're on TV, that we are in store…  And I really like that it's so different. Sometimes you're focused on portfolios, sometimes you're focused on media or communication. And that's what I really like.” 

    We also wanted to know what Suzanne didn’t enjoy much in her job. “The administrative stuff”, she says without much hesitation. Not a surprising answer, you would think, and we would agree. The Senior Brand Manager explains how it can involve some mundane tasks which aren’t thrilling to do. 

    “What I think is very important is that you are curious and eager to learn. If you're curious, I think you can learn anything”, stresses Suzanne when asked about the skills to be a great marketer. Besides being creative, eagerness to learn is a major aspect of the job. It makes sense since encountering novelty is part of a marketer’s routine.

    When assuming her role, Suzanne didn’t expect to have so much freedom and impact on Lindt’s marketing. “I didn't expect to have so much impact or ability to change things”, she says, “If you think something can be improved, or we need to change something, you're free to change anything”. Suzanne puts great value on the ability to have an impact in an organisation’s trajectory. When prompted on what makes her appreciate working at Lindt Benelux, “there’s always chocolate at the office”, laughingly says Suzanne while pointing at a Lindt box of chocolate on the table “but also the team is not big. It’s a very nice atmosphere at the office. And also, you can have a lot of impact within the team”. 

    Wrapping up our meeting with Suzanne, she shares some advice on how to prepare for an interview. She recommends “deep dive into the company. What are the company’s values? What do they think is important? Does it fit your needs?”. In doing so, she encourages people to go where the product or service is. If you’re applying for a chocolate brand, go to the supermarket and look at how they’re positioning themselves on shelves and see whether they use promotional tactics. “If you just want to learn more about marketing, many podcasts can teach you about strategies and tactics”. Maybe way too many, if we may say. And for the bookworms out there (editor’s note: I admit, this one's for me), Suzanne recommends two must-reads, How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp and Building Distinctive Brand Assets by Jenni Romaniuk. 

    We learned a lot talking to Suzanne van Arragon. An enjoyable conversation which not only yielded great knowledge, but also a Lindt box of chocolate which she gracefully gifted us. That box did not last long. 


    Update: After our conversation, Suzanne was promoted to Marketing Manager at Lindt Benelux. We wish her all the best for her new journey!