Simon jobling * pan European Marketer * Eastman KODAK professional
Simon Jobling is perhaps not the most photogenic man in marketing, so
his impending career move to Eastman Kodak may not at first appear an
But Jobling has never been one to opt for the obvious. Before his
current role as head of marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment, he’d
already had eight previous, and brief, lives in the business world,
including new product development at Avon Cosmetics, a sales rep for
Nabisco and manager of a Kall-Kwik Printing outlet.
The CV he sent to Kodak to apply for his new role in pan-European
marketing of professional printing shows that shy, modest and retiring
are not words that sit easily with the name of Simon Jobling. He spent
just eight months heading up marketing for the Sony PlayStation but
confidently states he achieved ‘the most successful hardware launch in
Irritatingly enough for rivals Sega and Nintendo, Jobling is probably
right. Since moving over in April 1995 from his job as international
marketing manager at Sony Electronic Publishing, Jobling has
revolutionised the marketing of the computer games market.
Previously, the industry followed a set formula of short-term business
plans with marketing led by software launches. Jobling instead
introduced Sony to fmcg principles, segmenting the market into different
consumer target groups and integrating all advertising, road shows and
sponsorship deals around the theme of ‘power’.
He argued that marketing should be long-term. Jobling switched the
strategy to concentrate on brand-building and pushing Sony PlayStation
Though backing right from the top of the company and a large marketing
budget undoubtedly helped, Jobling’s efforts were clearly instrumental
in ensuring PlayStation led the battle in both sales and marketing by
Christmas 1995 (Marketing, January 4). The PlayStation launch week alone
generated pounds 10m revenue for Sony.
With next year’s games-industry battle predicted to be even more cut-
throat and fast paced than 1995’s, it seems a strange time to abandon a
post that guaranteed the chance to prove his name.
His position at Kodak will be lower profile but Jobling argues that it
will also be more challenging. He is to look at the possibility of Kodak
entering the field of professional leisure portraiture across Europe,
the Middle East, Africa and India.
Kodak may also extend its Professional Imaging division beyond just
distributing product in locations such as theme parks and schools into
owning the process by providing a photography service through
acquisitions, partnerships or franchised operations. Jobling will be
involved in investigating the viability of this project too and the best
business format for each territory.
‘Over the next year at Sony, the job will be mainly brand maintenance
and building. What motivates me is growth and development situations,’
says Jobling. ‘At Sony, I came in at the beginning to set up the market.
Kodak is an even broader opportunity because I will be working out the
business format and will have the logical career progression of general
It won’t be an easy one. Kodak has been in transition since it poached
chief executive George Fisher from the same position at Motorola in
December 1993. Fisher has spearheaded the move of the company’s pounds
33m corporate branding account into Ogilvy & Mather and overseen the
reorganisation of the firm as it struggles to fight off competitors. A
worldwide restructure is expected to be announced this week.
Jobling joins Kodak at the end of the month and new colleagues can take
heart from the two most popular memories that come out in talks with
Most mention marketing skills and bravery, variously describing him as a
‘maverick’, a ‘mould-breaker’ and a ‘forthright marketer with good
strategic knowledge’. All mention his obsession with his receding
He may still be follicly-challenged but if it comes to rising to a
business challenge then if anyone can, Jobling can.
1988-1990 Product development manager Polycell Products
1990-1992 International marketing manager Esselte Melto
1992-1993 Prospective franchise owner Kall-Kwik Printing (UK)
1993-1994 International marketing manager Sony (electronic publishing)
April 1995-Jan 96 Head of UK marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment
From Jan 96 Head of pan-European marketing, Kodak Eastman Professional