Nicola Brassington

Senior Marketing Manager at Bing, Microsoft Search Advertising

Ben Somerset-How

Client Director


creativebrief: How has your career path led you to marketing at Microsoft?

Nicola Brassington: I actually joined Microsoft straight out of university where I started on their 2 year graduate program. I graduated during the 2008 recession - so was really pleased to get such onto such a brilliant scheme in a massive tech company like Microsoft. I did a degree in marketing which included a placement year – which I think gave me some great experiences to draw from in my interview process.

creativebrief: Why did you choose a career in marketing?

Nicola Brassington: I’m fascinated by people, what makes them tick, and how to build brands that connect with people on an emotional level. I studied Psychology, Media Studies and Business Studies at A-level – so my natural interest in these areas lead perfectly onto a career in marketing. It’s a fascinating industry to be in, constantly changing as new technology enables brands to reach consumers in different ways.

creativebrief: What do you think makes a successful career in marketing?

Nicola Brassington: Success is a very subjective word and I believe it’s down to the individual to define what success means to them. For me, success is being constantly curious, creatively inspiring and positively impacting business and people.

creativebrief: And who is a great example of this?

Nicola Brassington: Richard Branson is a great example of someone who is constantly curious – he has a history of taking dull industries and using marketing to disrupt the status quo and creating a new value proposition. He has a very philanthropic approach to business and has raised lots of money for charity. And from what I hear, he is a great person to work for too. Get me to Neckar island!

creativebrief: What do you think are the main challenges facing marketers today?

Nicola Brassington: Keeping on top of and harnessing the powers of new technology. Technology is evolving at an ever increasing speed and providing new exciting ways for brands to engage with consumers. We are only just at the beginning of a technology revolution - with a whole new world of AI, chat bots and VR available.

These new technologies provide endless possibilities for marketers to engage with consumers and build creative content that connects with them on a more personal level. To build creatively for this new realm of technology, marketers need to have a better understanding and build it into their planning upstream. They need to think differently about the channels they are advertising in and what’s possible, rather than developing brand campaigns and rolling them out across channels.

creativebrief: How do you keep up with constant stream of innovation in marketing comms?

Nicola Brassington: By having a strong network of peers in the industry that I bounce ideas off, take inspiration from and learn from. Following the right people on Twitter, signing up for relevant trade publications and newsletters and following my favourite brands keeps me busy.

creativebrief: How do you know if you're getting the best from your agencies?

Nicola Brassington: When you never want to not answer a call – I think you are in a great place with your agency.

When you are constantly being pitched for by other agencies and you aren’t interested in listening, you know you are getting the best.

creativebrief: Of your recent work, what makes you particularly proud and why?

Nicola Brassington: I recently did a brilliant social campaign at AdWeek Europe called #BingBites which basically hacked parts of the agenda we knew would create a social buzz. We prepared in advance infographics using data from our search platform, which we then shared during the sessions to build on the conversation. This allowed us to have a voice and profile our brand throughout the conference, using data and insights to add value.

creativebrief: How do you think marketers can raise the profile of marketing within their organisations?

Nicola Brassington: I think it’s really important to speak the same language as sales people and understand how you can directly impact the business. Talking about marketing’s impact to the bottom line will always get attention. 

creativebrief: Do you see yourself as a generalist or a specialist, does it matter?

Nicola Brassington: I see myself as a specialist in my current role but a generalist long term. I think as a marketer it’s important to show you can learn new skills and apply these to specific business challenges, but long term you can flex your hand to whatever area needs your focus and support.

Related Tags