The things that should make you excited to be a marketer

It’s easy to get down about the purpose of impact of marketing, but don’t lose perspective on what makes it so great to be part of.

Not that we are unique in this, but it has been a tricky couple years for marketing – budgets slashed to keep the lights on, the near impossibility of predicting demand from one week to the next, energy-draining Zoom meetings; not to mention the impact of rising freight and commodity costs, Brexit, and so forth. All this for an industry that was already contemplating the evidence of declining marketing effectiveness and pondering how brands can play a more positive role in the world, while questioning whether ‘brand purpose’ indeed has any purpose.

It’s enough to make even the most resilient marketer exhausted and it’s no wonder, in many respects, that there has been such a massive upheaval of talent.

As an eternal, and you might say naive, optimist, I’ve also spent most of the last two years wanting to get back to focusing more on the future – getting the balance right between dealing with the often overwrought present we have had to contend with, inside and outside of work, and creating new possibilities for the more stable world which will surely emerge again. Right now feels like the moment to forge ahead, and remind ourselves of the things in our sphere of control and what will motivate us. It’s a great moment to remind ourselves of all the exciting things marketing offers us.

Marketing’s transformative questions don’t start with ‘how?’

Marketing is fun

It certainly should be – the core of our work is solving problems with simple thinking, flair and creativity.  We get to create possibilities, unlock value and, most of all, we do this through deep collaboration with an amazing and increasingly diverse set of colleagues and partners.

Marketing does work

New evidence suggests that calling out the demise of effective marketing was premature, and that we are not in fact rats on a treadmill, expending our efforts for diminishing returns. Marketing is the oxygen that sustains businesses, helping them identifying opportunities for growth and make sense of markets and consumer behaviour.

Great marketers are code breakers, combining curiosity and hard work to balance the different levers that crack the code for growth. This mindset of trial and error, learning, readjustment and occasionally busting out a bold new plan is exhilarating.

Positive impact

Though purpose-driven marketing may have disappeared up itself in the eyes of some investors and the industry, this is a sideshow to the exciting task in hand – to work out the role brands can play credibly in a more sustainable future.

This is not about how virtue signalling may attract new buyers, but a more holistic job to be done in understanding the material impacts of your brand and business; how to reduce harm and create better foundations for all your stakeholders – consumers, customers, employees and communities.  Marketers have a broad role to play in championing inclusion, fair wages and a transparent supply chain, and enabling consumers in turn to make considered choices and reduce their impact on the world.

Looking outwards

After so long being stuck at home, we can now get back out into the world and immerse ourselves in the vibrant and ever-changing world of our consumers and culture. Beyond understanding consumers, we also get to engage with how advances in social science, technology and so forth can improve our ability to reach and inform potential audiences.

We can inspire our entire organisations to see the value that getting out in the world can have, improving all aspects of how we bring our products and services to market, while satisfying our curiosity and gaining fresh perspectives.

Creativity and innovation

Marketers can rely on not only rigour but also creativity in everything they do. This is exciting – we have permission to pioneer change, experiment, approach things differently and dream big. When we apply this in its fullest sense beyond the core of the marketing mix, our innovation can create entire new businesses.

Leadership and influence

We are fortunate to work in an industry community which fosters and values self-knowledge, insight and humility in order to inspire, influence, and have greater impact and presence. The generosity of people in marketing to offer their time and experience to mentor others is incredible. It helps those who access it to grow their footprint as business leaders, as well as the boldness with which they orchestrate change across their businesses and manage their careers.

I see my role as being about pioneering change – shaping a more progressive future through diverse people and perspectives. I am energised and have fun when I spend my time doing this, and see the growth that can result for the organisation and its people. How do you see your role, and what will excite and motivate you to shape the future ahead of us in marketing?

Marketing Week is looking at what marketing’s opportunity is to lead and how to realise it in a a series called ‘The Power to Transform’. The  Festival of Marketing’s Transform event in March will provide further insight into how to realise marketing’s potential. 

The Power to Transform



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