‘Keep it simple’: Camelot’s Keith Moor on the secret to being an effective marketing leader

As Marketer of the Year, Camelot CMO Keith Moor believes being an effective marketing leader comes down to building credibility by delivering on promises and having a curious mind.


Camelot CMO Keith Moor makes being an effective marketing leader sound deceptively simple.

For Moor it comes down to being able to deliver, which is something he has done in spades at The National Lottery operator. Two years into the role and he has completely revitalised the brand, repositioning it as a force for good by clearly linking participation to wider societal benefits rather than it just being a way to gamble.

Under his watch marketing investment has increased and advertising has shifted from being solely focused on shorter term, product-based activity to building a narrative about how the money raised through ticket sales directly supports local community causes.

This change of tack is clearly resonating with players and the revitalisation of The National Lottery has been widely heralded as one of the most successful turnaround stories of the past couple of years.

Despite the pandemic making it a challenging year for all, Camelot reported a sales increase of 6% for the year to March 2021, with the amount raised for good causes hitting £1.9bn, £1.2bn of which went directly to Covid-19 support.

The repositioning also boosted perceptions of The National Lottery brand. At 8.1 it achieved its highest ever score on YouGov’s BrandIndex in 2020, rising from 1.9 the year before and making it the second most improved brand of the year in terms of perception.

As a longstanding ISBA council member Moor is also an active voice within the marketing community, known for driving positive change and championing marketing within the wider business sector. All of which made him the top choice for the Marketing Week Masters award for Marketer of the Year 2021.

Follow The National Lottery’s example: Don’t rebrand, revitalise

In typical style, Moor makes his achievements sound disarmingly simple.
“When you go into a job make sure you’ve got the tools and the licence to deliver, make sure you’ve got the buy-in of the CEO and then effectively just do it,” he says.

“The only way to get credibility is to prove yourself. I have to prove myself, as everybody else will in their jobs, by delivering for the business, helping it grow, turning it around, rebuilding it and building on the existing successes it has – whatever they might be. So ensure you can deliver proper tangible value that people can see and understand really quickly. Not just some kind of marketing waffle.”

The failures you get can be really self-defining, because they can make you understand and be confident about why things go wrong.

Keith Moor, Camelot

Key to his success at Camelot was getting buy-in from the C-suite before he joined the business to ensure his views and ideas lined up with theirs, because he says: “I didn’t want to come in and then have to battle”.

Having spent more than two decades at Santander, most recently as CMO, Moor wanted to make sure the move was going to be right. And while it may sound simple, ensuring this alignment is there from the start is crucial for any marketing leader to succeed, he says.

“Some big, well known marketers have been known to go into new jobs and have the arrogance to think ‘It’s my way or the highway’. I’ve seen marketers go into businesses and change everything because they feel they’ve got to put their own stamp on it. But sometimes it’s not about that. Sometimes it’s just about coordinating and bringing resources together,” Moor suggests.

Keeping things simple also allows marketers to “get the right focus”, he says. “Things like raising awareness, talking to the right people, ensuring [customers] want to buy, ensuring you know who your customers are, for example, that sounds much more straightforward than it is for a lot of people,” he adds.

“[Spend time] asking those difficult questions up front, thinking about what can give you the biggest value return, because then you can show jumps in sales, increase in purchase intent. Then that gives you the licence to go and show exec committees and talk to the CEO in his or her language, and show you can deliver tangible value.”

Increasing investment

Camelot is set up differently to other businesses in that its budget for marketing is part-funded by the Gambling Commission, so it’s not just the CEO Moor has to prove the value of marketing to, making it all the more important to be able to show results.

“We get investment two ways for marketing. One is a percentage of our ticket sales, which can go on marketing to generate more income and that’s a small percentage [around 1%]. It’s written in the licence conditions, so we can’t spend any more than that unless we choose to spend our own money,” he explains.

“Or the Gambling Commission decide to utilise money for good causes and give it to us, so we can generate higher returns for good causes. And then we use econometric modelling to prove that for every £X we generate from EuroMillions, for example, we generate £Y for good causes. That is a multiple much higher than a one to one, which is why the Gambling Commission invests all this money because we generate a lot more money as a result of it.”

Securing marketing investment became all the more important during the pandemic, because The National Lottery needed to show people the money being raised through ticket sales was going to support charities in dire need during the crisis.

“Going quiet because people can’t do things the way did before is not a good long-term strategy,” he says. “Continuing to support your brand – what it stands for, what it means – so that it’s maybe not right at the front of people’s minds, but it’s there, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

“That’s a role brands need to play, to show they’re supporting society, they’re underpinning the economy. If all the brands just disappeared for a year, a lot of income disappears. A lot of money flowing through the market disappears and I think brands have a responsibility to, where appropriate, stay present and stay relevant with consumers.”

Moor had the same approach during his time at Santander following the financial crisis in 2008. He continued to invest in the brand and used changes in the market as a launchpad to turn Abbey National into Santander, to show it was relevant and offer an alternative.

“That was the right thing to do. I had the same theory and vindication about the National Lottery and the [Covid] crisis. Stay relevant because when we start to come out of it people will remember – you’ll be front of mind,” he explains.

Team support

As well as keeping The National Lottery brand buoyant during the crisis, Moor was also keen to ensure his team continued to thrive.

Camelot introduced a change programme during lockdown, which helped people keep connected to the business while working remotely and ensured employees were able to continue learning and upskilling. While it wasn’t introduced as a result of the pandemic, Moor notes the timing was fortuitous as it gave the team “a bit of focus”.

“It also gave everyone an appreciation of still being invested in as people,” he explains. “We have a very clear vision as a marketing function and people know they can ask about areas where they might want to grow skills, maybe try a job in a new area to help them grow.”

Camelot’s CMO on his brand-led vision for The National Lottery

Moor says programmes such as this are particularly important for Camelot, not only to show there are still opportunities for marketers to grow and progress despite the limitations brought about by the pandemic, but also given the company operates The National Lottery under licence. The third licence will be coming to conclusion in 2024 and there is currently a competition underway for licence four, which will cover the next 10-year period.

I’m 52-years-old, I’m a marketing director in a big business but that doesn’t mean I don’t ask questions every week, most days of the week.

Keith Moor, Camelot

Given the bid process and the uncertainty that stems from this, Moor says it’s important to make sure people feel valued and supported – another key attribute of a marketing leader.

“People are starting to feel a little bit twitchy about what’s going to happen with their jobs, what’s going to happen to them in the future,” he explains. “We can’t answer that yet because we are currently very focused on operating the third licence, but people still have questions. They love their jobs, we have a very high satisfaction rating, but it doesn’t stop people wondering.”

He says this uncertainty around the next licence, coupled with the disruption triggered by Covid, means staying connected to people, having regular conversations and understanding their concerns is incredibly important.

Moor manages a team of around 70 marketers, which means he can “get to know everybody and they can get to know me”. He makes sure he’s available “at least once a week to take any calls they might have”, work related or otherwise.

The relatively small team Moor manages at Camelot is very different from his time at Santander, a global business with tens of thousands of employees. Yet, while there are differences he says the skills needed to run marketing at both are not dissimilar.

“We still have to know our customers and understand what’s going on with them. We still have to build plans going forward, have a clear strategy and a series of plans to be implemented related to that strategy. We have to deliver results,” he says.

He reiterates that one of the wonderful things about marketing is that the skills are transferable.

“I don’t think marketing functions change radically because people still need to have insight, data, understanding, an exploratory mindset and a willingness to try things in a proper structured way,” adds Moor.

“Whichever business you go into in a marketing role you’ve got to do all those things. So actually, that’s why marketers can change jobs – I wouldn’t say easily, because getting a new stakeholder set, getting a new team up to speed with how you work, all that takes time and effort – but marketers have some good transferable skills if they have the right mindset.”

Encouraging young marketers

As well as being an advocate for marketing within Camelot, Moor has been involved in championing marketing on a wider level to elevate the impact and influence marketing and marketers can have.

As part of this drive he believes more must be done to communicate how rewarding a career in marketing can be to encourage the next generation of marketers.

“There’s a real need to continue promoting how fulfilling a marketing career can be and that it’s not just about making ads,” he says.

“That’s the shortcut and we need to do a better job at explaining it as a much richer purpose. That it helps people understand the customers of a business, or helps them have a better experience. That it helps businesses to grow in line with what customers are hoping and wanting, and also fulfils the learning and career development that people might want. And that it’s flexible. It’s different things for different people.”

It’s also a career that never gets stale. One of his core philosophies as a marketer and something he believes is crucial to development is the need to keep asking questions. It was advice he was given as a junior marketer and it’s something he instils in his team now.

“I’ve got an exploratory mindset. It’s something I talk about a lot to younger marketers. Don’t lose that curiosity or the sense of exploration, because that ultimately will make you a better marketer. No matter how senior or junior you are – it doesn’t matter – everybody can benefit from doing that,” he says.

“I’m 52-years-old, I’m a marketing director in a big business but that doesn’t mean I don’t ask questions every week, most days of the week. It’s a great example I can set to my children. There’s not real downside to curiosity.”

Camelot CMO Keith Moor on the power of advertising through a crisis

While being curious might not always lead to the next big thing, learning from failure can be just as valuable, he says.

“Nobody’s career goes on an upwards trajectory the whole way. But actually, the failures you get can be really self-defining, because they can make you understand and be confident about why things go wrong,” he explains.

“I’ve tried to launch brands in the past that have failed. I’ve had brands pulled from under me the day before launch and there was nothing I could do about it. I just had to do my best work and bounce back from that. Learn from the mistakes, learn from all the good things I did during that time and then grow from it, so when I do launch brands they’re a success.”

Moor is not afraid to admit you need a thick skin to be a leader though, which becomes all the more necessary the more senior you get. So he encourages marketers to always keep perspective and not take things too seriously.

“Always allow yourself to see the reality of life and get the balance of things correct,” he advises. “I like to treat things in a very straightforward way, because I’ve learnt over the years that it’s really important I stay on top of keeping things simple. Because if I don’t do it no one else is going to. I’ve got to lead the way.”

“It’s as simple as that,” he adds.

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