NatWest’s CMO slams lack of ‘pointed’ efforts to ramp up diversity

Five years ago, NatWest CMO Margaret Jobling thought the marketing industry would naturally become more diverse, but she realises now more action must be taken.

NatWest’s CMO has called the current state of diversity in the marketing industry depressing and has urged all brands to make a more “pointed” effort to diversify their workforces.

Looking back, five years ago Margaret Jobling admitted she assumed the industry would naturally become more diverse but said she now realises action must be taken.

“I’ve shifted massively now onto intervention. I think you need targets; you need to actually overtly make sure you’ve got the [right] recruitment pipeline. Every single stage of your process has got to have checks and balances for conscious bias,” she said, speaking at Advertising Week Europe yesterday (12 May).

“Whether that’s promotions or internal moves or whatever, I think you need to be much more interventionalist and pointy about driving the outcome. Because every decision we make every day drives the outcome, it just doesn’t happen naturally.”

The better you understand your customer, the better you serve them and the more effective you’ll be as a marketer.

Margaret Jobling, NatWest

Jobling said it “depresses” her how the marketing industry is failing to move faster on such a vital issue, highlighting how there isn’t enough conversation around inclusion.

“I still don’t think there’s enough conversation around inclusion. We talk about skin colour, male, female or disability or whatever [the hot topic is]. I think the bigger challenge is how do we become more inclusive for everybody rather than the topic du jour, which [each] have a network shouting loud. I think we need to get much better at being much more inclusive.”

Rising up through the ranks

Jobling was speaking during a wide-ranging discussion, during which she urged people to “ask me anything”.

When asked for advice on rising up the ranks to the hot seat of CMO, Jobling said a key lesson is to always keep the customer in mind and to add value to a business thereby highlighting the vital role marketing can play for any company.

“What I’ve learned is never think you’re the customer. Stay really close to your customer, work out the value that marketing adds to the business and articulate that,” Jobling said.

“I think [marketers] are still seen as the colouring-in the department in the world. Be commercial, be creative and stay really close to the people that you are serving. At work, I always say, ‘he who buys you beer on a Friday night is the tune you should dance to’, which is your customer. So, the better you understand your customer, the better you serve them and the more effective you’ll be as a marketer.”

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