Unilever: “Bring in young talent for digital content”

Unilever’s senior vice president of marketing urges brands to hire young people for digital content challenges.

Unilever - Project Sunlight - 2014

Brands need to hire young talent to address the capability gap caused by an increasingly digital media landscape, says Unilever’s global senior vice president of marketing Marc Mathieu.

Speaking to Marketing Week after a key note on why the industry needs to rethink marketing at the ISBA conference yesterday (11 March) Mathieu said: “We don’t have the skills to do digital marketing in a digital world and we don’t think technology first.”

“We need to bring in young talent for whom it’s much easier and natural to think about content in a digital world.”

He went on to say that marketers need to “re-certify” and that every business should “rethink itself as a technology company” but added that this causes a capability gap in marketing.

The idea that the young approach marketing in a different way was also applied to how Unilever uses its global start-up platform, The Foundry, which has created 55 start-up projects and eventually scaled and supported 22 pilots.

Mathieu says that the past generation would go out and look for ideas and try and crack any problems themselves but “the younger generation approach is more to say ‘if I’m trying to crack a solution then there is probably someone out there working on it already’.”

Unilever intends to increase crowdsourcing ideas from The Foundry and believes that by 2020 the number of ideas that we generate from the outside world will be tenfold what it is today.

Mathieu said: “No idea is novel it’s the way you assemble and build on it.”

Last year Unilever’s chief marketing officer Keith Weed claimed that marketers are struggling to keep up with the rapid rate of digital development because they are not “digital natives”.

A report into recruitment also shows that the rise of technology and data in marketing is creating a need for new types of marketer and finds that 84% of businesses are experiencing a marketing talent shortage with 81% saying marketing applicants lack the right skills.

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  1. Despite probably being seen as part of the “younger generation” I have to say this smacks of flagrant ageism. I’ve met many older peers who know more about technology and content than several of my generation put together.

    Also “think technology first” is another cancer on our industry. We shouldn’t be looking at shiny new technology and trying to shoe horn in a solution. Yet another example of the insane desire to chase shiny new things when the basics become boring.

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