Name Steve Boocock
Job title Head of retail marketing
Company Q8 Petroleum (GB)
How did you get into marketing?
I had designs on a career in marketing when I left university in 1986
and applied to several FMCG manufacturers for junior marketing/brand
But they were highly suspicious of my physics degree and I had little
success. My first marketing role came in 1988, as sales promotion
manager with 7 Eleven, at a time when the company was expanding rapidly,
and my biggest consumer campaign there involved releasing 20,000
numbered yellow plastic ducks into the River Thames for a duck race.
What qualities do you need to succeed in this industry?
Alongside overall technical marketing skills and abilities, you need an
open mind, excellent interpersonal skills, a clear yet adaptable vision
of the future and the ability to communicate well with your team, peers,
colleagues, agencies, suppliers and customers.
What was your big break?
My big break was moving to Q8 in 1994, where I found an enterprising,
innovative culture in which all levels of staff are encouraged to think
for themselves and where what I do makes a difference. I think that kind
of culture is difficult to create; it strikes the right balance between
tight management on the one hand and creativity and innovation on the
other. I now have wide ranging responsibilities - my role as head of
retail marketing encompasses retail marketing, product management and
customer services as well as corporate branding, communications and
What are the challenges Q8 Petroleum faces in its sector?
The UK downstream oil industry is highly competitive. Q8 is currently a
relatively small player in the UK, so our challenge is to be totally
customer-focused in whatever we do, to be quick on our feet and to meet
the needs of our customers faster, smarter, simpler and more flexibly
than our larger competitors. Everything we do has to be commercial and
relate directly back to a business benefit.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
My future could go in either of two directions - onwards and upwards, in
which case I see myself as a marketing director within an FMCG
organisation, or alternatively, having emigrated to New Zealand or
Australia, to be running my own diving school.
Which individual has influenced you most in your career?
The marketing director of 7 Eleven when I first began my career - Mike
Goring, who is now a director with Arcadia. I remember Mike as an
inspirational leader and a superbly effective communicator and manager
What would be the one piece of career advice you would give?
To believe in yourself and your abilities and develop technical
Above all, enjoy your job.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Developing, piloting, researching and launching Q8’s new national retail
consumer promotion, Q8GO, in six months from start to end, which was a
total team effort from all those involved.
Store and area manager, 7 Eleven
Sales promotion manager, 7 Eleven
Store Manager, HMV (UK) Ltd
Buying and merchandising manager, Q8
Head of retail marketing, Q8