Vision 100: this year’s visionary marketers on the advice that has shaped their career

From learning how to improve insight to dealing with difficult situations, leading marketers from this year’s Vision 100 share the advice that has helped to shape their career.

DJ Circ 4

David James
Consumer marketing director
BT

“Focus your personal development on your greatest strength & worst flaw – it’s very rare to be famous for more than one thing.”

Pippa Dunn

Pippa Dunn
CMO, brand and consumer
EE

“It’s better to ‘zig to zag’ than get a straight promotion. In the long run it gives you more options.”

Colin Lewis

Colin Lewis
Director of marketing
BMI Regional

“The best type of advice is not about your current company or your skill base, it is about how to improve your thinking and insight, and gain the best value from your experiences. The best encapsulation of that is the statement ‘always make your future bigger than your past’.

“This shift of thinking pushes you to learn and grow, rather than slip into complacency or believe that you know it all. It has had the benefit of being useful in both my personal and professional life, rather than being one-dimensional purely about career.”

Gill Whitehead

Gill Whitehead
Director of audience technologies and insight
Channel 4

“Do it first. Make trouble. Inspire change. It was Channel 4’s mission statement over a decade ago (well before I joined) and it still strikes a chord.”

Catherine Cherry

Catherine Cherry
Marketing director
Sony Mobile Communications

“Use data to aid decision making but trust your instincts too.”

Deborah Dolce

Deborah Dolce
Senior vice-president, group brand and marketing director
TJX Europe

“Keep it simple. We probably all have the tendency to over-complicate things, wrap stuff up in jargon and smoke and mirrors. In the end, a good idea will shine through. I like short and practical presentations, to the point and transparent conversations and then that leaves time to talk about the really important matters and issues at hand.”

Alex Aiken

Alex Aiken
Director, Government communications
HM Government

“Focus relentlessly on your chosen objective and don’t get diverted by pressures of the moment.”

David Langridge

David Langridge
Group marketing director
Fitness First

“It’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you react.”

Stephen Leonard

Stephen Leonard
Chief operating officer, marketing
Nationwide

“The CEO of a major brand once advised me ‘remember everything we do is marketing’. The advice stuck with me and is ever-more relevant today. Marketing is no longer just the ‘top end of the funnel’ but about every touch point of a brand delivering an exceptional and integrated customer experience.

“At Nationwide customer experience and ‘doing the right thing’ is rooted at the heart of our brand and behavioural DNA.”

Saj Arshad

Saj Arshad
Marketing, sales and strategy director
Bupa

“Without your customers your business wouldn’t exist, so treat them well, listen to them and learn from them – you’ll gain some great insights and ideas if you do.

“Also make sure you spend time chatting to and learning from your frontline staff who are serving and helping your customers every day. They’re the ones who know your customers best and can often be your richest source of inspiration.”

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