Inspiring minds can make all the difference

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Marketing’s vitality depends on bold leadership, says Chris Pitt

IT’S TIME for those who work in marketing to inspire bolder leadership. For too long marketing has operated on the fringes of the boardroom – and reckoned not to be central to the organisation and its future direction.

Business as usual is, however, rapidly becoming unsustainable. Organisations need to move beyond incremental innovation and consider major reinvention and reshaping of how they operate.

Existing structures, revenue streams, distribution channels, people and their roles all need to be examined and aligned to ever-changing markets and ever more demanding customers.

Somewhere, someone will be doing business unusually and refining the business model.

Marketing needs to set the agenda and bring big, brave game-changing ideas to the boardroom. Usually big ideas are at first uncomfortable so they need be set in a business context the board can understand and sign up to.

As Oscar Wilde said: “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea.”

The Marketing Society encourages our members to think differently – inspiring them to be bolder marketing leaders.

Our members range from graduates in their first marketing role to board-level marketing directors and chief executives.

We promote the role of marketing from the classroom to the boardroom, from inspiring schoolchildren to consider a career in marketing to convincing other board directors of the need to put the customer at the centre of the organisation and develop the business based on better understanding and insights.

This year the Marketing Society will launch a new programme of events called “Inspiring Minds” which have been designed to examine four key areas of marketing which help develop big ideas that will make a big difference to business:

• Setting ambitious objectives and building a team and process to deliver results;

• Effective marketing planning and strategic analysis that delivers powerful insights;

• Original and creative thinking with effective execution and implementation;

• Measurement and evaluation to build on success or failure

The first “Inspiring Minds” event in the new programme will be held in Edinburgh at Hudson, Canning Street, on 19 March. The title of event is “Inspiring Briefs and Effective Client Agency Relationships”.

The event will be chaired by Asanka De Silva, global brand controller of the Famous Grouse, who set some context for the sessions: “Great briefs are at the heart of many great campaigns. They help cultivate good agency/client relationships and inspire great work. Yet most agency briefs are treated as a necessary evil with very little time spent on thinking them through.

“We hope this event will raise the importance of inspiring briefs as an inspiration to create great work.”

One of the speakers at the event is David Wethey, founder of Agency Assessments International and author of Decide: Better Ways of Making Better Decisions.

David travels around the world advising blue-chip clients on how best to select their agencies and build effective working relationships with them.

Often this can be down to managing fear both with the client and with the agency. Fear can be one of the biggest barriers to big ideas – fear of making mistakes, fear of losing money, fear of losing face in the boardroom or fear of losing the client.

Karen Dobie, senior brand manager at Maxxium, one of the leading drinks marketing companies based in Scotland, will outline how they try to inspire their agencies.

Launching the new programme, Graeme Atha, director of the Marketing Society, said: “Whilst the Marketing Society is not a training organisation and we do not define or accredit best practice, we do try and create events with a variety of perspectives that stimulate or provoke marketers to think differently and perform better.”

• Chris Pitt is chair of the Marketing Society Scotland. See also

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