Opinion

'You don't need to be in London to enjoy working in marketing', plus 5 more career tips

In the latest of our Lessons from the Next Generation Power 100, Peter Spiers, head of advertising and design at William Hill and a member of the Next Gen class of 2008, shares his best advice for those building their marketing career.

Peter Spiers, head of advertising and design at William Hill
Peter Spiers, head of advertising and design at William Hill

Since being profiled in Power 100: Next Generation, I’ve been "on a journey", as they say – out of the broadcast sector into the challenging, but exciting, world of betting and gaming (at Sky Bet, and now William Hill). This is a journey during which, apart from anything else, I have moved from South London to West Yorkshire. It didn’t take long for my Yorkshire-born wife to convince me that relocation to "God’s Own Country" was the best plan for us. We’ve since had three daughters, so I’m very much outnumbered at home and, more often than not, exhausted.

I’ve been asked to suggest some top tips for young marketers. But I’ll immediately add a caveat to them all by stating that I still have a lot to learn myself; which brings me straight on to tip number one.

  1. Never stop learning. Keep listening and learning from courses, seminars, books, magazines, your boss, your peers, your competitors, your agencies, even your parents. You can learn something from everyone, even if it’s how not to do something.
  2. North vs South. You don’t need to be in London to enjoy a rewarding and successful career in marketing. In the six years that I’ve been in the North, I’ve worked with some incredibly talented marketers, planners and creatives who are comfortably as good, if not better, than their counterparts in Soho and Shoreditch. The beer is better up here, too.
  3. Keep things in perspective. There are times when we’re convinced that the campaign we’re grafting away on is the single most important thing in the world – but it never is. Achieving the right work/life balance is a much-discussed (but easily parked) necessity in your career, especially if you have little ’uns at home.
  4. Move around and gain experience in multiple sectors. It gives you a more diverse arsenal of ideas and solutions.
  5. Try to work for a business, or at least in a sector, that excites you. If you have shared interests – or, better still, shared values – with the business, it’s easier to find the motivation to go the extra mile. At William Hill, I’ve recently moved from a more holistic marketing role into one that focuses on the creation of content and communications. I’ve always felt more passionate, and that I’m adding the most value, when I’m close to the creative process. Turning insight into customer-facing propositions and, eventually, communications is simply what excites me most.
  6. Define success on your own terms. It’s counterproductive to try to be someone you’re not in the pursuit of what you think success looks like. Play to your strengths and enjoy what you do. That is success.

View Nxt Gen 2015