Wanted: skills in art and alchemy

Marketing Editor Noelle McElhatton
Marketing Editor Noelle McElhatton

Fad or trend? Knowing the difference can be a matter of marketing life or death.

To ride the wave and be a hero, or to crash into the sand and be a loser?

Nowhere is this analogy of the marketing discipline more true than in the tech sector.

Dyed-in-the-wool, classic, mainstream FMCG marketers have had to wake up and smell all the flavours of the mobile app, LinkedIn, social-media cappuccino (see our Talent special). How much more so for their peers in the sector that is driving technology-based change?

Perhaps this explains Microsoft's marketing reshuffle. Emerging from the cull is one Philippa Snare; interestingly, she has a background that straddles business and marcomms.

As HR experts and recruitment consultants point out, these days you need an iron grip on the numbers, as well as being comfortable with the beanbag-hugging side of the role. There is always tension between the science and the art of going beyond the sell to the alchemy of understanding the consumer so well.

Finding people who do this has itself become the subject of science. Gut instinct is all very well, but when an organisation's fortunes are ever-more reliant on how it presents itself not only to consumers, but to legislators, business partners and the City, then the role of chief marketer is not something best left to chance.

Perhaps this is why Microsoft has gone for a known quantity - Snare has worked at the brand since 2000. Eurostar has also promoted from within, by elevating Lionel Benbassat to overall marketing chief.

Whoever has these roles maybe should not have 'marketing' in their title. After all, for a peerless example of marketing leadership, we have only to look to the late and lamented Steve Jobs.

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message