How Jeff Dodds Got Ahead

As a small child I was fascinated by the Smash Robots and the Shake n Vac advert, and thought one day, when I grow up


Jeff Dodds


Honda UK

Job title:

Head of Marketing

What made you want to get into marketing?

As a small child I was fascinated by the Smash Robots and the Shake ‘n’ Vac advert, and thought ‘one day, when I grow up…’ In reality the marketing role at Honda is really a very commercial one; I am responsible for everything from product planning and logistics through to communications.  So I guess I would say I’m ‘in business’ rather than ‘in marketing’.

How did you get into the industry (including relevant qualifications and professional training)?

I started work in FMCG retail, but as a car fanatic quickly moved across to the automotive industry to take up the role of Group Financial Manager for a car retail group (there wasn’t really much competition – Morphy Richards toaster vs Nissan Skyline). From there I went across to the manufacturer side with Volvo as Company Sales Manager, and then on to Honda.

What was good and bad about your first job?

Good was the location: only 15 minutes away and not a motorway in sight. Bad was definitely the guy who I used to work with every day (you know who you are!).

List your jobs to date

Store Manager – Vodafone

Branch Manager – Dixons Stores Group

Group Financial Manager – Nissan/Peugeot

Company Sales Manager – Volvo

Operations Manager – Honda Cars

Head of Marketing – Honda Power Equipment

Head of Marketing – Honda Cars

What were the best and worst, and why?

Best job has to be the current one.  I am surrounded by great products and people.

There hasn’t been a bad job, but looking back the 2 hour commute each way to Volvo took its toll.  I used to spend the whole journey speaking to dealers on my mobile phone – only David Banner has consumed more radioactivity that me.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My dad I guess. He’s a very dedicated and competitive man, who always gives 100% (he can turn trivial pursuit into a combat sport).

Who in the industry do you most admire?

I work in two industries, automotive and marketing. I’m not sure I really ‘admire’ anyone specifically, but there are a hell of a lot of people I respect enormously.

On what do you base your success so far?

Hard work. I also like to surround myself with passionate, intelligent and empowered people.

What are your ambitions?

There are a large number of them, but all are extremely personal.

Change one thing about your job

The amount of junk mail and cold calls I get. Small tip – If you don’t get my name right, it goes straight in the recycle bin. Favourites include: Geoff Doods, John Dobbs and just last week Jessica Dodds (which is clearly my stage name!).

Change one thing about your industry?

Two things – the language and the dress sense.  Barely a week goes by without another buzzword being included in the marketing dictionary, and it seems that whenever I attend an agency meeting there’s a competition going on to see who can look the most ‘street’. The last agency dinner I attended was like sitting in the front row of a Goldie Lookin’ Chain concert.

Change one thing about the world?

Less fear – and reasons to be fearful.

What is your favourite brand?

Excluding Honda.  On a macro level I’ll go for ‘Starbucks’ – I love the fact that wherever I am in the world, I know I’m going to get a consistent experience (be it the product, premises or service), with just a sprinkling of local culture. I also love Franck Muller, the watch brand. On a micro level I’ll go for ‘Frozen Rope’ (a bespoke golf club fitting service –, who manage to get the best out of my very average golfing ability. 

What is the next big brand in your view?

Companies who are able to make environmental and social responsibility ‘street’.  For example Howies (

List your “media diet”

I scan the daily papers, as they’re all delivered to work. I read through all of the marketing press (Marketing, Marketing Week, Campaign etc) and the key automotive titles (Motor Trader, Automotive Management etc). Other than that it’s golf magazines (favourite being Golf Punk). I only tend to watch sport on TV (I’ll watch anything from Air Hockey to Wiffle Ball), and thanks to Sky Plus I can get an episode of the X-Factor down to 11 minutes 27 seconds.

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