BT TV and Sport marketer: Challenge your team to think, not just do

David Stratton: the general manager, marketing at BT TV and Sport
David Stratton: the general manager, marketing at BT TV and Sport

David Stratton, the general manager, marketing at BT TV and Sport, shares his lessons from the career ladder.

Reminiscing about the past ten years since I was in Power 100 Next Generation brought back great memories.

I’ve had the privilege to work in great industries for great brands and, most importantly, with great people.

I’ve had a stint in Germany leading the Beck’s brand team, been lured back to the UK for a challenge at Lucozade and now find myself leading the BT TV and Sport marketing teams.

For someone who loves beer, sport and watching TV (ideally all together), it has been an enjoyable career path. And, among the fun, here are some of the bits I’ve learned along the way...

Don't sweat the small stuff

Prioritise the things that will make a tangible difference and focus on those. You’ll learn more, accomplish more and leave your mark.

Don't be a square peg in a round hole

Adapt and flex your style but don’t change who you are. If it’s not right, make a move – you’ll be happier and flourish elsewhere.

Strike a balance, set the tone

Working during holidays and emailing at all hours set the wrong example for your teams, often causing them to adopt your behaviour as the new norm. Find a work/life balance – you need to manage yourself before you can manage a team.

Remember you're often not the target market

In marketing, we’re paid to understand our target consumers and meet their needs. If I had a penny for every time I heard (even from my insights team) "This is what I/my daughter/my husband does"...

Get out there and spend time with the people you would like to buy your product – it’s fascinating (but, sometimes, the truth hurts).

Question the meeting culture

There are too many meetings – particularly in big organisations. Rather than automatically accepting all invites, ask yourself, do I need to be there? If that eliminates three meetings a week, that’s a few hours back a month to spend on making a difference.

Get the right people on the bus

I’ve learned the number one thing is to get the right people in the team – people with determination, passion and a positive outlook who have the potential to go higher in the business.

Spend time on recruitment and it will pay back many times over.

Strategy without execution is hallucination

You need both for success. And you need people who are comfortable with both. Don’t farm out all the strategy work to agencies. Challenge your people to think, not just do.

Passion is key

An obvious one but you’ll be a better marketer if you love your brand. I’ve always sought out brands I’m passionate about, ones that friends have an opinion on. It makes getting up in the morning a lot easier.

Most importantly, have fun

We are very privileged to work in marketing (and everyone wants to work in marketing, right?). Make the most of every day and pinch yourself at the things we get paid to do.

David Stratton is the general manager, marketing at BT TV and Sport. Stratton was featured in Marketing's Power 100 Next Generation in 2008.

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