The International Marketing Leaders Programme – 10th Anniversary Celebration

This past week we've had the pleasure of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Marketing Leaders Programme, 2013, a learning programme run by the Marketing Society in association with Brand Learning and sponsored by Shell. Although one of the key themes we focus on is the importance of marketing leaders being future-focussed, it was a great opportunity for a change to take a trip down memory lane and catch up with many of the delegates and contributors who have participated over the years.

Amanda Mackenzie, CMO of Aviva and President of the Marketing Society, opened proceedings by highlighting how much has changed in the past decade. Top stat of the evening was that YouTube hadn't even opened for business when we ran the first workshop 10 years ago!

Amanda herself has been a wonderful supporter of the programme, sharing her insights and experience as a contributor in every one of the ten years to date. We were delighted to be able to say thank you to several other contributors at the party too, including Craig Inglis (John Lewis), Ian Crook (Tesco), Dan Cobley (Google), Alex Batchelor (Brainjuicer), Martin Deboo (Investec) and Patrick Barwise (LBS).

Most notable among the previous delegates was Navjot Singh, originally of Shell, who attended the very first programme as a participant and went on to initiate Shell's continued and much valued sponsorship of the programme. Navi has since moved on to become CEO of Continental Solar, a sustainable energy company with a particular focus on rural India.

We took the opportunity at the party to ask everyone present to reflect on and share their most important lessons about marketing leadership. Brand Learning's Michele McGrath, a previous leader of the programme, talked about the importance of making sure you're "up to something that you're really passionate about". Steve Radcliffe, the leadership coach we partner with, challenged people about whether they were "walking, talking relationship-building machines".

Other lessons people shared included the importance of marketers always "doing the right thing by the customer". This isn't always easy, so marketers need to be bold, comfortable at times in being the "lone voice in the room". One delegate reminded us all of the ongoing challenge of "being at your personal best more of the time". Another told of his learning that having the right questions is more important than feeling the need to have all the answers in every situation. And at a slightly more tactical level, don't forget to carry around one or two killer charts with you so you can seize the moment to influence senior stakeholder whenever the opportunity arises, such as in a short elevator ride!

One thing everyone was agreed on was the importance of the role marketing leaders play in providing businesses with the customer focus and inspiration needed to drive sustainable growth. For this reason, we're delighted that the Marketing Leaders Programme is going from strength to strength. We are now inviting applications for our next programme, so please click here if you would like to find out more. And watch the video above to hear some interesting perspectives on marketing leadership from some of last year's contributors, including Andy Fennell (Diageo), Jill McDonald (McDonalds) and James Elias (Google).

The Marketing Society's International Marketing Leaders Programme run in partnership with Brand Learning is for high potential individuals preparing for senior marketing and commercial leadership roles. Enquire about application today!


For more information about how Brand Learning can help you lift your organisation’s customer-centred leadership capabilities, please get in touch or contact me directly @AndyBird_BL. You may also like these films, perspectives and resources on Customer-Centred Leadership.

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