The Marketing Society honours top marketers for ‘bold’ leadership

Marketers from brands including Mars, British Airways, RSA and Paddy Power have been honoured for promoting ’bolder’ marketing leadership. Twelve marketers have been offered 2014 fellowships of the Marketing Society, along with two honorary fellowships for non-marketers, who are recognised for their great brand leadership.

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The Marketing Society Fellowships honour a maximum of 5 per cent of the society’s membership. Current fellows include Sir Martin Sorrell and Sir Stuart Rose.

The 2014 Fellows were unveiled at an event in London, where Hugh Burkitt, chief executive of The Marketing Society, explained to Marketing Week: ”Bold marketers are taking ballsy decisions in business today. Bold marketers are prepared to take risks when the data doesn’t give them all the answers. Of course marketers should get the data available to them, but bold marketers are the ones that go beyond that.”

Michael Magee, vice president of marketing, Mars Chocolate UK and a 2014 Fellow, added: “Bold thinking in marketing is about two things. First, trying new things, new ways of engaging with consumers and evolving current ways of working. It’s always better to be ‘smart bold’ than ‘reckless bold’. Whilst it is important to use your instincts and be innovative, you do need to have data points to back up your bold thinking. You should always start with a clear vision of what makes your brand or business proposition distinctive and relevant before worrying about how to execute.”

“Second, being bold is also about doing things that you know are successful, even if they might be seen as ‘boring’. For example, TV might be right for your brand even if the general direction of marketing is towards digital channels. Sticking with what you know will work can be bold.”

Andrew Warner, vice president marketing at Monster and one of the 2014 Fellows, added: ”Being bold is daring to do the things that others aren’t even talking about. Generally, within marketing, people think they should be doing whatever is of the moment or the flavour of the month. The most important thing is to think about what’s truly right for the business, even if that means thinking differently to do what works.”

Lindsey Clay, chief executive of Thinkbox and another 2014 Fellow said that for her, “Bold leadership is rooted in 3 things: an insatiable hunger for insight and understanding; a strong sense of mission; and a clear (and clearly expressed) strategy . If you’ve got those and combine them with a relentless drive for brilliant execution at every possible touchpoint, then fortune favours the bold.”

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Former Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King admitted while collecting his honorary fellowship that he “had never really considered himself a marketer”, joking that he was the only student on his business degree course who had skipped the marketing module altogether. But he admitted had always believed in the core marketing belief of ”putting the customer at the heart of the organisation”.

King said that he hoped that “if I am viewed as a marketer, I am viewed as a trailblazer for marketers running businesses”.

The full list of 2014 Marketing Society Fellows:

  • John Kearon, founder & chief juicer, BrainJuicer
  • Abi Comber, head of brands & marketing, British Airways
  • Alan Pascoe MBE, president, CSM Sport & Entertainment
  • Giles Robertson, founder & managing director, Green Banana Marketing
  • Mark Earls, Herdmeister
  • Annabel Venner, global brand director, Hiscox UK
  • Michael Magee, vice president marketing, Mars Chocolate UK
  • Andrew Warner, vice president marketing, Monster
  • Christian Woolfenden, global marketing director, Paddy Power
  • Dominic Grounsell, sales & marketing director, RSA
  • Scott Gallacher, director, The Aston Group
  • Lindsey Clay, chief executive, Thinkbox

Two honorary fellowships are awarded to:

  • Justin King CBE (formerly of Sainsbury’s)
  • David Clayton-Smith (chairman of the finance committee, Fairtrade Foundation, among other roles)

Marketing Week also spoke to Mars’ Magee at Marketing Week Live earlier this year.


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Last year, the Marketing Society awarded the fellowship to marketer leaders including Nina Bibby, now at mobile operator O2, EasyJet’s Peter Duffy and Will Orr, commercial director at British Gas.

The Marketing Society is a network of senior marketers with more than 2,700 members.

Want to see more from The Marketing Society, Paddy Power and a host of other brands? Join us at our Festival of Marketing this November: all details can be found here.

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