Marketing Society Marketer of the Year

It has been a challenging year for marketers, but there have been outstanding performers on the stage.

These are the nominees for The Marketing Society Marketer of the Year 2011 - to be voted on by you, the readers of Marketing, and presented at the Society's Awards for Excellence on 6 June at the London Hilton. Read these profiles and cast your vote by 5pm on Monday 25 April.

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NEIL BLAKESLEY, Vice-president of marketing, Global Services, BT

In a tough financial climate, Blakesley has been a driver of positive change in helping to turn BT's Global Services business around. Income rose 15% in the fourth quarter last year, with the division expected to turn a profit this year - 12 months earlier than targeted. Promoted to his current role in March, Blakesley is driving the adoption of a vertical model through which BT Global Services is taking a go-to-market approach, focusing on four regions and four vertical sectors. He is also credited with creating the Key Account Marketing programme, transforming the way in which BT delivers qualified opportunities direct to global account teams.

SALLY COWDRY, Marketing director, O2

Marketing director of O2 since 2006, Cowdry has been the force behind many of its successes, including bolstering its market-leading position. She helped secure network exclusivity for the iPhone launch in 2007, and managed the O2 brand's extension into the broadband, financial and media sectors, as well as its sponsorship of The O2 arena in London. Cowdry retained overall responsibility for marketing following last year's shake-up of operations at the company, which brought sales and marketing centre-stage. Never one to stand still, she kicked off 2011 with a revamp of O2's advertising strategy across all products and services and the launch of the brand's GuruTV channel on YouTube.

THOMAS DELABRIERE, Marketing director, Innocent Drinks

Delabriere joined Innocent from PepsiCo in 2009. Under his leadership, it has rolled out a raft of new lines, including branching out into food through Innocent Veg Pots, which are now a £12m business. He also engineered the brand's entry into the juice market with the launch of orange and apple juice. A further food product launch is set for this summer, and Delabriere's objective is to double the size of Innocent by 2013, increasing penetration by widening its customer base and driving up frequency of consumption. So far, so good: last year Innocent grew penetration from 14% to 17%, according to TNS Worldpanel.

ELIZABETH FAGAN, Marketing director, Boots

This marketing mastermind's eye for the next big thing and willingness to empower her team to do great work have consistently helped Boots to increase share in its core health and beauty categories. A major coup was the extension of the retailer's Advantage loyalty card to some 50 partners, including, eBay and Mothercare, while a deal with French retail group Carrefour greatly extended Boots' international reach. Its hugely successful 'Here come the girls' campaign is still going strong in its fifth year, while last November Boots' health and beauty promotions were united under a single 'brand voice' for the first time.

ANDY FENNELL, Chief marketing officer, Diageo

Fennell is a true visionary. During his career at Diageo the seasoned drinks marketer has doubled the turnover of its Smirnoff vodka and rum portfolios in three years, driven rapid growth across Eastern Europe and Russia, and played a key role in implementing responsible drinks marketing, as well as championing a strong digital presence. Last year, Fennell oversaw a change in Diageo's marketing department structure, shifting the global marketing function from a brand focus to category management to encourage further growth. Other initiatives such as Smirnoff's 'Nightlife Exchange', continue to break marketing boundaries and bring Diageo brands to a wider audience.

JON GOLDSTONE, Marketing director, Premier Foods

When Premier Foods announced the creation of a group marketing division last year, the obvious choice to lead it was Goldstone, previously marketing director of the Hovis division. There, Goldstone oversaw the development of the award-winning 'Go on, lad' TV commercial, launched Hovis Hearty Oats and led the shift to using only British wheat. These initiatives contributed to Hovis becoming Britain's fastest-growing brand in 2009, with sales increasing by £46m. His new role combines the lead marketing roles for Premier's Hovis and grocery divisions with responsibility for brands including Branston and Mr Kipling. His key objective is to accelerate branded growth in the face of strong competition from supermarket own-label lines.

CRAIG INGLIS, Director of marketing, John Lewis Partnership

John Lewis' pre-tax profits leapt 20% last year to £367.9m, underpinned by an increased investment in marketing. This has encompassed headline-grabbing advertising, as well as a stronger focus on ecommerce. In the past two years, activity has included the launch of John Lewis at Home stores and the relaunch last April of the brand's 85-year-old 'Never knowingly undersold' proposition through the eye-catching 'Always a woman' ad. This has since been viewed more than 2.5m times online, becoming one of the most talked-about commercials ever.

CHRIS JANSEN, Managing director of services and commercial, British Gas

As group commercial director, the charismatic Jansen played a major role in reviving the energy company's reputation with the 2009 'Count on British Gas to look after your world' campaign. He is also credited with having bolstered the business' consumer focus. A price-cutting drive last year helped boost customer numbers by 500,000 and profits soar to £1.5bn. In the past year British Gas replaced EDF as the energy partner of loyalty scheme Nectar and became the partner for Sainsbury's Energy. Last June, Jansen became managing director of British Gas services and commercial. Challenges ahead include new pricing rules from regulator Ofgem and continued stiff competition, but Jansen will take these in his stride.

AMANDA MACKENZIE, Chief marketing and communications director, Aviva

Visionary and ambitious, Mackenzie succeeded where others feared to tread in rebranding familiar insurance group Norwich Union under the global Aviva moniker. Since then, she has been the spearhead of a focus on brand activity that has led Aviva to adopt a more customer-centric approach to marketing. This has been evident in campaigns such as last year's 'You are the big picture', which generated more than 1m hits on the Aviva website; consumers uploaded more than 40,000 photos in the first three weeks. A prominent industry figure, Mackenzie recently joined the board of Mothercare, and was a member of the recent government Communications Review, as well as Lord Davies' Women on Boards steering group.

RUPERT THOMAS, Marketing director, Waitrose

With Thomas at the helm, Waitrose has gone from strength to strength, boosting profits by 3% to £274.9m last year. Innovative campaigns have brought in new customers and increased the loyalty of existing ones. The supermarket has focused its marketing on the twin messages of quality and affordability with initiatives including the continued development of its lower-priced Essential range, and online customer engagement programme MyWaitrose. Thomas also led the launch of Waitrose's brand match price promise last September, and increased its overall profile through a year-long Channel 4 sponsorship deal, a new customer food magazine and a high-profile tie-up with TV cook Delia Smith and celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.

LUKE WHITCOMB, Marketing director, National Trust

Whitcomb has brought the National Trust into the 21st century through a focus on social marketing and consumer engagement. Luke was the first to integrate social marketing campaigns into the Trust’s communication, with the ‘Food Glorious Food’ campaign which included over 1000 events at National Trust properties and activities focused on local and seasonal food. He led the introduction and development of the ‘time well spent’ visiting proposition and campaign in 2009; he carried out a major strategic review of the Trust’s membership programme and has overseen two successive, record-breaking years for the recruitment of new members; and he headed up the development of the business case for a major expansion of the Trust's digital marketing .


PHIL YORK, Marketing director, Renault UK

A major player in Renault's recent revitalisation, York reconnected the car manufacturer's advertising with its French culture, guaranteeing the impact of this February's 'Va va voom' ad for the Clio model by bringing back former brand ambassador Thierry Henry alongside burlesque star Dita Von Teese and singer Rihanna. York also helped Renault score official sponsorship of Rihanna's latest tour, and led the multi-faceted Megane Experiment campaign, the website for which has attracted 500,000 visitors. His next task is to support Renault's objective of becoming the first volume producer of electric vehicles; it will launch four models by the end of next year. To succeed, York needs to conquer the hearts and minds of consumers.


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