Peter Fisk is a global thought-leader in strategy, innovation and marketing. A best-selling author and expert advisor, he helms GeniusWorks, helping businesses and brands to forge innovative futures.
He is a renowned professor at IE Business School in Madrid, Thinkers50's Global Director and Founder of the European Business Forum.
Peter is also judging this year's The Marketing Society Awards. Here's his take on what you need to know before entering.
Why is recognizing marketing excellence through the Society’s awards so important for the industry?
25 years ago, I devoured Tom Peters’ “In Search of Excellence”. It wasn’t really a book about high performers and best practices, it was more about the outliers and their extreme practices. It was full of challenge and inspiration, stories of courage and anecdotes of brilliance. Excellence, I realised, isn’t about achieving high standards, but about setting new standards.
Markets are the most relentless, energising sources of change. Businesses, and indeed society, depend on great marketers to constantly embrace the best new opportunities, to solve the important problems, in a way that creates relevant value for all stakeholders. Ultimately, to inspire enlightened progress. This is why marketing excellence matters, and why marketers should be constantly searching for better.
What advice would you offer brands entering our awards to make their entry stand out?
Excellent marketing is more than a good product, an effective campaign, and a profitable result. Excellence is novel and distinctive, valuable and inspiring. It’s your Nobel prize, your Olympic gold medal. In marketing, excellence is about harnessing the power of great insight and human ingenuity, to deliver inspired outcomes and positive impact.
So, how to stand out? Focus on what makes your story outstanding. What is unusual and important, and make it inspiring and memorable. If you were presenting to Jeff Bezos, he would demand it on one page. Anne Wojcicki would seek your personal story. Satya Nadella wants to know what difference it will make; not just for marketing, but to the long-term value of the business, to customers and society. Insight. Ingenuity. Impact.
What’s your golden rule?
Marketers are the customer champions, business innovators and growth drivers.
Who has been your biggest influence?
My dad. He was Headteacher of a large comprehensive school who saw the potential in everyone. He wanted them to achieve their best in whatever way was right for them.
What is your most hated business expression?
Digital transformation. There is no such thing. This is most definitely business transformation enabled by a clear strategy, great people and enabling technologies.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
Daring to write a book called Marketing Genius. A genius, of course, is rare and exceptional. But it’s an aspiration. I remember one CMO telling that any brand should be about what your audience aspires to be. So I left my job, set up my own company, and started to write. Over 50,000 marketers have since shared the aspiration, in 35 languages!
Which leader do you admire most and why?
Satya Nadella, because he never lets short-term issues distract his long-term aspiration. He truly believes that business can create a better world.
What inspires or motivates you every day to do what you do?
I’m inspired every day by incredible, ordinary people around the world, seizing the opportunities of a changing world, to do extraordinary things. People like Ali Parsa at Babylon, Hamdi Ulukaya at Chobani, Pat Brown at Impossible, Jessica Tan at Ping An.
If you could achieve just one thing in 2021 what would it be?
Get through it sane, solvent and still smiling!
2021 entries are now open. Find out more about how you can enter The Marketing Society Awards here.