Brands increasing investment in marketing capability as finances improve

The economic downturn not only put the brakes on marketing spend, it also in many cases slowed investment in marketing capability. However, green shoots of economic recovery are giving companies the confidence to invest in personal development and staff retention. 

Marketers training
Green shoots of economic recovery are giving companies the confidence to invest in personal development and staff retention.

Big 6 energy supplier SSE, working with Oystercatchers and the Chartered Institute of Marketing, is launching a training academy covering all areas of marketing as well as specific areas of capability such as digital and CRM. 

All of SSE’s marketers will undergo the programme, including new recruits, with the aim of creating a common culture and language for future marketing efforts. No other business divisions have launched an internal scheme with the energy firm turning to its marketing division to combat anger from consumers over rising energy bills, sustainability and reliability.

Meanwhile, Morrisons is investing £250,000 in an academy providing its marketers with professional marketing training in areas including planning proof writing and campaign management.

Everyone in the marketing department will be put through a three-day foundation module over the next three months.

Their launch follows the launch of dairy brand Muller’s internal academy last year.

The launch of the two academies is not coincidental, says Suki Thompson, managing partner and founder of Oystercatchers, which has also worked with Sainsbury’s to setup an academy, but a growing realisation from brands that staff are assets now that the economy is improving.

“There has been a tough economic environment for some years. Investment was cut in marketing departments. Generally there has been an underinvestment in training and development.

“In a competitive market place you have to invest in people. Good talented people are another weapon to compete. It is not enough to spend your way out of difficult times you need to invest in people.”

Morrisons’ corporate brand and marketing director Belinda Youngs told Marketing Week the lack of professional training was causing the supermarket to lose young and enthusiastic marketers. In its annual staff survey, training and development was identified as a key area where it could improve.

“This is a big investment in people to enhance their capabilities and skills and boost retention and loyalty of our people,” she adds.

Sherilyn Shackell, founder of The Marketing Academy, of which Marketing Week is a partner, says attracting, developing and retaining high calibre marketers is “one of the most business critical issues facing all brands”.

“More and more directors are recognising the value that really strong marketing brings to their business and there is a growing interest in having the marketing skills set represented at the top of the company.  Organisations who can evidence their appreciation for marketing by investing time, money and resources to develop these skills will ultimately become the employers of choice for the best.”

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