How to create a marketing department fit for the future? The 2015 Flock Forum

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On Thursday, 22nd October, we held our annual Flock Forum at Bloomsbury House in London. Some of marketing’s finest talent from across the globe came together to discuss our focus for the evening: The Marketing Department of the Future.


Everyone needs to transform their marketing, but increasingly our clients are less centred on the present, and are looking at how they can structure and organize themselves for the future.


With the discussion led by Flock’s Simon Francis, we had three fantastic marketing experts making up our panellists for the night:


Julian Diment is the CMO at Dixons Carphone, with responsibility for the Carphone Warehouse brand as well as customer experience, CRM and creative services across all Dixons Carphone brands.


Kester Fielding is the Head of Commercial Procurement at Bacardi, acting as the critical link between marketers, finance, and agencies.

Darren Cairns is the CMO of 4finance, a consumer finance FinTech business that is expanding across 3 continents.


The panel shared some great insights around what the marketing department of the future will look like and how to get there…


‘Should I move my creative in-house?’

According to Kester ‘It depends on the level of maturity internally and where you are as a business. There’s an insecurity generally in marketing because people don’t know what’s going to happen –  the integration of disciplines that used to be external is something that people find challenging. If you need to drive something which requires absolute clarity and execution of the same idea, it’s better aligned around a centralised resource.’


‘What role should procurement play alongside marketing?’

‘Procurement can add a level of objectivity. Marketers either love or hate their agencies, and procurement represents a certain level playing field and provides a certain commercial nouse for some of the negotiations we do, but you do have to have real knowledge of how the areas work’


What is the biggest barrier to brilliant work, and how can you get over it?

‘What is still a huge barrier to brilliant work is people stepping out of their comfort zone to promote new ideas. The business has to be willing and accepting … You need to have the culture and confidence to do the work and use creativity to challenge convention.’

‘’What separates bad performing companies from good performing companies is the execution – and I don’t think marketers, in my experience, spend enough time on the execution, they spend it on the ideas. Making sure things turn up and you have the quality standards in what you are actually doing is important.’


Who is doing it really well? What marketing do you admire?

‘Spotify – particularly on the marketing partnerships. They have, not only valuable partnerships, but they leverage them from a PR awareness and reach point of view.’

‘TFL – if you look at the major innovations around the contactless journey and the work they did with that. Also, the years of planning they’ve put into intelligent routing – it’s basically researching and knowing the best ways to travel and put that toward a tourist. There’s quite a number of things they have done in an understated way and without much promotion has just been done well and fantastically executed.’

‘A lot of start-up companies – for example, Uber. Because the experience is essential to getting them off the ground and the whole thought is driven by delivering a certain experience, it markets itself – it sells itself. Startups don’t have a [traditional] marketing budget to sell themselves. They have to just deliver an amazing experience … in the world we live in, that’s enough to get the word out.’


We also had valuable contributions from the audience, with Julia Gorrod, Consultancy and Best Practice at ISBA, Marianne Schoenauer at Unilever, and Toby Harry, newly appointed Head of Digital at Tesco, all asking and answering great questions.



In addition to the discussion, we asked our attendees Flock’s famous ‘magic wand’ question – If you knew that Flock had a magic wand to transform your marketing, what marketing magic would you like to happen?


A few questions from the crowd:

  • How do you move from brand to campaign-centric marketing? What are the insights,tracking, optimisation, planning, and implementation factors to take into consideration?
  • How do you make great marketing happen now, and analyse it in real time?
  • How do you go about marketing a start-up business?


A massive thank you from the Flock team to all who attended and contributed to the great discussions, and made it a lovely evening. It was a wonderful night and we are already looking forward to next year!


Check out our hashtag #FlockForum on Twitter to see what everyone was talking about, and look at our Vimeo channel here for more videos from the evening, as well as over 100 video case histories of best practice.


For more photos from the event, check out our Pinterest page here


To discuss how to devise your own ‘Marketing Department of the Future,’ get in touch with us here


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