Earlier this month saw the third Little Grey Cells gathering of senior marketers in London. Tim Healey, founder and curator of Little Grey Cells Club, explains the thinking behind his Little Grey cells Club events and reviews the key takeouts from his latest breakfast briefing on Market Orientation.

Through my Little Grey Cells interviews (published in MAD//Fest Insight) I meet talented and successful marketers at the top of their game with many years of experience either in their sector or across multiple sectors.

One issue I began to recognise among CMOs and Marketing Directors was this: if you’re running the marketing for a business, you’re time-poor with barely a few minutes each week to stay on top of progress with your myriad of initiatives and projects. You may well have a super-talented team of hand-picked marketing specialists reporting to you, and things may - for the large part - be going very well - but despite all of this… life can be lonely at the top.

This discovery was a ‘lightbulb moment’: what if marketers at the top of their game had the opportunity to talk to their peers - other senior marketers from their or indeed different industry sectors but with similar responsibilities? What if there was an event that provided the perfect open, nurturing, learning environment for candid peer-to-peer knowledge exchange - one where they could ask fellow senior marketers about their experience, or how to trouble-shoot a specific marketing problem?

And thus the Little Grey Cells Club events were born. We run 4 breakfast briefings per year. We choose pertinent topics like ‘The long and the short’, or ‘Advertising Effectiveness’. There’s a fireside chat with a senior marketer, a panel discussion with industry experts and then round-table discussions and time for networking - all in a central London venue. We launched in November 2023 and, so far, the feedback has been life-affirmingly positive.

On 2 May 2024, 50 of the UK’s most experienced marketers joined us for our event on ‘Market orientation’. Here are the event’s key marketing takeouts from our fireside chat guest and panellists.

Jess Myers (CMO, The Very Group)

Jess shared her journey from finance to her role at The Very Group – a £2.2bn business. Jess explained how The Very Group are super-focused on understanding their customers with their own value and attitudinal segmentation and the walked us through some of the precision planning involved to ensure that they continue to make 50% of their sales in the 12 week lead up to Christmas every year.

Maria Koutsoudakis (Brand and Marketing Director, Vodafone)

Maria discussed the importance of bringing clarity to the table in the world of telecommunications and focusing on what customers actually care about beyond the data plans. On her watch brand health for Vodafone is reaching new heights with extensive media-spend across advertising and event sponsorship.

Rebecca Hirst (Chief Marketing Officer, EY UK)

Each year, Rebecca’s own brand health research provides the foundation for all marketing activities for EY, which have propelled EY to pole position in brand awareness charts.

Eleonore Murauer (Global eInnovation Director, Reckitt)

Marketing Durex globally was made easier once research into customers had been undertaken: the research revealed behaviours that had previously not been considered. El also recognises the need to be super-sensitive to cultural nuances across the globe.

Barbara Eigner (Chief Marketing Officer, CoreMedia)

Babsie shared insights from recently commissioned research that showed that customers now expect more than ever to have their website enquiries solved within a few clicks, and how sometimes you can’t rely on AI and you do “need a human” to support your customers.

Richard Palk (Head of Customer Marketing, Bremont Watch Company)

Richard explained how, at Bremont, it was possible for smaller businesses to get market orientated despite limited funds. How‘you have to work with what you’ve got – or have a budget for’. Nonetheless, being prudent, precise careful considered decision making can still yield great results.

The next edition of Little Grey Cells is on 26 September. The chosen topic is ‘Marketing Innovation’ and the event is being guest-curated by fireside chat guest Cecilia Weckstrom, Global Head of Strategy and Innovation at The LEGO Group. Register now.