Magazine article Marketing

Centre Stage

Magazine article Marketing

Centre Stage

Article excerpt

As Procter & Gamble makes the job title a thing of the past, Kim Benjamin asks whether marketing directors are becoming an endangered species.

When Procter & Gamble acts, other brand-owners take note. So its decision to scrap the role of marketing director and rename its marketing function as 'brand management' - Roisin Donnelly, P&G's corporate marketing director for UK and Ireland, becomes brand director for Northern Europe - has raised many an eyebrow.

Does P&G's decision signal the death of the marketing director as we know it? And what has changed that a marketing-led business such as P&G should choose to abolish the title? Well, perhaps there is no need to get so carried away.

'The role of the marketing director is not dead - quite the contrary,' insists Patrick Barwise, emeritus professor of management and marketing at London Business School. 'P&G's decision reflects how marketing, and a marketing director's influence, needs to be increased to ensure that the brand promise is consistently delivered.'

Jonathan Earle, head of customer strategy and development at O2-owner Telefonica UK and formerly chief marketing officer at Telefonica Europe, agrees that it is a reflection of how a marketer's role is changing.

'This change is not just one to 'brand', but more to end-to-end accountability, where it takes in profit and loss, commercial, brand, business intelligence, communications, proposition, product development, execution and social,' he says.

While Earle does not believe that too many in the industry will get hung up on changes in job title, he disagrees that the term 'brand director' conveys the size and scope of a marketer's role in the digital age, including growing responsibilities for data, technology and customer experience.

Others, such as Dominic Grounsell, marketing director, personal, at insurer RSA, also believe the title brand director does little to reflect the true value of marketing to an organisation.

'The title 'brand director' feels like a reductionist move, as it implies that the focus of marketing is limited to advertising and conceptual brand strategy,' he says. …

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