In our series of 90 second interviews with marketing leaders we uncover career highlights alongside tips and learnings from some of the industry’s most successful marketers. This interview is with Ben Rhodes, Group Marketing Director at Royal Mail.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever had?
After a decade working in ad agencies I took my first role in-house at MasterCard. The European Marketing Director spent time patiently explaining to me that marketing isn’t just about great advertising. It is about following the money. How do we make money? Who buys our products? How much are they spending with our competitors and why? How can we get them to spend more with us? Transformative questions.
What has been the most influential impact on your leadership career and why?
Learning that I am not the only person with the answers has been really important. It has allowed me to seek out expert advice, employ great people, show humility, listen, observe, guide and encourage my team. This has delivered much greater outcomes.
What career advice would you now give to yourself 10 years ago?
The world won’t stop turning because you attend a sports day or parents evening. Never be afraid to put your family first. I am a much better leader at work, knowing that I’ve done my best to be a good husband and father at home.
What is the biggest challenge you think you and your industry peers will face in the next five years?
In a low growth economy, delivering cost efficient bottom line profit growth over the long term is going to continue to be a huge challenge for marketers. There is always a temptation to focus on quarterly returns and performance marketing, putting long term brand equity at risk. However, softening pricing power only creates a self-fulfilling cycle of decline.
What’s the toughest interview question you’ve ever asked or been asked?
It’s amazing how many interviewees I meet who haven’t thought about answering the most basic but most important question: Why do you want to work for Royal Mail?
Who is your business hero and why?
I have always been impressed by what Steve Jobs did with Apple. It’s not just the simple and intuitive design of the hardware. The way iTunes unleashed eCommerce in music and film remains an outstanding achievement.
What’s your favourite App?
I don’t know where I’d be without Notes on my iPhone. I use it all the time to capture thoughts and plan out presentations.