Marketers band together for book to raise money for the NHS

Senior marketers from brands including Tesco, Uber, Adidas and Greggs have contributed to a new book that aims to raise money for NHS Charities Together amid the ongoing pandemic.

The book, Excerpts From Experts, was the idea of publisher Fortune Hill, which wanted to find a way to help during the crisis. More than 200 marketers have taken part, while Marketing Week columnist and Mini MBA founder Mark Ritson has provided the foreword.

Topics tackled include advice for those just starting out in marketing, insights into the brands top marketers admire the most and the role of marketing during a crisis. It aims to raise £100,000, with proceeds from the sale of the book going to charity.

Below, we have some excerpts from the book and some of the big-name marketers within.

The role of marketing during a crisis

Omar Gurnah, head of marketing, Uber and Uber Eats UK

Doing the right thing. Brands have a bigger audience than most individuals and can be a powerful force for good. Early on during Covid, while we were trying to adjust to our new reality, the marketing team at Uber focused quickly on how we could use our platform to help frontline workers – whether that was millions of free rides and meals for the people that needed them most, or providing free protection for the drivers who wanted, or needed, to continue working during the crisis.

We didn’t run glitzy campaigns or shout about the work – but the responses we got from drivers, nurses, business owners, victims of domestic abuse and others who’d found the little extra support helpful, were genuinely moving. It took many more people than the marketing team to put the programmes into action, but it showed that brands can make a difference.

Walter Susini, senior vice-president EMEA marketing, Coca-Cola

The most important thing for marketing in a moment like this is to stop saying and focus all the energy on doing. We decided to stop all our marketing activities for three months starting from April to focus our energy, our talent, and our resources to help the communities we’ve lived in for more than 130 years.

Hannah Squirrell, customer and marketing director, Greggs

Education, information, reassurance seems key right now as the world tackles this terrible virus. People often assume that marketing is just selling or advertising, whereas actually it is our role to provide our audience with the right information they need at the right time. Most importantly we need to make it clear, easy to understand and provide reassurance wherever we possibly can.

Advice that left an impression

Alessandra Bellini, chief customer officer, Tesco

Nobody said it had to be fair! So true. Always be prepared for the unexpected, the curve ball and the seemingly unfair market performance. Just get back at it and find a different way to win!

Advice I would give my younger self

Mark Woods, brand and customer communications director, Primark

My marketing career came to me later on my journey and I started life on the shop floor as a retailer. I do believe having this experience has helped me to be successful and understand how it actually works at the coal face and how customers react to what they are being shown.

My advice to myself would have been to gain as much knowledge, experience and understanding of how customers behave, and continually update this knowledge.

Roy Gardner, vice-president of marketing, Adidas

Collect lots of different experiences from within marketing and from functions adjacent to it, as it will give you an excellent (broad) perspective of business as your career develops.

Advice for people starting out in marketing

Ruben Navarro Sanchez, director of brand marketing, football, EMEA, Nike

There are many companies and brands out there trying to resonate with their consumers, being loud and fighting for consumers’ attention and loyalty, especially in these unprecedented times. Whoever you work with, whatever your starting position in marketing is, always be passionate about what you do.

Nathan Ansell, marketing director, clothing and home, Marks & Spencer

Business needs great marketing now more than ever. It is possible that we are about to go through the deepest recession for a generation – disposable income will be challenged, and confidence will be low. Marketing also stretches across more of the business than ever – not just the traditional four P’s (which are as relevant now as they ever were), but digital creates many opportunities to add value to the customer experience and growth agenda.

There has never been a better or more exciting time to be in marketing, so my advice for anyone starting out would be to walk tall and double down on the growth agenda. Don’t fall into the trap of allowing marketing to become an intellectual or academic endeavour – focus on deeply understanding what customers value and delivering for them profitably, and you will be successful.

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