Diageo marketing chief urges marketers to sound like “business people”

Diageo chief marketing officer Andy Fennell says the marketing discipline undersells itself when it promotes the discipline as merely the provider of “creative services”.

Fennell insists the marketing function is relied on at Diageo for “total business leadership and for delivering growth”.

In an exclusive interview with Marketing Week, he says: “When marketing positions itself as just the creative services provider, it loses its right to have commentary on total business issues.

“Similarly, when marketing directors think of themselves as the producer of advertising, digital or the new pack, they relegate themselves to being merely a service provider of marketing stuff.”

Any company whose enterprise value lies in the emotional relationship between the brands and the customer must be marketing-led, says Fennell. But this, in turn, relies on marketers possessing a wider business understanding.

“I want marketers full of flair, who use their instincts and their hearts to make decisions but they’ve got to know how to count. You can’t be a business leader unless you sound like a business person.”

After reducing marketing spend last year, Fennell says that Diageo is ready to return to a previous level, but adds that while aggregate spend will increase it will be allocated disproportionately in emerging markets.

“We’ll grow spend markedly during this calendar year and well into double digits in developing markets.”

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