British Gas launches Marketing Academy

British Gas has developed a Marketing Academy that it hopes will equip its marketers with the skills to help the utility company become more customer focused, one of several companies investing in marketing capability as a study shows that marketers are concerned that companies lack a clear strategy for people development.


All British Gas marketers will take at least three days of training in insight, communications and customer experience this year. Advanced learning, or “master classes”, focusing on particular job responsibilities will launch in 2013.

Will Orr, marketing director at British Gas, says that the move will help marketers develop the “common tools and common language” needed to help the company focus on the needs of its customers.

British Gas and the other “big six” energy suppliers have come under fire in the past year for above inflation price increases and confusing customers with too many tariffs.

In November, managing director of British Gas Phil Bentley admitted a “trust gap” has developed when unveiling plans to introduce more transparent bills.

The success of the British Gas Marketing Academy will be measured using similar return on investment analytics employed to determine the success of marketing campaigns.

Separately, Heineken is to rollout its internal commercial capability programme for sales, marketing and trade marketing teams in the UK later this year. The Global Commerce University, first launched in the drink producers Amsterdam headquarters late last year, is part of the brewer’s aim of creating a sales and marketing excellence standard globally.

News of investment in marketing capability comes as Radar research from Brand Learning finds that a majority of marketers do not think that their companies have a clear focus on people development.

Only 42% of the 1,900 marketers agreed that their employers had a clear plan, while 58% disagreed or did not know.

Brands including Aviva, O2 and Heineken share best practice through a “capability community” launched last year that aims to develop marketers’ skills.

Plans aimed at improving the skills and abilities of their marketing staff are in development and are expected to be unveiled shortly.

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