Marketing Society invites digital to the top table

The Marketing Society, the 50-year-old institution of senior and board-level marketers, has launched a Digital Network in an attempt to help blue-chip companies develop their digital marketing strategies.

The move has been viewed as a significant step towards digital media achieving its long-desired place at the top table of marketing decision making.

The Digital Network has been launched to give senior marketers a forum in which to meet and exchange views and advice on implementing digital marketing strategies bought into at board level.

The Marketing Society is a membership body boasting the likes of Waitrose MD Mark Price and P&G’s marketing chief Roisin Donnelly. Its move to raise the profile of digital among its members is likely to help further shift marketing budgets online.

Marketing commentator Alan Mitchell said, “This is a recognition the world has changed. Most companies look at where their customers are but are slow to change. This is part of that adjustment.”

Simon Waldman, Guardian Media Group digital strategy and development manager, said, “A huge amount of the commercial health of the internet is going to be driven by the decisions of chief executives at blue-chip companies, influenced by their marketing directors. The digital agenda has to hit all areas of firms’ marketing and business strategies.”

The Marketing Society Digital Network aims to provide client marketers with independent advice on digital best practice and innovation. While the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) provides similar services, the Marketing Society’s membership is composed purely of senior-level marketers.

The key monthly networking events will be supported by an online network. The launch event, supported by Fishburn Hedges and attended by new media age, had presentations from Orange and The Guardian, with companies including Centrica, Diageo and Shell present.

Aviva’s online marketing manager Nick Duke, who also attended, said, “The opportunity for insight from digital peers and discussion of shared challenges is invaluable.”
Gemma Greaves, marketing director of the Marketing Society, said, “We want to lead the digital agenda by providing this unique network for client-side marketers to share best practice, insights and learning so that they can continue driving change and innovation in an ever-evolving digital world.”

In addition to helping its existing members embrace digital, the society is keen to increase representation from the digital marketing community.

Keith Reville, online sales director at Orange, said, “Bringing together like-minded professionals to discuss pragmatic, real-life experience of how blue-chip brands are making digital part of their operations, and the profound marketing implications of that, is very important.”

Waldman agreed the initiative would provide an important central forum for senior marketers implementing digital marketing strategies. “More businesses have digital specialists and they face similar challenges, so enabling them to learn from each other through a forum like this helps to overcome similar problems,” he said.

The Marketing Society Digital Network aims to help marketers implement strategies such as global search marketing plans, which are increasingly demanded by boards as more budget is allocated to digital.

Digital Network chairman Scott Gallacher said, “A lot of the case for digital has been proven but there’s a challenge regarding delivery of results in a blue-chip corporate environment. This initiative is designed to let the digital industry recognise the needs of corporate organisations and help them understand the role digital can play.”

This story first appeared on


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