Here's what excites and scares the world's top marketers in 2023
The Drum recently had the opportunity to sit down with members of the WFA Global Marketer of the Year 2023 jury to gain valuable insights into what makes an exceptional global marketer and the current state of the marketing discipline.
Here's what excites and scares the world's top marketers in 2023
It’s that time of year again. The Drum and the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) have partnered for a sixth year to celebrate marketers. You can nominate your pick here - but time is running out fast.
The organization has selected four pillars that marketers should focus on.
Driving initiatives that contribute towards sustainable business growth;
Optimizing global marketing organization, including through working effectively with partners;
Delivering standout innovation and creativity;
Playing an industry leadership role, for example, furthering the diversity and inclusion agenda.
Our Q&A with the organization’s jury explored their candid thoughts about the practice of marketing and what lies ahead.
From the four pillars, what should be the priority of marketers this year?
“Sustainable business growth is key for marketers. The others are essential, but, in my view, they are each in service of delivering the outcome of sustainable growth, which is at the heart of a marketer’s role and DNA,” says Lucinda Peniston-Baines, co-founder and managing partner of the Observatory International.
“Brands are confusing automation with optimization. Automation is a process, but optimization is the outcome of doing the optimal or best thing. The marketer getting this right has two feet in the future and is not following the path of the past,” says Tom Ollerton, founder of Automated Creative.
“Sustainable business growth is critical. Growth needs to be sustained for commercial success and to be delivered with sustainability in mind for the sake of the planet during this climate crisis,” says David Porter, strategic advisor.
“While delivering standout innovation and creativity is crucial, it alone isn’t enough. Pairing it with a strong industry leadership role, especially in areas like the diversity and inclusion agenda, elevates the credentials of nominees. This combination reflects a comprehensive approach to marketing, one that not only benefits the organization but also positively impacts society,” says Leyal Eskin, vice-president - head of personal care business Arabia, Unilever.
“In many industries, this year has been one of uncertainty, recession and disruption. This means it’s more important than ever that marketers show their value - and deep understanding of their audiences - by both focusing marketing efforts on existing products and projects that drive business growth and also being part of the high-level conversations in which new initiatives are conceptualized and brought to life,” says Jasper Donat, chief executive, Branded.
What most excites you about marketing as a discipline right now?
“A plethora of channels and platforms, including the emergence of AI, is opening up new ways of engaging our consumers,” says Mikimasa Hamamatsu, general manager of global marketing at Nissan Motor Corporation.
“The world is in flux, and marketing’s role is more critical than ever in figuring out what people’s needs and aspirations will look like tomorrow. And at a time when many people withdraw into their bubbles and certainties, marketing has this magic power of surprising people, of getting them to think differently and of embracing the new and unknown,” says Stephan Loerke, chief executive of WFA.
“Purpose-driven marketing inspires me. It’s about more than just sales or metrics; it’s a platform for championing causes, making a positive societal impact, and aligning with consumers’ values. Marketing isn’t just about products; it’s about building meaningful relationships and driving change,” says Leyal Eskin, vice-president - head of personal care business Arabia, Unilever.
“I’d say the continuous drive for creative ways to pre-empt customers’ needs and also position to meet them in an ever-changing and dynamic business and economic landscape,” says Ademorayo Apara, senior MSE brand strategy budget planning and special projects, First Bank of Nigeria.
“The power of AI to bring automation tools to marketing, to allow marketing execs to focus on the human elements of marketing – building genuine connections with audiences,” says Jasper Donat, chief executive of Branded.
“Recent technological leaps are forcing us to re-examine the value in the marketing of human interventions: human contact, human inspiration and creativity, the value of the random actions that we bring to processes,” says David Porter, strategic advisor.
“Data-driven marketing is making a new creativity possible. The subjectivity is being removed with new insight and reporting. This will free up creatives to come up with ideas that will make better ads that will delight audiences and perform better for the brands,” says Tom Ollerton, founder of Automated Creative.
What’s the one unspoken question marketers and their agency partners need to ask of each other?
“Do we really think that what we do is driving the business, and how? Or are we doing things business as usual…” says Mikimasa Hamamatsu, general manager of global marketing at Nissan Motor Corporation.
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“The question is actually not that different from what married couples should be asking themselves: how do you keep the passion alive? How do you keep partners on their toes, how do you inject fresh stimulus, how do you encourage them to take risks, and how do you bring in change in a long-term relationship that is built on mutual respect and a profound understanding of the brand and the category?” says Stephan Loerke, chief executive, WFA.
“Are our marketing efforts genuinely focused on empowering the community, serving a higher purpose, and driving meaningful change in society, or are we simply doing just for doing?” says Leyal Eskin, vice-president, head of personal care business Arabia, Unilever.
“Is this about the customer or consumer?” - Ademorayo Apara, senior MSE brand strategy budget planning and special projects, First Bank of Nigeria.
“Was our campaign actually effective? Impressive numbers look great, but what do they mean in reality?” says Jasper Donat, chief executive of Branded.
“‘Are we really in this together?’ If you can answer ‘yes’ to that question, it means you have a clarity on what your partnership should deliver in terms of outcomes and measurement, a shared agenda on how to achieve that most effectively and efficiently in terms of ways of working, and mutual ‘skin in the game’ from a commercial perspective, such as a performance related bonus. It means you’re set up for success,” says Lucinda Peniston-Baines, co-founder and managing partner of The Observatory International.
“Why do we hand over so much of our marketing budgets to fraudsters?” says David Porter, strategic advisor.
And finally, a reminder the deadline to enter creeps closer. You can nominate your Global Marketer of the Year here. And for more information about the drive, including who is on the star-studded jury, read here.