Unilever CMO Calls Out The 'Digital Bluffers' -- Get Tooled Up, Get Trained Up Or Ship Out

It’s not just you wondering about it. Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever, reassured the assembled masses of London’s digital marketers at the Festival Of Marketing that they are sitting among a bunch of "bluffers." Opening up the conference, Weed told delegates that to succeed in the digital marketing world, or marketing in a digital world (as he prefers to call it), you’ve got to get trained and tooled up. Far too many marketers sit in a middle demographic that may soon make them irrelevant, he warned.

“When you think about it, there’s a middle, lost generation in marketing,” he says. “We’ve got Millennials on one side and you’ve got people in their 50s, like me, who have to be digital to communicate with their Millennial children. The people in the 30s and early 40s though are generally the top marketers, but they’re not being forced to live the life; they’re just bluffing it. It’s like listening to the radio and then thinking you can make a good television ad.”

If this "bluffing" sounds a little too familiar, salvation is at hand, Weed told delegates. The secret is to get out there and live the digital channels, engage with great people on social media and insist on getting the best training.

“We didn’t use to force people at Unilever to be trained but now we do,” he said. “I recently found that only 92% of my team had the necessary digital training. I was incensed and said we needed to find out who the 8% were and put their photos on my wall. It never happened -- we soon got to 100%!”

The good news is that getting "tooled up" and "trained up" will only lead to a better understanding of your job and lead to promotion, success and happiness.

Avoiding the confession that you may well be a bluffer yourself does not lead to such a great future, he warns. “There’s a new generation of digital marketers out there who are digital natives and they’re coming in -- they’re rising and they’re going to take over, so remaining in that lost middle generation of bluffing digital marketer is not a good place to be.”

2 comments about "Unilever CMO Calls Out The 'Digital Bluffers' -- Get Tooled Up, Get Trained Up Or Ship Out".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 5, 2016 at 10:31 a.m.

    Terrific. But, just to insert a sense of balance, maybe some of the digital people need to get some "training" regarding media basics, the fundamentals of good research and how advertising really works. Perhaps this can be next on the CEO's spech writers' agenda.

  2. Mark Pilipczuk from MAP Consulting LLC, October 5, 2016 at noon

    Ah, the "digital native" argument. Unilver shouldn't be hiring and looking for digital marketers. They should be looking for marketers who happen to understand how to segment, target and useĀ all available channels to reach their customers. Sounds like Mr. Weed has fallen under the spell of the digitial delusionists. A pity for Unilever.

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