Marketers share the ‘game changing’ advice that helped them think differently

Make time, think beyond marketing and put customers above all else – we asked some of the world’s leading marketers to share one piece of advice that has worked for them.

Take time to make time. It may sound counterintuitive, but taking time to properly assess and understand the task at hand will pay dividends down the line.

That is the advice of some of the UK’s top marketers, who we spoke to ahead of this year’s Festival of Marketing to see what one thing they would single out as a game changer in their career.

Ross Farquhar, marketing director at mochi ice cream brand Little Moons, says the one thing he would highlight that has worked for him is to “spend more time than you think you need” defining the problem and writing the brief – even if that brief is for your eyes only.

“Running a race to execution won’t serve you, or your brand, well,” he adds.

Similarly, Marketing Week columnist and director of Passionbrand, Helen Edwards, says she has learnt to make time for things that are important.

“There is always more time than you think,” she suggests. “Yes, we have to move and ‘do’ faster, but taking the time to understand and really think will save you time [in the long run].”

For Mini MBA founder and fellow Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson, it’s about making time to better understand the customer.

If we as marketers don’t keep pace with the changes around us, we run the risk of becoming obsolete very quickly.

Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard

“The humility of marketing means everything you think about your product is probably wrong, only the customer knows,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard, suggests marketers’ time should be spent understanding the latest technology and consumer trends and how these could benefit and impact their brand.

“In this day and age of rapid transformation, marketers need to consciously invest in getting to know the latest and greatest technology, sciences, cultural shifts and more,” he says. “If we as marketers don’t keep pace with the changes around us, we run the risk of becoming obsolete very quickly. It’s particularly important to prioritise education as we move ahead in this transformative era.”

What marketers should stop (and start) doing immediately

Likewise, Little Moons’ Farquhar believes time should be spent working out how new platforms might create opportunities.

He singles out the growth of TikTok and consumers’ shift to more personal stories as a trend marketers should keep their eye on.

“TikTok’s success is symptomatic of a real desire to wash away the filters of ‘influencer’ and indulge in a more pure and ‘real’ form of entertainment,” he explains.

“Marketers would be wise to think more about how they can collaborate to create entertainment that leaves prospects thinking more highly (and more often) of their brand, avoiding the temptation to control.”

Similarly, Boots CMO Pete Markey believes marketers should turn their attention to platforms that enable to them to better connect with customers. He says marketers should be aware of “the emergence of platforms like LiveRamp and InfoSum and the chance to connect with your customers more and more through highly effective and targeted paid for media”. He describes is as “a game changer”.

However, if there was one piece of advice he’d highlight as being something that has worked for him it would be to take time to engage the wider business – not just those within marketing.

He suggests marketers should look to be “an amazing leader of positive and impactful change in your business as a whole, not just in marketing”.

These marketers will all be sharing their vast expertise at this year’s Festival of Marketing, which takes place on 18 to 21 October. They will be covering everything from powering growth and trends to customer delivery, creativity and collaboration. Visit the website for more information and to buy your pass.