We’ve singled out five ‘Leading lights’ from the 100 stars: BT’s Zaid Al-Qassab, Barclays' Sara Bennison, Tesco’s Michelle McEttrick, Amazon’s Simon Morris and Unilever’s Keith Weed. Those who know them well have offered their insights into how each one is facing some of marketing’s biggest challenges head-on, and what makes them tick.
We are also drawing a spotlight onto a group of marketers who have moved above and beyond the department to lead their business.
Halfords’ Jill McDonald, BT’s Gavin Patterson, The Body Shop's Jeremy Schwartz, Dow Jones’ Katie Vanneck-Smith, British Gas’ Will Orr, Guardian News & Media’s David Pemsel and The FA’s Martin Glenn are all examples of the power of marketing to lead from the front.
To celebrate longevity in marketing leadership, look out for a star – this represents those who have made the list for five or more years, joining the Marketing Hall of Fame.
Above & beyond
This group of marketers has moved above and beyond the department to lead their business.
Nigel Vaz, global chief strategy officer and European CEO, SapientNitro@sapientnitro
Every year, Marketing’s Power 100 brings us a comprehensively researched list of the most influential people in marketing. The majority of the Power 100 are ‘veterans’; they consistently make the list not because of length of service, but because they continue to keep their brands relevant in an age of rapid and radical change. The remainder – this year more than a third of the 100 named individuals – are new to the list, although many of the brands they represent are not. What does it all mean? That customer experience matters. Now the paramount indicator of brand performance, customer experience is forcing brand promise and technology together – and, more than ever, powerful marketers know how to operate at the intersection.
1 Don’t just make promises. Deliver them
Successful marketers balance the ‘say’ and the ‘do’. They have adjusted their focus from making the brand promise in advertising and marketing messages to creating customer experiences that fulfil that brand promise; products and services as marketing. Blurring those lines will deliver the utility and value that consumers increasingly expect from brands.
2 Cut through with purpose
The issue of ad-blocking is presented largely as a content providers’ challenge, but it raises concerns for brand owners, too. The greater and more differentiated a brand’s purpose, the more insulated it is from the effect of consumer resistance to targeting and perceived intrusion – particularly in the online and mobile environments. A glance at the Power 100 list shows a host of brands and marketers that possess a purpose quickly and easily understood by consumers across the brand, digital and commerce spaces.
3 Identify with the full customer journey
The customer doesn’t care which bit of the business they are interacting with, whether it be the retail team in-store; the customer service team via a call centre or social media; the tech team through the website; or the marketing team via advertising and marketing activity. Successful marketers empower all customer touchpoints to deliver the brand narrative and ensure that customer experience is universally excellent and differentiated.
4 Understand the whole business
More than ever, marketing and marketers cannot operate in isolation. As many leading businesses look at the challenge of digital transformation and what it means for the entire organisation, marketers are realising they are primary digital stakeholders alongside IT, sales, service, finance and the operational supply chain.
5 Develop hybrid skills
The emergence of new roles and job titles is a reflection that the scope of marketing is broadening, and that traditional structures and silos run contrary to the need to put customer experience at the core. Among this year’s Power 100, Asda’s Barry Williams and Tesco’s Robin Terrell both answer to the title chief customer officer, while BA’s Troy Warfield has the job title executive director of board and director of customer experience. Whatever the job title, the person who best understands the brand’s purpose, its consumers, and how to make their experience with the brand a positive and seamless one, is the one with whom future success and power will lie.