CAREERS: Job interview

Name Steve Boocock

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

management positions.

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

public relations.

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

of people.

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


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