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  1. Time to reflect on marketing profession in a turbulent Europe

Marketing is, without doubt, one of most exciting professions.

OK, so we may be a little biased but as the next generation of marketers comes to the table, let’s reflect on the profession as a whole across Europe – whether as a practitioner or academic.

The reason we feel so strongly that marketing is an exciting profession to be part of, is because it encompasses both what a business ought to do looking forwards but also what it can learn from the past.

That might sound like an obvious statement but there are too many in business who fail to learn from what has gone before.

In marketing it is our job to look to our customers and suppliers and react to their needs, and as a sector, we are able to do this because we collaborate in a way in which few other professions do, to implement positive change.

Marketing takes what the famous American writer and futurist, Alvin Toffler, once said about change and owns it, because we recognise that “…change is the only constant”.

Given the need for constant change, it is both an interesting and a turbulent time for marketing and marketers across Europe.

Being able to adapt to the prevailing environment is vitally important if we are to respond and remain agile – be it to the impact of a falling pound, a stifled property sector or even conflict or war.

When caught in an economic storm, do we chose to batten down the hatches or put up the biggest sail we can find to ride it out? Marketers should grasp a hold of such turbulence and use it as an opportunity.

As professional marketing associations supporting marketers across Europe, it is our duty to do something positive and exciting to propel ourselves and our industry forwards.

This is what we aimed to do by convening the great and the good from nine different European marketing member associations who met at the European Marketing Confederation (EMC) Annual Conference recently, hosted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Great marketing is done by great marketers, so by bringing together the best in the profession we hoped to share good practice, develop new ideas and, most of all, collaborate and learn from each other.

As speakers presented and we all interacted together, it soon became clear that we all agreed on one point in particular – that in order to create an environment in which great marketers can carry out great marketing, great leadership is a must.

Strong, creative leadership is what will take our marketing membership associations forward. That, and being brave about the future, whilst recognising what has happened in the past.

Yes, we may be facing a turbulent economic time but let’s be brave about it, proactively seek out opportunities and even take an informed leap of faith!

Throughout European economic history there have been entrepreneurial organisations which, through their market awareness, have benefitted hugely from taking a leap of faith during times of economic uncertainty, and those are the organisations that have helped to take us out of our economic situation and move our economies forwards.

A recent present day example would be UK-based English Fine Cottons, which, despite the total demise of the cotton industry and a prevailing difficult economic climate, has been successful in bringing cotton spinning back to the north west of the country, where it all began during the industrial revolution.

It may be based in an original 19th Century cotton mill, but the company has seen an opportunity and revolutionised cotton production using the latest technology. It is now making the most of the favourable export climate in the UK to transport its product right across the globe.

So marketing in a turbulent Europe needn’t be about battening down the hatches.

By coming together and collaborating at an event like the EMC Annual Conference, we build resilience, learn from our mistakes and gain the courage to fly our sails high.

To find out more about the EMC and how you can take part in future collaborative European marketing events, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.