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Senior Marketers make great Non-Executive Directors – Pt1 Governance

Governance, one of the four main Non-Executive Director skills

Progressive thinking marketers have always been an asset to their employers because they’re able to get the best for both the consumer and the firm that employs them. But they’re also more likely to be able to appreciate and drive value into the most challenging areas facing the business. Where others see risk, the ‘dialled-in’ marketer sees opportunity; where others may become distracted and disengaged, the marketer again sees opportunity, and when others see burden and bureaucratic red-tape, the consummate marketing professional sees opportunity. So why does this contribute to becoming a great non-executive director?

Let’s just consider GDPR, where I personally had several senior executives, business owners and even one company chairman each claim this was just another unnecessary piece of legislation that achieved only one aim – the tying-up of valuable company time and money. Yet in a world where many consumers might be swayed by price, here was the chance to set a company apart whilst additionally adding to that firm’s credibility.

Twelve months after GDPR came into existence, the systems we encouraged our clients to invest in, so that they could effectively manage this process and maximise their customer value have become a highly-prized asset that is not only reassuring them about the quality of their business information, but they’re also adding increased value to their firms when they choose to exit.

This ability to see opportunity and provide encouragement to the board enables the firm to rise to these challenges of accountability and to make pragmatic decisions about developing under a compliant and transparent ethical framework underpinned by trust – the most important attribute within any solid business. However, for those working in an NED position, this trust has to be measured and monitored to satisfy oneself that it exists and can be relied upon, rather than be let down at the most testing of times. Measuring can be accomplished through several methods, namely through some qualitative customer research but also and perhaps more appropriately in this scenario through simply speaking to the employees of the company. In my NED roles I personally find this to be the most beneficial because it’s normal for employees to want to share their thoughts on the company’s management. It’s then up to you to assess the depth and accuracy of what you may hear. I’ve uncovered inconsistencies in the rate of remuneration between gender and amongst same gender within identical roles, recruitment and promotion issues and breaches in as well as gaps in company policies.

The most ethical senior marketers will have governance skills in abundance that equip them to deliver a series of robust policies that define the firm’s philosophy. But not only this, he/she will already know what the typical executive board’s challenges are from their experience gained in consulting or previously employed positions and therefore would be ideally placed to transition to an NED position in a seamless fashion.

Over the next few months I’ll explain across my next few blogs what other attributes senior marketers have, that make them great NED’s. Next month – Strategy!

If you would like to speak to me about any of the issues raised in this post, please email me, Nigel Davis


Nigel Davis was voted ‘One of Britain’s Top 50 Small Business Consultants’ & is an MCIM Chartered Marketer and Non-Executive Director.


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