Ten things I love about marketing | DMA

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Ten things I love about marketing


​Clickbait is all about lists. It seems undeniable that we are programmed to want to binge on facts, information and fun. From ‘ten celebrities you wouldn’t recognise’ to ‘the world’s biggest ships’ to box sets like ‘The Walking Dead’, the now economy has caught up with the now culture.

With that in mind, perhaps I can tempt you to consider what might be the ten things that are great about working in (data-driven) marketing. At times, the temptation can be to focus on the gloomy. Stormclouds on the horizon from the IPA Bellwether with budgets being cut. The constant pitching cycle and the sobering effect of GDPR. I want to focus for a second on the positives. You may not agree and that’s fine. In fact, I’d be thrilled if you could find ten better. So this is for fun, and while I may ask you to scroll, I promise not to ask you to click! Here goes:

  1. The customer

I’m going to be honest here, I did have ‘change’ as the first in the list originally. But how could I not put the customer first? And that’s what’s great about marketing; unless you’re not a very good marketer or you’re working for the wrong company. As I see it, the beauty of marketing, more than any other discipline is we’re the customer (or client) champions. We care about what they think, what they care about, what percentage of them do, what they need, will buy, for how much, and we care about winning their hearts and minds; often arm in arm alongside our ‘should be’ friends but occasionally frustrating partners, sales. Customer first.

  1. It’s us

Putting the customer first can be pretty easy, in principle. The thing is, we are those customers. Whether we’re talking b2c or b2b, we’ve been sold to, we’ve bought, we’ve gone omnichannel, we’ve seen good and bad. We get training and learn new approaches every day! How many other industries can say the same? Lucky us. I often tell this to people we recruit. Technical architects, analysts and the like may not be marketers, but working in the marketing industry, you can see the applications and results of new creative options much faster than someone trying to learn how to be good at technology designed for deep sea drilling or satellite communications. How often do you get to experience those, in detail, at first hand? We let the world around us teach us daily.

  1. Change

Yes, change was the first thing that came to mind, but it rightly made way for my top two. Surely there can’t be many more, if any, industries or disciplines where the change is so significant and continuous. Yes, the root principles stay the same, customer first. And let’s not even think of messing with the 4 or 7 P’s. But man alive, think of the number of channels, the complexities, the choices. Advertising and branding will always be important but at least now, digital and data-driven marketing have attained parity. I bet the admen didn’t see that coming 20 years ago, perhaps even just 10! And, if you are a data-driven marketer, just look at the changes between database-d direct marketing and today’s wild west of the lumascape. It never gets dull.

  1. Data and technology

Which leads me on to data and technology and after number 3, I hardly need expand further. Other than to say, data and technology are transforming our world and we marketers are right in the middle of using it fully.

  1. Creative

Look, even if we’re marketing data, Duracell batteries or dustbins, from time to time we get to choose how things should look and feel, how we present them and we write about them. In my experience, there is creativity in everyone, even us propeller heads, and it’s wonderful to see a creative spark come to fruition, even from the most unexpected source.

  1. People

Now we’re getting personal, so without casting aspersions on anyone else or any other discipline, let me say something I think we all know. Marketers are nice people. Well, usually. I love working with fellow marketers and I love working in the marketing industry, perhaps, most of all, because of the interesting, fun, committed, exciting and smart people I work with.

  1. Results

Almost all businesses are in the business of results, and, I feel confident that almost all functions now have found ways to measure their impact. The hardest part about marketing is the fact that we’re almost always part of the sales process. There are metrics we can measure outright but usually, we’re part of a composite amalgam of actions, responses and interactions that lead to a result. All that said, marketing is a discipline that’s increasingly measureable. Uncomfortable for some, but a shrinking percentage. Most of us want to know what works.

  1. Interesting

You could argue that this has been covered already, but it does deserve to be called out in its own right. Sure we get to play creative and work with rapidly changing technology but marketing is inherently interesting. Perhaps it’s because we work around that most human process of satisfying needs? Or because we have to be constantly learning about changing people? Ultimately, marketing hinges on understanding very human responses and desires, how that changes from person to person, as well as what unites us. And, if you need an example of something that’s really interesting, just look into the emerging ethics around the use of data and not just in marketing. There’s always a fascinating new fact to learn.

  1. Great partners

I’m not using the same set of suppliers I used even 10 years ago but generally speaking, there are great suppliers in our industry. As a consumer (and here comes that point I made earlier) I’ve bought many things from many brands and companies. But, in our industry, charlatans apart, we’ve got really good, committed suppliers where a bit of trust can lead to a highly-productive, easy to manage and fun relationship.

  1. Inclusive

Stuck in the middle with you, and you, and you. Marketing communications can suffer from being expected to work at the very end of the process, ‘beautifying’ the great work of others into a smart campaign or website that takes this great work to market. Yet, more often, marketing really does touch almost every part of the business. If you’re looking for any one example to prove that today, in our industry, let me use four letters: GDPR.

So there you have it. Ten, not forced or contrived, at least not intentionally, reasons to make you feel good about being a marketer or working in the marketing industry. If you’re really lucky, like me, you’re a marketer in the marketing industry.

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