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State of the industry: Sunday Times Rich List

15.05.2019

 

State of the industry: Sunday Times Rich List

Does money need marketing?

When David Packard, co-founder of HP, stated that ‘marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department’, it was suggested by those within the marketing function that he was dismissing their role. Of course, in retrospect he is doing quite the opposite and Packard has since been proven correct, with marketing creeping across every function of business and organisations increasingly seeing their employees as advocates for their brand. Indeed, as of late 2018, there were nearly one million sales and marketing professionals in the UK.

So, when The Sunday Times Rich List was published this weekend, you’d be forgiven for thinking that marketing had suddenly gone backwards. There are more billionaires on our shores than ever – 151, up another 6 from 2017 – but, at first glance, the wealthy included in the Rich List are not exactly marketing’s biggest advocates.

Topped by the billionaire Hinduja brothers - £22 billion estimated wealth – the list perhaps unsurprisingly favours the banking industry and landowners rather than some of the newer technology pioneers. There is some good news for marketing, however, with David and Simon Reuben (£18.664 billion), who made their fortune partly through the internet and Andrey Andreev (£1.5 billion), the brains behind the popular dating app Badoo. However, some of the most high-profile names on the list have a less than stellar regard for the marketing function.

Tim Martin (£437 million) pulled his Wetherspoon’s brand from social media last year. Meanwhile, Lush CEO Mark Constantine (£440 million) have had mixed reviews with their #SpyCops campaign and have recently seen the company announce that they will leave social media too; though, as we explored in previous weeks, this might not be all it seems.

Still, the point remains, where are the big marketing advocates amongst the super-rich; the individuals who have a significant sway in business and budgets? Well, it’s in the Young Rich List that we see a mobile, flexible generation who can expand the advantages of our profession and, perhaps more importantly, monetise it.

Coming in at a cool £73 million, Gymshark founder Ben Francis has used influencers to supercharge the brand when it was still a niche concept, successfully fusing offline and online marketing. Alex Solomou, valued at £25 million, founded LADbible whilst at Leeds University and has used a powerful online presence to turn the brand in to a giant (now valued at £37 million). YouTube superstar and influencer Dan Middleton and his wife Jemma might be the richest couple you’ve never heard of – £25 million as per last count – and another YouTube megastar you probably have heard of, PewDiePie, comes in just behind at £23 million.

Indeed, looking through the list, it reveals a plethora of sports stars (Gareth Bale, Daniel Sturridge, Eden Hazard) and musicians (Ed Sheeran, Liam Payne, Little Mix) who have all used marketing to enhance their brand and lay the foundations for success outside of their notoriously fickle industries.

Now, it’s a notoriously small hit rate before you can become a superstar through social media, but a global promotion of your company brand will increasingly rely on it. More than that, social media platforms also allow the personal touch that traditional marketing still struggles to reach. Expect marketing to dominate the young rich list for a while yet, but, as marketing comes to become more and more important in the business function, expect our profession to feature heavily on future lists. What more proof can you need that nobody is doubting David Packard now?

 

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