1. What inspired you to pursue a career that embraces marketing?

I think if you view marketing holistically, there are few fields that combine creativity, working with human behaviour and having a real impact on the business as well as marketing. Every day is different, you get to meet fascinating people, and you get to have a lot of fun on the job. And you work with the whole value chain from the moment a new product is conceived all the way to the moment of consumption.

2. What are the biggest challenges currently facing your marketing team?

In a cost-of-living crisis, consumers’ discretionary spend is down, which for us means: we’re feeling it commercially. So we have to look and relook at our balance of long-term brand-building vs short-term brand selling. 

3. Science vs Art: With scientific data-driven marketing at one end of the spectrum and genius creative ideas at the other - which side do you lean towards?

Data can tell you which creative idea works best, but you need a good idea to begin with. So between those two, it would always be the creative idea. You should ideally validate it with data, not forgetting that the answers data give you are only as good as the questions you ask.

4. In marketing, when is it ok to rely on A.I. and when do you think you definitely ‘need a human’?

It’s changing so fast that my answer today might be outdated tomorrow. I’d link it to the previous question. AI can be a massive helper when it comes to analysing data. Idea generation, however, – built on creativity and human sentiment – requires the human touch.

5. How is your business approaching ‘the perfect storm’ of economic turbulence and increased cost of living?

By focusing on what we’re good at: staying close to our consumers and our customers, responding with agility to a changing landscape, doubling down on our strengths and rigorously analysing what’s working and what isn’t. Now more than ever, it is essential that you’re not inward focused. You need to understand what the concerns of your customers are and make a compelling proposition that genuinely helps them. For instance, if a pub sees less footfall than before: what can we do to reverse that trend? How can we help a bar to make the most out of their back bar space? How can we support aspiring DJs to take their careers to the next level? How can we help consumers have the best night of their lives at festivals?

6. How do you adapt a business and marketing strategy to embrace the latest trends and keep ahead of the competition?

It’s important to strike a balance between always looking for a shiny new toy and sticking to the original plan. But you have to have a finely calibrated radar so you know what’s going on out there. We use market research – yes, some of it AI-powered – and quantitative analysis. But it’s equally important to develop a good gut feeling, and that is something you get by being out there and talking to consumers.

7. What role does your company’s purpose and environmental approach play within your marketing strategy? 

An increasingly important role. Jägermeister is made from all-natural ingredients, including 56 botanicals. We don’t have any plastic bottles; they’re all made from glass. So that’s a good start, but of course sustainability is becoming ever more important. For us, it is clear that we have to play our part in protecting the environment, but equally, we also need to make sure that nightlife itself is protected. It plays such an important role in people’s lives, yet it is under threat. Since 2020 alone, 29% of UK nightclubs have disappeared. We launched our Save The Night initiative to support bartenders, venues, artists etc. and will host a conference on the topic in London later this year.

8. How important is storytelling when maximising your customers’ engagement with a campaign?

Massively important. Stories are probably as old as the human species itself. It’s interesting that it is sometimes difficult to follow a (bad) presenter, but once they digress and tell an anecdote, you suddenly sit up and pay attention. As a brand, no one is waiting for your story, so it is your job to engage your customers by making your story interesting and compelling. Make it personal, make it relevant.

9. Creative agencies rail against the time and resource spent working on pitches to win accounts: is there a realistic, fair alternative to the pitch process?

A clear brief is always a good starting point. What we usually do is to casually meet different agencies to give them a chance to present their past work to us. This way we can meet them and they can meet us and we can check both their area of expertise as well as the chemistry between us. This avoids asking someone for a full pitch presentation only to find out 5 minutes in that this ain’t gonna work. And then you go on and just invite those to a full pitch that you feel have a good chance at winning.

10. From a marketing perspective, what’s coming up for your brand or business in 2024 and beyond?

Hopefully, calmer waters are ahead in terms of inflation, cost of living, strikes etc. We have quite a few exciting projects in the pipeline to give consumers the best nights of their lives – and give even more of them the opportunity to taste Jägermeister the way it’s meant to be: from the freezer at -18°C.

11. If there’s one thing you know about marketing it is…?

…that marketing is so much more than just brand communications.


Little Grey Cells is Tim Healey’s weekly profile interview platform where leading marketers share their valuable insights and experience, presented by Worth Your While.

Marketing Director and Brand Manager, Tim Healey, provides strategic marketing support that maximises the opportunity for success. Book your 15 minute meeting.

You might die tomorrow so make it worth your while. Worth Your While is an independent creative agency helping brands do spectacular stuff people like to talk about. wyw.agency.