Ask Keith Weed: how can marketers galvanize their businesses around consumers?

Each week, revered marketer and president of the Advertising Association Keith Weed, who will be one of the delegates at The Drum's Can-Do Festival, will take questions from marketers around the world, using his experience to help solve their problems.​

Kristy McCready, chief marketing officer, Homeserve: Keith, I remember you being quoted (in The Drum I think) as saying that when marketeers feel left behind by their consumers, it’s usually because they are. So, how do you galvanize an organization around the need to move with your consumers when you have embedded and proven growth drivers in place that are holding you back?

Keith: Firstly, I’d say that most companies would celebrate having embedded and proven growth drivers! I think you’re right to be concerned about whether these drivers will continue to be so, as consumers’ lives and aspirations change. It is important, as a chief marketer, to challenge this. As a marketeer, you need to know where consumers are – and, more importantly, where they are going – to ensure you can serve them better. If you can understand the dynamics of the consumer and the market, and then share that in your company, you will be providing valuable insight.

I believe the best way of galvanizing leaders or a team around a new agenda is to immerse people in those changes and bring the outside in. Seeing is believing. Consumer safaris are one option, where you take people out to see consumers in their homes or to do assisted shopping trips. However, given the time pressures on senior leaders, reverse mentoring could be a powerful approach. So pairing leaders with younger team members who represent some of these advances in consumer behavior, or connecting people directly with consumers so they can experience first-hand the change that is coming.

This is so much more powerful than sharing reports, which often end up unread by busy executives. Our role as marketers is to spark people’s curiosity in what is happening so they are more receptive to the need for change.

Good luck driving that change!

Weed will be one of a number of speakers at The Drum's forthcoming Can-Do Festival. Details on the event can be found here.

If you want to ask Keith Weed a marketing question to consider in a future installment, email