Back your own ideas, says Ladbrokes' marketing chief

Back your own ideas, says Ladbrokes' marketing chief

Have the courage to back yourself and your ideas, writes Kristof Fahy, the chief marketing officer at Ladbrokes.

Trust people

Your team and those around you are key to your success. Having built a few teams in my time, I always find starting from a position of trust is the best place.

Does anyone turn up for work to do a rubbish job? I doubt it. Trust people to do a good job, trust that they care enough and trust that they are passionate enough. Trying to control everything yourself will drive you nuts. That said, if they continually let you or the team down, don’t hesitate to move them on.

Test yourself

In my career, I have caught myself a few times thinking I could do a better job than my boss. Now, you can let it get under your skin and start to frustrate you. Or you can do something about it. If you think you can do it better, there is only one way to find out – go out into the market and test yourself.

Back yourself

Have your own ideas. Managing agencies isn’t a job. I’m not a fan of outsourcing marketing to agencies. I think it’s lazy. Yes, surround yourself with bright minds and good thinking, but trust that you and your team can have your own ideas and that they are just as good – if not better – than those you buy in.

Be honest

It can often seem that the business world is full of behaviour and language that are designed to disguise what people really think, elongate decision making processes and enable people to sit on the fence and avoid taking responsibility.

A personal favourite is "I don’t disagree" – so why not just say you agree, then? We often seem afraid of having straight, direct and even robust conversations. We shouldn’t be. In the short and long term, being honest creates speedier decision-making and honesty between people, and encourages personal responsibility.

Ask the obvious questions

I have sat in too many meetings and presentations when the best questions are asked as people leave the room. Ask it in the room. If you don’t understand what someone is talking about or you think it’s nonsense – you won’t be on your own.

It’s OK to be wrong

Accept that you are going to be wrong or at least not right all the time. Despite our personal wish to be amazing at all we do and get every decision right – we won’t.

Yet another reason why it’s vital to have people in your team and your business who are smarter and brighter than you.

Be curious

Be curious about your business: "How do we actually get things done?" – from the IT systems to training to the factory floor (whatever that may look like where you work). So work in your shops, your call centres, your warehouses, with different teams.

Not only will you understand the machine better, you should be aiming to build a brilliant network across your business that you can use to test ideas and get feedback on what you are up to. Invaluable.

Be curious about people – what is changing, what is happening that might affect them, what is going on with technology, food production, schools, transport, politics, and how that will create opportunities and affect what you are doing now and in the future. Don’t rely on that being delivered to you from an insight or strategy team. Find it yourself.

Customers pay your wages

I still find it amazing how there can still be a disconnect between a pay packet and customers. Your wages don’t magically appear every month/week.

The money your customers give you for the product or service you market forms your pay packet. So respect them, understand them and never lose your customer focus. And meeting your customers is not sitting behind two-way mirrors in focus groups.

Be passionate about your product

If you don’t use, really understand or like your product or service, how do you expect your customers to? You have to be passionate about your product and service. I’m still amazed by the people I have met over the years who don’t use what they market and who can’t or won’t try to champion it at every opportunity.

Love what you do. If you do, those around you will too. We are extremely lucky to work in a brilliant, vibrant sector. Enjoy it.

Kristof Fahy is chief marketing officer at Ladbrokes, leading all brand and marketing activity across digital and retail. He previously held chief marketing officer roles at Telegraph Media Group and William Hill.

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