Former John Lewis marketer Craig Inglis joins Sage

Inglis led marketing at John Lewis for 12 years, before leaving in 2020 to explore new opportunities. Now he is on a “mission” to eradicate the term ‘B2B’.

Source: Sage via Finsbury Glover Hering

B2B financial technology business Sage has hired Craig Inglis as executive vice president, global brand and integrated marketing, to work alongside CMO Cath Keers.

In his new role Inglis has said he will be on a “mission” to eradicate the term B2B, arguing that businesses are “full of human beings” and “it’s all about human to human”.

Inglis is best known as the former marketing boss of John Lewis, where he worked for 12 years. He joined the retailer in 2008 as head of brand communications, became marketing director in 2010, and joined the board as customer director in 2015. In the latter role he led a team of approximately 600 across the entirety of John Lewis’s customer proposition.

He oversaw an overhaul of the retailer’s customer and marketing strategies, including moving the brand into a more emotional positioning. Campaigns launched during his tenure won numerous Cannes Creative Lions, Marketing Society and effectiveness awards. In 2018, Inglis led the rebrand of both John Lewis Partnership brands to become Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners.

He left the retailer in 2020 to explore new opportunities, including setting up a consultancy business and becoming non-executive chair of the Marketing Society.John Lewis’s marketing boss Craig Inglis to leave

Prior to John Lewis, Inglis worked at Virgin Trains for a decade, latterly as sales and marketing director.

Announcing the new role on LinkedIn, which he starts today (13 June), Inglis says he is “delighted” to move into the tech sector, adding: “I’ve been totally seduced by [Sage’s] mission to knock down barriers so everyone can thrive and to be the champion of small and medium sized businesses, the lifeblood of economies across the world.”

CMO Keers is also an advocate for swapping ‘B2B’ in marketing for “human to human”. Speaking to Marketing Week earlier this year as Sage unveiled its first brand purpose statement, Keers said: “People talk about B2B and B2C, but for me, it’s actually about human to human. People buy from people.

“[Our customers] are people who have set up businesses that are their passions and their dreams. That’s what they are all about. They didn’t set it up to run accountancy software or payroll.”

Keers also warned that B2B businesses “underestimate the power of brand in decision making”, noting that only 5% of potential customers are in the market at any one time. As such, B2B companies need to target customers with a long-term view.

“We have to talk to them in the 95% of the time, and [it’s] not only about awareness but about mental saliency as well,” she explained.

“Yes they have to know about Sage, but they have to understand what we stand for and how we can help. So when they are in market for that 5%, Sage is top of mind.”