‘Get­ting things wrong is nat­u­ral’


Davies is con­sumer mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor at Mi­crosoft. He leads mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­ity for brands in­clud­ing Win­dows, Sur­face, Hololens, Of­fice, Bing, MSN and Edge. Davies is chair­man of the ISBA Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee and a board trus­tee for im­mer­sive-theatre com­pany Punch­drunk.

Pay it for­ward. I be­lieve in the power of rec­i­proc­ity. I have learned so much from the bril­liant men­tors and coaches who I have had the plea­sure of work­ing with. I try to ap­proach ev­ery chal­lenge as an op­por­tu­nity to learn and grow – never as­sum­ing I know the an­swers and ap­proach­ing my work with hu­mil­ity and re­spect. So much so that I think it is im­por­tant to pay it for­ward (if not an overused Amer­i­can­ism) and con­tinue the cir­cle of giv­ing back by shar­ing knowl­edge, ap­proaches, tech­niques, ideas and so­lu­tions. What bet­ter legacy to cre­ate than to share those mo­ments when you made a crit­i­cal learn­ing (or a ter­ri­ble mis­take you would rather for­get) to help an­other in pur­suit of their own am­bi­tions? The power of net­works. They say “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and it has never been more true than in to­day’s dig­i­tally con­nected world. I was late to the net­work­ing game and was never very good at it in the early days. Net­work­ing is a real art to mas­ter but, with a bit ef­fort, it stops feel­ing odd or awk­ward quickly and be­comes sec­ond na­ture. With tools such as Linkedin, it has be­come so much eas­ier for mar­keters to con­nect with one an­other and share. I con­tinue to meet so many fas­ci­nat­ing peo­ple on my jour­ney – some I may never meet again but most I con­tinue to bump into time and again on the cir­cuit. Ad­ver­tis­ing is a small bub­ble and we are a small group of like-minded peo­ple. I take pride in and ben­e­fit from work­ing with such a tal­ented com­mu­nity. Stay cu­ri­ous. When hir­ing, I al­ways look for peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in the world and how things work. Peo­ple who aren’t afraid to put them­selves out there and to learn from ex­pe­ri­ence. I think cu­rios­ity is a crit­i­cal trait for mar­keters. It helps us to ideate, prob­lem­solve and find in­spi­ra­tion in unusual places.

The fu­ture of work is one where we will man­age a port­fo­lio of roles, draw­ing in­sight from one to ap­ply to the other. Partly driven by tech­nol­ogy, we will move away from the nine-to-five and to­wards task com­ple­tion, where time is our great­est re­source and we can sat­isfy our cu­riosi­ties through mul­ti­ple ca­reers. With an open-minded ap­proach, it’s an ex­cit­ing fu­ture.

Fail fast, learn and progress. I be­lieve it’s im­por­tant to fos­ter a real sense of team and cre­ate en­vi­ron­ments where peo­ple can cre­ate their very best work. This means re­mov­ing the fear of fail­ure and any per­ceived con­se­quences of that. Get­ting things wrong is just a nat­u­ral and ex­pected part of progress.

I be­lieve smart risk-tak­ing should be en­cour­aged – it leads to in­no­va­tion and com­pe­ti­tion, and cre­ates mo­men­tum be­hind brands. But mar­ket­ing lead­ers must pro­tect their teams to un­lock this. It’s a case of wrap­ping our arms round our teams and en­cour­ag­ing an ideas-led cul­ture where peo­ple can get creative.

Fail fast, learn faster.

Right brain, left brain. There has been con­sid­er­able in­ter­est in mar­ket­ing tech­nolo­gies that drive ef­fi­cien­cies and au­to­mated tech­niques that in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and speed to op­ti­mise per­for­mance. It is trans­for­ma­tional progress for the mar­ket­ing in­dus­try but it does risk marginal­is­ing the art and craft of our jobs. Tech­nol­ogy plays such a crit­i­cal role for all mar­keters as it drives per­for­mance im­prove­ments and un­locks great ef­fi­cien­cies, but not at the ex­pense of hu­man cre­ativ­ity. Ma­chines are good at find­ing pat­terns in data at speed, but hu­mans are best at imag­in­ing big ideas and craft­ing in­cred­i­ble work.

The magic hap­pens when left-brain logic meets right-brain ideas – that’s when sparks can truly fly.

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