Disney, TSB and Visa on why marketers need to be more forward-thinking

For marketers to become real leaders they need to stop getting stuck in everyday tasks and start thinking three years ahead, according to a panel of marketing executives from Visa, Disney and TSB.

Speaking at the launch of The Marketing Society’s Manifesto for Marketing Leadership (May 19), Visa Europe’s executive director of brand and central marketing Gary Twelvetree told marketers to act more like entrepreneurs and to think in three year cycles.

He explained: “If you think about the people running Android Pay and Apple Pay, those guys are entrepreneurs. They’re not thinking about the day to day stuff, they’re thinking about how you crack a market in three year’s time. Marketers can learn a lot from that sort of mentality.”

Anna Hill, chief marketing officer of The Walt Disney Company UK & Ireland, agreed with Twelvetree’s commitment to thinking ahead. She added: “I’m really fortunate that I absolutely bloody love what I do. I don’t switch off and I’m constantly thinking about it.

“I’m also inspired by my boss who is an excellent leader. He is constantly telling me he wants to know what’s next. Not what’s next this year, we’ve got good teams so we’ll nail that. He wants to know what’s the next big thing.”

Think like an ad agency

Also speaking at the event was TSB’s chief marketing and communications director Nigel Gilbert.

He described how when he first joined the banking brand he brought with him a focus on the quality of the idea, a concept he picked up during his decades working in ad agencies. “What I’m talking about is the difference between managing a lot of people and thought leadership. You start by sorting out what the great idea is and then everyone will rally around it.”

To think even bigger, sometimes you need an enemy too, according to Gilbert. He added: “I went to Virgin [in 2011], because I liked the idea of a challenge and it’s always good to have an enemy, it’s very galvanizing. So the enemy when I was at Virgin Media was Sky and they didn’t get bigger than that. They spent £1.3bn every year on marketing, so I thought that’s a proper enemy and I’ve got the right brand to do something with it.

“That whole idea of going in and challenging the status quo was highly motivating. Having an enemy is good and if you haven’t got one, create one.”

The Marketing Society’s 2016 Manifesto for Marketing Leadership:

Future: create a shared vision of how you will succeed 

  • Make sustainable growth your ultimate goal
  • Agree a guiding purpose, set a stretching goal
  • Choose where and how to compete

Engage: inspire the organisation to be customer-led 

  • Find creative ways to get the whole business involved
  • Bring your customers into the boardroom
  • Be commercially fluent

Deliver: create value for customers, earn value from customers 

  • Anticipate what customers value and find new ways to create it
  • Shape the customer experience
  • Create a dialogue and earn advocacy

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