Q&A with Peter Sandstrom on his role as chairman of Marketing Society Scotland's Marketing Star Awards
Peter Sandstrom, marketing director of Maxxium UK has recently been appointed as chairman of the Marketing Society Scotland’s Marketing Star Awards. The Drum caught up with him to discuss the role and what he’ll be looking for in his first year overseeing the judging of the awards.
Why did you take up this position and what will you bring to the role?
I’ve been involved in the Marketing Society since I first started to look after the Maxxium portfolio as marketing director two years ago. My experience comes from having worked in both the emerging world of Africa, the Middle East and South Eastern Europe.
What I see is a lot of talent and a lot of marketing capability across all of these regions, but I see a lot of that in Scotland. I see a lot of talent in Scotland and a lot of capability in Scotland and that’s quite inspiring.
When I looked at taking over this position I was firstly proud that I was asked and I thought ‘yeah, if I can bring some inspiration to the marketing society and bring some pride into what people are doing in this market that would be excellent’. When I see some of the creative campaigns coming out of the agencies – be that Irn Bru, be that The Famous Grouse – it just generates creativity and talent and we should be proud of that.
What will you be looking for from Star Awards entrants?
I think it’s important that entrants demonstrate that their marketing activation has done what it set out to deliver. Many marketing campaigns have lacklustre key performance objectives and lacklustre growth targets against what they were trying to do. Sometimes they are even retrofitted.
So I think it’s important that the entrants are delivering their message in a clear, concise way but also demonstrating the actual performance of those campaigns and how they have delivered for their organisation. I think also a lot of marketing people constantly only focus on their successes but there are also things to be learnt in non-successes as well.
What makes a great marketer?
Everybody is looking for growth, everybody wants to find growth. One of the most powerful things any organisation can find is great creativity and ideas. If great creativity and ideas can be brought to the table that inspire a little bit of growth then it just lifts the whole organisation.
Be that a big company, be that a small company, it’s about those creative ideas and bringing those creative ideas to market. I think when I look at the challenges across the world, and I look at marketing people around the world, the ones that stand out for me the most are the ones that can turn a strategy into action; so they don’t just talk the game they do the walking as well. They make it happen.
That is one of the fundamental capabilities of a great marketer, that they can drive that growth from a piece of paper into the market and deliver that for a business. That’s inspiring and I see it on a daily basis from all corners of Scotland.
What’s new for the awards this year? Are you introducing any new categories?
One of the key changes is we are looking at the arts and culture sector and there will be a number of creative awards against that. We’ve got creative student and rising star award and ultimately the creative star of the year award.
These inclusions are really focused on taking on board the Scottish Government’s year of creativtity in 2012 – on the back of that we’ve introduced a lot more creative awards this year. We should be celebrating the creative talent that we have. I don’t see why Scotland shouldn’t become one of the creative hothouses of the UK market because the talent is here.
I see a lot of Scottish people go outside of Scotland and get a lot of experience and we don’t often attract them back. I think that’s a core part of what the Scottish agencies and marketing companies should be striving towards - to show that this is a great place to build your creative talent and build your marketing talent.
How can entrants demonstrate their creativity? What will the creative Star of the Year have to embody, for instance?
For me personally it’s around the ingenuity of the ideas. They don’t have to be revolutionary ideas that are completely new. I think that creativity needs to be able to drive delivery and performance.
I see the Visit Scotland activations that are happening to draw visitors here and I think, creatively, how do you bring that to life? That is what I would be looking for: engaging material that will capture people’s attention.
In the spirit of engagement, do you expect to see a lot of digital and social media work entered into the awards this year?
I do think we will have a lot of digital entries, potentially, because it is a highly-cluttered market. It is a very, very creative market. I think there will be a lot of digital awards.
And in your position as a marketer, how strong is the digital scene in Scotland?
I do think there is a lot of digital capability here. I think there is an increasing opportunity for Scotland to become a powerhouse in that arena. And why not? The talent is here. We’ve got some of the best universities in the world up here. And we’ve got a lot of creative students in this market so I think that’s a fundamental opportunity for everybody up here.
Entries to the Marketing Star Awards can be made until 13 February at 5pm with the winners set to be announced at a Ceremony to be held at The Corn Exchange on 17 May.