Drop The Metrics, Speak The Language Of Business -- FA CEO's Top Tips For Success

It's a conundrum that Martin Glenn and I talked about recently, and it's a point the CEO of the FA made again last week in London as he ended a three-year stint as president of the Marketing Society. If nobody is closer to the customer than marketing, why on earth aren't more marketers taking the leap to running companies? That was Glenn's parting question as his replacement at the society, Syl Saller from Diageo, was announced. It was followed up with some advice.

Strangely enough, it was very similar advice to that given to me at a previous meeting of the society when Martin and I had a chance to chat about our love of the national game as well as marketing. He is well qualified to pass on the tips, having risen through marketing ranks to run an FMCG as well as, now, the FA.

The overriding point is for marketers to know how the business works, and to want it to succeed and what part they can play in this. His favourite mantra is that a desk is a very bad place to market from. Getting out there and talking to people within the organisation as well as partners and customers gives a holistic view that allows a marketer to see where their department not just fits in, but where it can contribute.

This is a vital part of the discussion, according to Glenn. Anybody can spend an organisation's money on campaigns, but it takes a special type of marketer to reconcile this to objectives. So the point isn't that your ad was seen by x million people or got shared by x thousand Facebook or Twitter fans. The key point has to be what it achieved in business terms. For a spend of x we managed to sell x more stock or we have managed to increase our market share by x through a campaign that cost us x, delivering a profit of x.

Marketing must be seen as a place that can generate revenue, rather than carry on as a cost centre. Get this right, find a way of communicating true business benefits (and not marketing metrics) to the board, and more people will rise to the top, Glenn insists. But you've got to get out from behind the desk, deliver company objectives and talk in business terms, not marketing jargon.

Marketers are obviously front and centre when it comes to delivering new and improved experiences for customers -- and it's here that Glenn's reign at the FA has had the biggest impact for me, and many others, as an England fan. After a disappointing World Cup in 2014 he hit on the idea of ensuring that Wembley is full for Euro, and now World Cup, qualification games by a smart family deal. An adult need only pay £20 and then pay £10 to take a child to see the stars of England, and another country, play a competitive game. To put that in to context, that's cheaper than me taking my lad (would love to take the girls, but sadly no interest) to see Swindon Town, two leagues lower than the Premier League.

Given Glenn's background in food and drink, it's not surprising that catering was another bug bear. And I have to say, that my experience would support his suggestion that by touring the stadium and identifying pinch points, he and his team have managed to ensure the queues for refreshments are better than they ever have been in more than twenty years.

So, yes -- listen to the gurus telling you about how marketing is about transforming customer experiences. There's truth in that, but it doesn't always have to be digital, it can be as simple as getting a queue for the loo down. But, most importantly, the advice is to hit the organisation's objectives and then learn how to communicate these in the only language the board understands and rewards -- business talk.

Next story loading loading..