Prasad Sangameshwaran
Sep 20, 2019

'Marketers have to be a data Guru, a digital Ninja and the voice of the customer'

In a chat with Campaign India, Gemma Greaves, CEO, The Marketing Society outlines the plans for the India hub and about the future of marketing

Gemma Greaves, CEO, The Marketing Society
Gemma Greaves, CEO, The Marketing Society
Marketers are the key drivers of business. “As the pace changes so quickly, you have to become an expert across the different areas, you have to be a data Guru, you have to be a digital Ninja, you have to be a tech expert, you have to be the voice of the customer, you've got so many different roles that you need to play now. If marketing has changed, we as marketers need to keep up with that,” says Gemma Greaves, chief executive, The Marketing Society (TMS). 
“The narrative of marketing is changing,” says Greaves, who was in India last month, as a part of the refocus for the society’s activities in the region. 
She adds that along with the changing narrative of marketing, working out how to grow the brand, the brand’s role to make the world a better place, how to have more of an impact, and importantly, an impact of scale, is high on the priority of marketers around the globe. 
And that's something that TMS, a 60-year-old London-based association, with over 3,000 senior marketing leaders from all over the globe as members, is very passionate about. “I'm looking at helping and talking about the things that matter to us as human beings, not just as marketers,” she says.
The India hub was launched in 2017 and last month some key changes were announced including a new strategy for the region, a brand refresh and the Society’s evolved purpose, `empowering brave marketing leaders’. “We aim create a thriving and vibrant community of senior marketers and achieve our purpose of empowering brave leaders,” said Greaves.
If we look at the online world, sales seems to be the new-marketing.
Greaves responds that, both marketing and sales go hand-in-hand. “To me marketing is a job that is at the heart of the business. It's the growth driver of the customer, the voice of the customer, the driver of the business and is the place where innovation comes from,” she says and adds that the sales function needs to be the best partner, because one doesn't work without the other. “I think the best marketers are commercially minded marketers that know how to run a P&L. I think it's not about marketing versus sales. I think the two together are a perfect blend. And, as a marketer, if you have sales experience, you'll be a better marketer -- a commercially minded marketer.” 
Greaves adds that TMS likes to create comfortable and safe spaces to have an uncomfortable conversation. In India through our brave agenda, through that brave lens, we like to go provocative, invite business leaders, usually outside of marketing, to talk to the members. 
One message, during an event in Delhi last month, was on marketers being less focused on their personal brand. “As marketers, we're very focused on growing our company's brands and the companies that we work for. But do we actually focus on ourselves and our personal brand?,” was the topic of discussion triggered by a guest speaker's observations. 
Greaves points out, “There isn't enough focus on growing your personal brand. And there's a lack of confidence in how to do it in the online space, particularly on social media. And that way we're not visible enough. It's when we're visible and growing our own profiles, that we can be at our best to represent our companies in the best possible way.” 
“It starts with understanding your values and what your purpose is. TMS helps in having very candid and honest conversations, where members can help each other and challenge each other. When we learn from each other, we become better together. Because at the end of the day marketing is about people,” says Greaves.
“I think it's exciting times. It's challenging, it's fast paced and you have to be willing to adapt to that. And the people who aren't, are the people that are left behind. How can we constantly help our members and stay on the pulse. And that's really important to us,” she says. 
Campaign India

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