Soumia Chajai

Soumia Chajai (Marketing and Consumer Psychology, 2017) is an entrepreneur and pioneer who has set up the first neuromarketing lab in North Africa.

Photo of Soumia Chajai. She is smiling at the camera and is on the Sussex campus, wearing a maroon Sussex jumper

Soumia's story

Soumia worked in various industries whilst spending six years searching for a postgraduate course covering neuromarketing before graduating as one of Sussex’s first MSc Marketing and Consumer Psychology cohort in 2018. She then returned to Morocco to found her own marketing company, Millenia. Two years later, Soumia expanded Millenia's services to create the first neuromarketing lab in North Africa.

What is neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing is the study of the unconscious information processing that takes place during the decision-making process. It’s a combination of Consumer Psychology, Behavioural Economics and Consumer Neuroscience. It allows research firms and marketing companies to concentrate and customise their services according to customer expectations.

Where was your favourite place on campus?

Up the hill, near the Library. I would sit there to recharge my batteries on a sunny day and to people-watch. The diversity of cultures, fashion styles and hair colours on campus and in Brighton was inspiring and it made me want to learn more about choices and psychology.

What are your favourite memories of Sussex?

The fresh market on campus, lighting up the Christmas Tree, and all the colours during the Holi festival. The whole experience: I was challenged intellectually, supported by my professors, made long-lasting friendships and it all led to the start of a new adventure. 

What made you choose to study at the University of Sussex Business School?

I’d been looking for a Masters degree in Neuromarketing for six years when I found the MSc in Marketing and Consumer Psychology on the Sussex website. It was the first time this program was running and was exactly what I was looking for. Moreover, it was only one three-hour flight from home!

What drew you to neuromarketing and consumer psychology?

I had the chance to work in six different fields before turning 30 and no matter what job I was doing, I always kept a customer-centric approach. That led me to think that to better serve my customers, I had to understand their needs, their frustrations and their goals.

What are you most proud of in your work so far?

The fact that I can build bridges between business needs and human needs. And that my work is highly scalable and replicable to various industries: from optimising consumer goods and marketing strategies to facilitating learning and teaching through the optimisation of e-learning platforms.

Make sure you feel that tingle in your heart when you think of your project, it's the thing that will give you the courage to show up every day."Soumia Chajai 

What’s been the biggest challenge in your career so far and how did you overcome it?

That I’m actively working to be a pioneer during a pandemic! The only way to overcome this challenge is to keep a flexible mindset and listen to the emerging market needs.

What piece of advice would you give to yourself if you were still a student at Sussex?

Travel more: I regret not going to Scotland and visiting more of England, but it’s on my bucket list now 

Do you have any top tips for budding student entrepreneurs?

Make sure you feel that tingle in your heart when you think of your project, it’s the only thing that will give you the courage to show up every day. Entrepreneurship gets tough at times, so put in the hours but make sure to take time for yourself and always remember what made you want to start this journey in the first place.

What sparked the idea for Millenia?

Each customer deserves a great experience. My goal is to help businesses across several industries meet customer expectations and deliver a delightful experience.

How has your Sussex experience helped your career?

It gave me the necessary support system, tools and skills to go beyond my personal and professional comfort zone. Instead of dreading challenges, I started seeing them as a way to grow and be more resilient.

How do you think Millenia is impacting and influencing the market/industry?

Neuromarketing techniques present a way to unveil the needs of the North African culturally diverse, emerging market. The Neuromarketing market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.6%, during the forecast period of 2019-2024.

I want Millenia to be a pioneer that brings novelty and contributes to expanding and complementing the work achieved by traditional market research firms and marketing agencies by helping them gain deep and valuable customer insight to inform their strategies.

You can find thousands of Sussex alumni, including Soumia, on Sussex Connect, many of whom are willing to help with advice and also mentoring. Sussex Connect is a platform exclusively for Sussex Alumni and current students, so sign up today to start networking.

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