Q&A: Stewart Pedler, Thomson Reuters

Stewart Pedler, director of operations, global creative services at Thomson Reuters, gives his views on the research into marketer confidence for 2013.

stuart pedlar

Marketing Week (MW): The research shows a slight increase in job security and career prospects; what is your experience of this?

Stewart Pedler (SP): When it comes to job security and pay, it’s in the back of everyone’s mind that these are hard times and we have had people coming and going, so no one is quite sure what is ahead. I’m not sure that confidence has massively increased but I wouldn’t say it’s any worse [than a year ago].

MW: The confidence in the external jobs market is pessimistic. What would you advise marketers to do?

SP: It’s down to each company’s situation, but if you have a good job and the only challenge you have is to try and do more with less, then I would stay in that role. You have to adapt, persevere and change, and think about how you will succeed with all of the challenges.

MW: The research shows marketers anticipate an increase in investment to develop skills. What is your view on this?

SP: It’s wise to invest and develop in the people you have because it will be a little while before we see people flooding into businesses and any increase in head counts.

In terms of making the best with what you have, if you are an employer investing in an employee, you are almost compounding your own story of investing in the skills of the existing force and getting them up to scratch – which will ultimately allow them to be able to do more with less.

MW: Marketers expect their company to embrace more risk and ambition and targets to grow, but half of those that report this believe it will not be backed up with increased budget. What effect will this have on marketers?

SP: As a breed, marketers have to become far more savvy about what it is we are doing and I think there is a lot more science in the marketing role because of the proliferation of new channels. There are many different ways of going about the business of marketing in order to get results these days. Where it might have been a big above-the-line campaign 10 to 15 years ago, now you could do lots of other things with a much smaller amount and potentially achieve the same return.

MW: Seventy per cent of marketers report that over the past 12 months their company has become more measurement focused; are you seeing this?

SP: This is very much my role as director of operations, trying to put cost and metrics around things, so I think return-on-investment measurements are absolutely imperative in this day and age. Given that we are all being asked to do more with less as marketers, we have to really think about our approach.

Good marketers won’t worry about measurement, they will embrace it. In the past, marketing has been considered more of an art than a science by business leaders but with the rise of digital and the ability to measure consumer interaction, marketing has become more of a science. Evidence of that can be seen in the rise of strategic marketing within corporations. Businesses are being increasingly smart about how they are going to spend those marketing budgets.

MW: Does effective measurement take more collaboration with other departments?

SP: Modern marketers need to be tech savvy and also have a stronger bond with finance. If they don’t, they will be left behind. You have got to start a dialogue within the business, with finance and IT. You have got to come up with the right formula for what it is you are trying to achieve and what it takes to get that achievement.

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