HUMANS HAVE PUT A CAR ON MARS; HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO GET WOMEN ON BOARDS?
A couple of years ago for International Women’s Day we wrote this article looking at which of the two genders was best at integrated marketing. It was one of our most popular blogs of the year and, as we knew before writing it, both genders have different skill sets that can make them both excellent marketing integrators, especially if they work together… As we know, marketing integration leads to better return on marketing investment and integrated marketing measurement can drive marketing effectiveness. So what is not to like about diversity?
In 2016, although going off-piste a little from our usual marketing transformation articles, let us take a look at the same gender topic but with a slightly different integration lens on.
At Flock we strongly believe that for marketing integration, diverse teams are the best teams. They are more creative, they perform better (McKinsey), they are more effective, and clearly more fun. So how come women are still so under-represented in the top teams where true marketing integration is driven?
As true ‘Integrators’ at Flock our point of view is that any diversity discussion should not focus exclusively on a protected characteristic such as male/female diversity but on an entire range of diversity aspects. We could not have put it better than Mark Dickinson, Managing Director of recently launched London property development company Anthology, a strongly male dominated industry, when we asked him about the topic:
“…it’s all aspects of diversity which are important. You can do this through talking about diversity of thought. Having different cultures, life experiences and character drives different thinking patterns which in turn allow you to have more options to solve your problems……and that is what really answers the “what’s in it for me?” question that any senior leader faces when challenged on the diversity of their team.”
We are obviously aware of some of the challenges that still hinder total equality. McKinsey research goes into detail about these challenges, but also shows some clues to what has helped 200 highly ranked women in the US to get to their positions: “early career acceleration coupled with significant sponsorship, a willingness to change employers to gain greater opportunities, and a propensity to stay in line jobs for much of their advancement”.
In the UK, companies are steadily increasing top female executive representation, currently in excess of 20% in FTSE 100 companies, up from 12,5% only five years ago (FT). So although it seems we are on a positive curve in some areas, there is a huge way still to go… Humans have put a car on Mars – how hard can it be to build sustainable solutions to integrate women into all levels of business? And that is without mentioning trying to get some sort of global gender equality in salaries, sports, politics, culture, and most importantly human rights.
Women obviously need to believe they have a chance at accessing the elusive leadership positions, and actually reach for them. However, men still play a huge role when it comes to equality and integration as they hold the staggering majority of top roles. Men in general, but also the women already in those roles, need to encourage, mentor, prepare (and hire) women to access the top spots without waiting for quotas to dictate it. In the UK there are no quotas, but we are measuring diversity much more carefully now and making the statistics much more widely available. Result; we are improving outcomes (if slowly), which is no coincidence.
Coming back to our own industry, the gender gap in marketing salaries is widening alarmingly and while the industry is one of the more equal in terms of split of women and men, there are only 26% of women in leadership positions (IPA Census 2013).
Picture from: The Marketing Week
The women at WACL are a real inspiration to us for the work they do. They are not only a power-house of inspirational women in our industry, they are also very good at sharing their experience to empower and help younger women. Both Claudine Collins and Jane Ratcliffe from MediaCom spared her some of their precious time for personal advice, which was hugely helpful and encouraging.
WACL also help younger women through wonderful events like their latest “Gathering – Finding Your Inspiration,” where we recently had the pleasure to discover the fascinating and inspiring trajectories of members like Jo Kenrick, Marketing Director of Homebase.
To share some more inspiring content from WACL here is an interview of member Cheryl Giovannoni, chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather UK, who says that “you make your own luck” and that she does not spend a lot of energy believing things would have been easier if she were a man. At Flock we agree, we believe in hard work, collaboration and honesty and we certainly do not believe women, or anyone, should need to change who they are to fit in a homogeneous world.
Now, since our expertise is in the field of integrated marketing and effectiveness, below are five points that at Flock we believe are the key to any integration project… be it integrating diversity into every level of leadership or running a marketing integration project for a client:
- Choose the best resources for the job – which in this case we have established is a mix of boys and girls
- Make the resources work brilliantly together – communications and open-mindedness being the key components here
- Project management – start with a plan, align everyone behind the strategy, and do what is necessary to make integration happen
- Measure the effectiveness of the project to determine the return on the investment, and to learn from the journey
- Repeat until you are masters of integration
We promote full gender equality at Flock – and we will keep searching for the ultimate gender-integration solution and will share it if we find it. But our speciality remains the seamless integration of your marketing ecosystem… So if you would like to discuss how we can integrate your campaigns, increase their effectiveness and improve the return on your marketing investment, contact us here.
For some more related reading, here are just a few of our favourite links:
- Forbes – 10 Reasons for optimism on this International Women’s Day
- The Guardian – Beth Tweddle, Eugenie Bouchard and all women in sport deserve better
- Bloomberg – Women’s ski jumping leaps for equality
- WACL – 90 Pearls of Wisdom for WACL 90th Anniversary (2013)
- CIM Women in Advertising Conference – Who Cares Wins
- Campaign – What brands should know about the new woman consumer.
- The Independent – While men are in charge, gender quotas are the only way to increase the number of women in boardrooms
- Glenn Llopis, Forbes – The most undervalued leadership traits of women
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