Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Best Marketing Tip: “Just go and find the answer”

By NDA columnist Tom Ollerton, founder, Automated Creative

Sandra Ferreira may be the Global Head of Innovation at Costa Coffee, but she didn’t always know everything there is to know about coffee… quite the contrary. When she spoke to us on the Shiny New Object podcast, Sandra shared how her secret weapon was to always dig for the answer, ask questions and never let big “hairy” questions get in the way of achieving her goals.

The top marketing tip that Sandra shared with me was to not let yourself get intimidated by the fact that you could be at the start of your career or having just jumped into a new industry where you feel that you don’t have all the answers. Often, we tend to think that the more senior people know everything, that they don’t need to ask questions.

In reality, the key strength for senior marketers and leaders in general is being able to ask questions and admit when they don’t know something. “Just go and find the answer” regardless. She credits her Portuguese heritage, including the motto of just going and finding a way, with this MacGyver spirit.

A great example of this attitude was when Sandra joined Costa, having moved from an FMCG background. She was asked to find ways to improve the consistency of their coffee, without any prior knowledge of coffeemaking. Where some may have found this an insurmountable challenge, it was actually a great opportunity to learn, taking advantage of being new in the business to ask questions of absolutely everyone.

Not only does this questioning spirit help you get things done the first time around, it’s also a great way to build a network from the people you meet along the way. You can always draw on their expertise in new projects, and you’ll know who is the go-to person for pretty much anything.

Another great marketing tip from my chat with Sandra is that consumers should always drive your strategy. It doesn’t matter if you personally like a piece of creative or a campaign, because you’re not producing it for yourself, but for the end customers. “You’re not the consumer,” so if you think of that first then you’ll drive marketing that suits who you’re selling to.

We also spoke at length about the future of marketing – the main theme of the podcast – and specifically about the role that marketing plays in driving the inclusion agenda. Sandra is passionate about the influence that marketers can have on societal assumptions and stereotypes, from the language that’s being used on a campaign down to elements like packaging and design.

Find out more about Sandra’s views by listening to the full episode here.

The Shiny New Object podcast is a production of Automated Creative, an adtech platform that turns brands’ media impressions into marketing intelligence.