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11 January 2014

The Ten Types of Marketer

Tag(s): Marketing
I continue to receive nice comments on my book, The 20 Ps of Marketing, which was published in the UK last month and comes out on January 28th in North America. A former colleague at NXT, Geoff Boyd, who now runs his own successful technology business in Silicon Valley, sent me the following:
“Your new book is truly wonderful. This is the most complete book on marketing that I have read.  I would not be surprised if it becomes – no, it should become - the marketing bible of every technology entrepreneur. And I will do my very best here in Silicon Valley to spread the word. I hope you don’t mind, but I will introduce it to colleagues and friends as ‘the ultimate impatient user’s guide to Pragmatic marketing’. I say that because your style of writing captures so much information yet makes for effortless reading. So much so that I've deliberately had to pace the book over a few days so that I could sleep on it a few nights to truly embed its contents. 

The personal examples dotted throughout the book are an irresistible touch of authenticity. Maybe your entire career thus far has been a mere rehearsal for this piece of work which I am sure will stand the test of time.”

In the book I have identified ten types of Marketer, some better than others.
  1. The Cerebral Marketer is highly intelligent and treats Marketing as an intellectual exercise. He is mainly concerned with strategy and likes to develop theories of how things work. At his best he can be a very useful member of a team, even its leader, provided he surrounds himself with people who are good at execution and following things through.  Drummond Hall, with whom I worked at Mars was one such and went on to become a highly successful Chief Executive of Dairy Crest, a huge dairy company.
        2. The Competent Marketer is process driven. He manages his portfolio in a structured way primarily focused on the                   calendar.   He may lack insight or brilliance but he is reliable and will achieve modest success. I have known many such Marketers and they are useful to have around but they are not leadership material. 
  1. The Cut & Run Marketer is primarily focused on his own career development and his horizon is the next job offer. The average length of service of Marketing directors can be as little as 18 months and this leads to excessive short termism. Another feature of such people is that they seek to develop high profiles outside their own company appearing frequently in the pages of the Marketing press. They often take the credit for celebrated advertising campaigns even though in all certainty the advertising ideas came from their agency.
  1. The Comptroller Marketer is bottom line driven. His primary focus is the Profit and loss account and while in itself this is no bad thing it can often be at the expense of building long-term brand equity. Someone who has enjoyed huge success is Sir Martin Sorrell who turned himself from being Finance Director to the Saatchi Brothers to leading the largest Marketing Service corporations in the world in his own right.
  1. The Cowardly Marketer avoids decisions and keeps his head down. He abdicates his true responsibilities of being a Marketer and providing the leadership of Market focus. He is likely to be managing a portfolio of cash cows and dogs and is temperamentally unable to renew them through innovation.
  1. The Commercial Marketer is largely sales oriented and spends much of his time either with the sales force or even seeing customers on his own. His approach is more one of Trade Marketing and he has little concept of developing a consumer proposition. He may be found managing a brand which has known better days and now depends for its survival on trade support.
  1. The Creative Marketer is focused on the Marketing communications part of the job. He likes to spend his time with the agencies developing new campaigns. There have been many successful Marketers who began as copywriters and broadened their role either on the client side or on the agency side. eg John Hooper who began as a copywriter at Procter & Gamble then founded his own Promotional Agency with a colleague before spending a distinguished spell as Director General of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) where he persuaded me to join his Council.
  1. The Cavalier Marketer is a risk taker. He wants to be an entrepreneur but takes risks with his company’s money. As all gamblers he will enjoy some moments of success but is likely to lose in the long run.
  1. The Charismatic Marketer relies on his own Personality to lead and inspire others. Sir Richard Branson is the most famous and successful example of this type. I am almost precisely the same age as Sir Richard and have observed that his businesses chime with his age, thus he got into music publishing in his 20s, air travel in his 30s and gymnasia in his 40s. When he starts a Virgin Funeral business I will start to worry.
  1. The Champion Marketer is an all-rounder. Well trained at one of the classic business schools of the real corporate world like Procter & Gamble or Unilever he understands all the aspects of Marketing and has a range of techniques to call on. Sir Crispin Davies, one-time Chief Executive of Reed Elsevier, is one who comes to mind. Crispin launched Crest toothpaste in the UK for Procter & Gamble when I had the pleasure to work with him and I have followed his career with interest.
 I hope it is clear from this summary that there are several different ways in which someone can be successful at Marketing. But common to all of them will be the need for strong roots in one or more of the multi-faceted disciplines of Marketing, be it Planning or copywriting, sales or Product development. Few of us are strong in all the suits. As a bridge player knows, it is impossible. What matters is how you play your hand. There are no supermen, and in any case Superman was vulnerable to Kryptonite.
This extract comes from Chapter 16 of the book which is about People.  If you want to buy a copy you can find a link on the Home Page of my

Copyright David C Pearson 2014 All rights reserved

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