‘Young marketers need to focus on basics to succeed’

Young marketers should not lose sight of the needs of the customer in the rush to progress up the ranks in their organisations, advise senior marketers who mentor junior talent at the Marketing Academy.

Marketing Academy

Speaking at a gala party to celebrate the new intake of scholars into the Marketing Academy, marketing veterans from across sectors said successful marketers are those who maintain a consistent focus on the customer rather than solely trying to appeal to their seniors.

Claire Harrison-Church, former Sainsbury’s director of brand communication and part of the Marketing Academy’s selection panel, said young marketers must remember their role is about “common sense”.

She added: “It’s important that marketers are externally focused. So many people in the business get swamped about running the business in which they are involved that they can miss that the consumer has moved on and is busy doing something else.”

The view was echoed by Joe Clift, former brand and consumer marketing director at Lloyds Banking Group and Marketing Academy mentor.

He said: “I think all of the scholars need to understand the fact that if marketing is to succeed at the heart of an organisation, they must truly represent the voice of the customer; and to do that they need as broad a business perspective as possible alongside a ruthless commercial perspective.”

Young marketers should also remember the value they have towards the entire business’ success, not just the marketing department’s, according to Charmaine Eggberry, Nokia’s senior vice president of marketing and Marketing Academy board member.

“You have to be conversant with insight and financial impact and also creative element to be able to drive the business forward.

“Marketing is about shareholder value and that’s the kind of marketer we want to develop; it’s about people who can have an impact on the profit of an organisation,” she said.

The Marketing Academy was launched in 2010 to develop leadership capability in talented marketers through the medium of mentoring, coaching and experiential learning. It is sponsored by Kraft Foods, Nokia, O2, Microsoft and Marketing Week.

Top tips to young marketers from mentors, graduates and the selection panel of the Marketing Academy

“Marketers are at their best when they keep a focus on how ‘Joe Average’ is living their lives,” Claire Harrison-Church, former Sainsbury’s director of brand communications.

“Learn to love what you do,” Charmaine Eggberry, senior vice president of marketing and marketplace activation at Nokia.

“Pay it forward; share your knowledge with someone else,” Lucie Bartlett, project manager at Fashion Fringe, IMG Fashion Europe.

“[Agency marketers] need to be clearer on what it is they can truly offer their clients and how many disciplines they can house under one roof,” Imogen Landy, senior account director at M&C Saatchi.

“Truly represent the voice of the customer [by having] as broad a business perspective as possible alongside a ruthless commercial perspective,” Joe Clift, former brand and customer marketing director at Lloyds Banking Group.

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