Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Best Marketing Tip: “Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?”

By NDA columnist Tom Ollerton, founder, Automated Creative

Rebecca Dibb-Simkin is an unusual marketing leader: she had planned a career in
accounting and got “seduced” by an ad for Ogilvy’s graduate scheme into switching to
marketing. She still says she doesn’t quite like it, but she’s “quite good at it.” As Global
Director of Product & Marketing at the Octopus Energy Group, she does marketing slightly
differently, staying involved in the end-to-end process from developing a product through
to its launch and beyond.

When Rebecca started her career in marketing, she was on the Ogilvy graduate scheme,
looking to explore an industry that had attracted her away from her planned accounting
pathway. However, after working for British Gas for many years and enjoying various
experiences in her roles, she became frustrated with what being a marketer was, in her

Looking for a way to become less of a marketer and more of a well-rounded actor in the
product creation and selling process, Rebecca found her current role with Octopus Energy
and started to become involved in all stages of developing a product. As primarily a tech
business, not just an energy company, Octopus Energy create everything in house, offering
Rebecca an opportunity to create something great, that people will want, without needing
to overly market it to consumers.

This quest to strip marketing back to basics and do the essential and efficient things that
drive you to your goal leads us to Rebecca’s top marketing tip. The book “Will It Make the
Boat Go Faster?” by Ben Hunt-Davis and Harriet Beveridge, is her inspiration. In it, the crux
of how the Team GB Rowing team won Olympic gold is shown to be the focus on only those
actions that will help them go faster.

For Rebecca, being efficient and always running everything through a filter are key to
producing high-quality, desirable product offerings in the energy industry. She’s always
asking: will this attract more consumers? Will it enhance the customer experience? As she
puts it: “You have to be absolutely efficient with the way you spend your time.”

The other great marketing tip Rebecca shared with us was to continuously learn from those
around you, whether they’re your own team or your competition or even from other
industries. Drawing inspiration from a well-crafted newsletter or from a different website’s
payment process are just two of the examples she gave us on the podcast.

Listen to more top tips from Rebecca, as well as why she hates marketing jargon and how
she strives to create simple products with a human focus, on the full podcast here.

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