Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Sobering Influence - Tim Seager UK Marketing Director, Scottish Courage

Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Sobering Influence - Tim Seager UK Marketing Director, Scottish Courage

Article excerpt

Tim Seager is not from the old school of beer-brand marketing directors, who, while knowledgeable about their sector, appeared to spend as much time consuming their products as promoting them.

Seager is different. A sharp suit and serious demeanour the order of the day. With a reputation for being intensely job-focused, Seager's arrival at Scottish Courage in January 2004 marked a significant change in tack for the brewer.

John Dunsmore, chairman and managing director, tasked his recruit with turning Scottish Courage into a brand-led, consumer-focused business.

Such is the faith he showed in Seager's ability that he gave him virtual carte blanche to achieve this goal.

'The kind of major changes we have initiated needed the support of the board,' says Seager. 'Some might see this as a gamble on the company's part and I am aware that I have been given enough rope to hang myself 15 times over.'

His ability to speak in marketing metaphors, while supporting his points with bottom-line growth, betrays his grounding in the big corporate ethos of Procter & Gamble.

His new-broom approach for Scottish Courage is based on discipline and structure - a far cry from the regime he found on his arrival. 'The company was disparate in its marketing,' he says. 'It was almost as if a clear strategy didn't exist, as all the different categories and brands worked almost totally independently.'

Seager has cut back significantly on the weight of marketing activity.

When he arrived, there were 290 active projects in the pipeline, which have been reduced to fewer than 50. 'It is a simple business strategy: we needed to do fewer things, better,' he explains. 'There was so much going on that many brands were unclear what their target market was.'

His relationship with agencies takes the same structured approach. 'It is important to have a tight brief. The creative freedom from which agencies produce their best work comes from a clear definition of the goals they need to achieve.'

TBWA's Matt Shepherd-Smith, who worked with Seager on the John Smith's Peter Kay ads, describes him as a 'commercially astute marketer, with a tightly targeted business focus that is ferociously intense'. For an agency, this 'bull's-eye marketing' can be a blessing in that there is little ambiguity. …

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