Take your inspiration from a higher level

It seems that insurer Prudential, recently in the headlines for proposing one of the largest and most audacious deals ever by a British company, is about to hit the skids. Though nothing will be made formal until a shareholder vote next Monday, it appears that Prudential’s proposed $35.5bn (£24.6bn) takeover of AIA, the Asian insurance arm of its rival AIG, is dead.

The potential riches on offer in the globe’s emerging markets are tempting to any business. But as the fate of Prudential’s bid for AIA demonstrates, negotiating entry into and success in those new markets and convincing all necessary stakeholders that you’ve factored in all possible risk to your calculations is no mean feat.

All the more admiration then for Andy Fennell. Diageo’s top marketer has the precarious job of allocating a global marketing budget of close to £2bn. Such a task requires a detailed understanding of how Diageo’s presence and activity in each of its 200 markets will best service the drinks company’s growth ambitions.

In his profile (page 12), Fennell provides insight into the tough decisions he has to make when constantly reassessing forecasts and the data his team retrieves to decide which regional pockets of growth he should exploit with his spend.

“The Annual will feature only speakers from the highest and most strategic level of business and marketing leadership”

Such a task requires a trusting working relationship with each member of Fennell’s global marketing leadership team so that he can communicate effectively with Diageo’s team of 950 marketers and innovators.

Interestingly, what Fennell also brings to the table is a bullish view of both the changing needs of the modern marketer and the role of marketing itself.

Our pages are fairly CMO heavy this week. On page five alone, Fennell is joined in the news by Wal-Mart’s international CMO Rick Bendel and Citi’s UK Consumer Group CMO Patrick Muir.

Timely then for me to point out the launch of our new flagship conference, The Annual, on 29 September. The reason I make the link is that The Annual will feature only speakers from the highest and most strategic level of business and marketing leadership. We’ve gathered executives (CMO and above) from some of the world’s most dynamic and innovative brands to talk about how tweaks to your marketing strategy can achieve growth. There are more names to be announced in the coming weeks and further details of The Annual on page 4, but to ensure your place at the conference that will offer deeper and more practical insight than any other, visit www.theannual.co.uk.

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