Pete Markey

Future of Marketing


Improv comedy, connecting with customers, that difficult third album: Boots' CMO on what lies ahead

Pete Markey loves a bit of stand-up but retail media, new tech and moving faster are priorities for 2023

By Pete Markey

It’s a new year and we’re back after a festive break!

Its time to gear ourselves back up again for all the challenges and opportunities that 2023 will bring.

As a CMO, my job is to grab hold of all those new opportunities, wrestle those challenges and keep myself and the team driving really strong growth for our business and I’m excited as we kick off again for the new year!

What excites me most is the potential to better connect with our customers this year. We’ve added over 1 million new active Boots Advantage Card holders in the past year and started to roll out our Adobe martech capability so there’s now even more people to connect with and even better technology to do it with. Plus we’ve been updating how we work to deliver campaigns in faster and smarter ways.

Connecting with customers is part of what drives the success of our retail media offer, Boots Media Group (BMG) too and I’m excited about how the technology we are investing in here will provide an even stronger way to help our customers and suppliers who partner with us.

And that connection to customers is driven by actively listening. What’s helped fuel the success in all our marketing campaigns across the past two years has been really leaning into what our customers want and need and that will continue to be a theme for us in 2023 especially through the cost of living crisis where value for money is front and centre in our customers' lives. We are launching a campaign later this month driven by customer insight promoting our Price Advantage offering with further discounts for Boots Advantage Card holders which has saved customers over £24 million since we launched it last year.

We’ve just come off the back of a strong summer and a strong Christmas campaign so the challenge for myself and the team (and keeping me awake at night!) is doing this all over again in 2023 – it’s the “difficult” third album after a great summer and Christmas the previous year too. The team are great as are our agencies like Oliver and WPP and I am starting to see some emerging and exciting plans already, so watch this space. And it all starts with our work with ITV on Love Island again this month as the exclusive Beauty partner for the new series!

Creative thinking I know will remain a core part of my role this year. It helps me work on and evaluate great creative work but also to help deliver new ideas and new solutions to help our business grow, so I see it as a vital skill. One thing that really helps my creative thinking is learning and doing improvised comedy with Dingbats Improv which I’ve done for the past three years now.

I’ll be learning more long-form improv comedy this year devising and performing extended and full made up/improvised scenes on stage which I know will keep things fresh (and challenging!). I’m also the Executive Producer for an exciting new short-film project with two comedy heroes of mine which I’m very much looking forward too.

So enjoy 2023. My advice - grab those opportunities and run with them, keep close to your customers and find ways to keep being inspired!

Pete Markey is chief marketing officer of Boots UK

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