‘Ageing marketers risk being out of touch’

Senior marketers that started their careers before the dawn of the digital must work harder to keep abreast of digital advancements or they risk being bypassed by younger colleagues, according to the top marketer at Velvet and Bodyform owner SCA.

Christoph SCA

Speaking about the challenge of recruiting good marketers, Christoph Michalski, president of the global hygiene category at SCA, told Marketing Week: “One of the challenges companies have is that people have started to work there and have grown up in certain jobs. In all companies I have seen so far, you have the same ageing population in the overall demographics.”

Michalski started his career at Unilever in the 1990s and now manages SCA’s tissue paper and sanitary brands in more than 100 markets.

He questioned how marketers can keep up with rapidly-changing technology when they have ‘grown up’ with the 30-second TV commercial.

“The question is: how do you ensure that, despite your ageing population of marketers, you keep the freshness and also the drive of wanting to win.

“To be honest I had not heard of Instagram before Facebook bought it for $1bn, so I am thinking about how many things are out there that are significant enough to pay that much for, which I have never been exposed to.

“And I would not say I am a remotely buried marketer never looking [outside] my patch.”

Michalski’s comments follows research that showed marketers over the age of 50 were missing out on promotion to younger digitally savvy employees. Two thirds of marketers (64%) polled by recruitment specialist EMR earlier this year claimed there is more age discrimination in the industry now than five years ago.

SCA is also pushing its corporate brand as it focuses on its consumer hygiene business – which includes brands such as Tena incontinence care and Plenty kitchen towels.

“People know our products but not necessarily our company SCA. We have started a major drive to make SCA known, but we haven’t done that [before] because we moved over time into the hygiene business, and it will be a big challenge for us.”

Earlier this year it sold its packaging division to UK business DS Smith for €1.6bn and the global hygiene business now makes up 80% of SCA.

Read the full interview with Christoph Michalski here.

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