Looking back, forging forward

As we sweat it out to keep our resolutions whether that be tackling the gym or trying to resist chocolate we’ll be reflecting on the reasons why we made the commitments in the first place and what we hope to achieve. But what about the movers and shakers how do they view the past year and what do they think is lying in wait in 2008? By Caroline Parry

The best advice I’ve been given..

As the New Year dawns, it is an ideal time to reflect on the past and draw lessons that can be applied to future challenges. So, in the changing world of marketing, advertising and media, it is reassuring to know that advice from the past is still held dear by people at the forefront of the industry.

Marketing Week asked 20 senior industry figures to reveal the best piece of advice they have been given in their working lives, the things they wish they could have done differently and their predictions for what 2008 has in store.

Additional reporting by Marketing Week reporters 

Johnny Hornby, founder, CHI&Partners
The best advice I have ever been given was from Charles Dunstone. He told me to start an agency with Simon Clemmow when Simon and I were working with Carphone as an account team at our last agency [TWBA/London].

martin%20glennMartin Glenn, chief executive, Birds Eye
An OK plan well executed beats a brilliant plan poorly executed.

Andrew Marsden, former marketing director, Britvic
When I first became a brand manager the job description said I had “”overall responsibility for the entrusted brand””. A much older hand summarised the situation for me: “”The brand was there before you got it and it had better be there when you have finished with it.””

simon%20thompsonSimon Thompson, chief marketing officer, Lastminute.com
Leadership is about people. Management is about output. You will be respected based on successful leadership, you will be promoted based on successful management.

Tim Lindsay, group chief executive, TBWA Group
Geoff Howard-Spink told me: “”God gave you two ears and one mouth, and you should use them in that ratio””. It’s the best possible advice for an account handler, and for life. 

Ralph%20BernardRalph Bernard, former chief executive, GCap Media
I’d have bought control of my company, GWR Group, when I had the chance. I was approached about 15 years ago by someone who offered me the opportunity to take control of it. Life would have been very different for me.

Roisin Donnelly, corporate marketing director, Procter & Gamble
There were marketing innovations that we could have adopted quicker and we could have taken risks with product development. We could have done more online innovations faster while using traditional media in different ways more quickly.

mike%20soutarMike Soutar, founder, Shortlist
The only situations I would try to improve on are the few times I’ve had the responsibility of closing magazines and making good people redundant. I still replay those in my mind and work out if I could have handled them better. Apart from that, I try to learn from my successes just as much as from my failures.

Amanda Walsh, chief executive, Lowe London
Always follow my own intuition instead of taking the advice of supposedly “”more experienced”” people 

mark%20cranmerMark Cranmer, former chief executive, Research International
I would have had the self-belief and vision that some of the people I have worked for, and who have inspired me, consistently demonstrated. If I had learnt from their examples, I may have had the balls to start my own business with some of the stunning potential partners that have discussed the idea with me over the years.

Tim Delaney, chairman, Leagas Delaney
Realising that, far from being extinct, advertising agencies have people who are uniquely capable of coming up with business-changing ideas. 

mike%20moranMike Moran, managing partner, The Orchard Consultancy
Tight marketing budgets and ever more pressure to prove communications effectiveness. It will also be about the continued polarisation of the weaker brands in the middle ground of their sector as consumers choose premium or value at the expense of mainstream; the further weakening of a certain major online portal and a sensible reappraisal of the limitations of social networking sites for advertisers.

Katie Vanneck, sales and marketing director, Times Media
Integration, integration, integration. As ever, next year will be about trying to remember what we did last year in order to brace ourselves for the year after. Trust, trust, trust. It will be the year of trusted brands. The great digital successes will have to prove that they are also great businesses.

Stevie%20Spring%20100Stevie Spring, chief executive, Future Publishing
To quote Rudyard Kipling, the next year will be about keeping our heads when all about are losing theirs. So 2008 will be about keeping our nerve and continuing to take sensible, consolidated risks, and about managing the cash tightly. It will be about delivering when some marketplace factors beyond our control are working against us and making sure we grab every opportunity with both hands.

Paul Philpott, managing director, Kia Motors UK
Efficiency and effectiveness. Without a doubt consumers will be tightening their belts and will be much less willing to part with any spare funds. As marketers, we must be smarter than our competitors and squeeze greater value out of all of our marketing activities. Effective targeting will be critical, and wastage must be minimised.

carolyn%20mccallCarolyn McCall, chief executive, Guardian Media Group
Strong media businesses riding the economic downturn, and seeing it as much in terms of the opportunities as the threats, while weaker players fall by the wayside.

Simon Thompson
Reality marketing based on a cooling economy; here is the product, this is the price, this is why it is better than the competition, buy it from here. 

Mark Cranmer
The immediate future is going to be about the further and accelerating redefinition of the marketing communications world. The challenge – or opportunity – indeed the imperative will be about having an anchored consistency to all marketing behaviour. It will be about having a centred strategic vision and doing things with greater speed while being driven by greater accountability of real business effects. 

matthew%20andersonMatthew Anderson, group director of brand and marketing communications, BSkyB
With so many options, prices and behaviours, even more consumers will choose brands that care about them and the things they care about. In 2007, whilst some brands made big promises and failed to deliver, others made fundamental changes and are stronger than ever. So for 2008, consumers will switch in record numbers to trusted brands that offer quality and value, rather than shifty offers, gimmicks or stunts.

Andrew Marsden
Keeping a steady hand on the tiller. If we do enter a consumer-led recession in the second half of the year, there will be a risk that people will use price as their only marketing tool. A careful course needs to be steered whilst remembering that building brands in recession relies on the same rules as at any other time. Evidence suggests that continuing to invest in brands at this time will pay significant dividends as we come out of the dip.

mark%20priceMark Price, managing director, Waitrose
Taking care of your customers while keeping tight control of your costs.

Dominic Chambers, head of brand and marketing communications, Vodafone UK
The beginning of the end of traditional advertising agencies. 

david%20pattisonDavid Pattison, chief executive, ILG Digital
366 days long and a leap forward. Why? Because it is actually a leap year, the digital arena will continue to broaden its influence.


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