Burton’s Biscuits bolsters marketing academy to fuel commercial intent

The Burtons Biscuit Company is evolving its internal marketing academy to ensure marketers make the right commercial decision for their brand as it looks to quicken plans to expand its global footprint.

Burton’s Biscuits is bolstering its marketing academy to grow its core brands such as Jammie Dodgers.

The biscuit maker is expanding the training programme after haling its role in growing market share for its Cadbury, Wagon Wheels, Maryland and Jammie Dodgers core brands since it launched in 2011. It was formed to give marketing a more prominent role within the business and will link more closely to its commercial arm moving forward.

The shift stems from the company’s £350m acquisition by the venture capitalist Camelot owner Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) last year. Marketing budgets are being “weighted up” to support a global expansion charge with the biscuit business keen to ensure marketers are schooled in how to make investments decisions more in line with changing commercial objectives.

Developments to existing modules around customer insight, creating “killer communication plans, innovation and brand marketing” are also being worked on. New starters are encouraged to attend concentrated versions of the academy sessions upon joining the business, while existing members are invited to off-site workshops.

Some senior marketing managers will own certain areas of the programme, which they will update and develop with the latest best practice, insights and case studies moving forward.

Stuart Wilson, chief commercial officer of the Burton’s Biscuit Company, told Marketing Week the academy is also serving as a recruitment vehicle for the business. The snack industry has “always been an obvious choice for talented individuals”, but there is “fierce competition” from other sectors now, he adds.

“The nature of a private equity business is that it is constantly evolving, both from a commercial and people perspective, and the marketing academy will always adapt to reflect this”, says Wilson. “To achieve our ambitions, we realised that the marketing function within Burton’s would need to re-define itself within the business. It was important that the marketing team was able to drive the business through a period of change, by demonstrating leadership and superior commercial understanding.”

Burton’s Biscuit bid to elevate its marketers internally, is one shared by SSE, Morrisons and Müller who have all developed their own academies over the last year to move marketing from a supporting role in the business to steering the business growth agenda.

Separately, Burton’s Biscuits is planning a raft of product innovations over the coming months to snare more than 17 per cent of the savoury snack market by the end of the year. It launched Cathedral City Baked Bites last year and re-launched its 1980s Burton’s Fish and Chips brand in January to lead the effort. Both brands are already worth “millions of pounds”, the company has said.

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