Nationwide: Senior marketers should open their minds to their juniors’ less ‘jaded’ views

Generation Exchange: Nationwide’s CMO Sara Bennison believes more experienced marketers can learn a lot from those starting out in their career, such as her colleague Emily Mustafa.

More experienced and younger marketers have lots to learn from each other, say Nationwide’s Sara Bennison and Emily Mustafa.

Mustafa, who is an assistant campaign manager, says marketers are often showered in data. But she has learned from her more senior peers not always to blindly follow its lead, and to focus on what her instinct is telling her instead.

“There is a lot of science behind what we do, but sometimes it is more important to listen to your gut feeling. This comes with experience, learning and seeing things work and perhaps not work. Occasionally, marketers should step away from the science and data in front of them,” says Mustafa.

Meanwhile, CMO Sara Bennison says it is important for her peers to stay open-minded and listen to younger marketers who are often less “jaded and cynical”.

She admits the more senior marketers get, the “simpler” life becomes as they can delegate tasks. As a result, it is important for senior marketers to remember how difficult it is to get things done sometimes.

It does feel like we’re going back to the future in terms of where marketing sits [within a business].

Sara Bennison, Nationwide

She says: “You ask for something to happen and it magically does, but it’s important to have that ‘back to the shop floor’ moment. The effort that goes into it, and the complexity of delivering things that seem simple. There is a sort of reality check that’s important.”

Both agree that marketing offers great potential as a career – but Bennison admits there was a time when this was not the case.

READ MORE: The similarities and differences between junior and senior marketers

“Marketing and brands used to have huge potential as a career. Then the world wandered off and said ‘I can’t measure the value of [campaigns]’, and then data happened and it feels like it’s coming full circle,” she says.

They also believe marketing becomes “even more important” in the digital world, since there is no physical shopfront. And although brands are not so much differentiated by their unique selling point, they are differentiated by how they deliver the product or service and what they stand for.

Bennison says: “I see that becoming more important, so it does feel like we’re going back to the future in terms of where marketing sits [within a business]. All the years where marketing didn’t have a seat at the board table seem to be receding as a result.”

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