david wheldon

Future of Marketing

Analysis paralysis and the importance of curiosity

The former RBS, Barclays and Vodafone CMO reflects that making a difference is the fuel that drives marketers

By David Wheldon

What a glorious time to be a marketer, especially a blissfully semi-retired one. Regularly asked to comment on modern marketing and the challenges for a modern marketer I find myself reflecting that to survive and thrive marketers have always had to be “modern”.

Curious, culturally aware, data literate, analytical, tech literate, clear thinking, plain speaking, personable, positive, comfortable being uncomfortable, trusting, and trusted.

To succeed above all the ability to listen more than to talk and to accept and give direct feedback. The ability to learn and grow every day and to ensure that momentum is maintained, with so many challenges and pressures it is easy to get lost in analysis paralysis, to prosecute every decision and to stifle progress.

Marketing is the customer focussed confidence business, always has been and always will be. The channels and tools change but the business requirements don’t. Outcomes over outputs.

To paraphrase Bill Bernbach as the world around us has changed exponentially the fundamental nature of human beings has not, people need to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of their own. Key to communications and to team building, soft skills more important when the pressure is on.

Making a difference every day is the fuel that drives marketers. There is no shortage of opportunities to make a difference and the more challenging the environment the greater the need for great marketing driven by great marketers.

2023 should provide some of the best marketing we have ever seen.

David Wheldon is the former chief marketing officer at RBS


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