Interviews

Pete Markey, Chief Marketing Officer, RSA Insurance Group

Tom Holmes talks to Pete Markey CMO, RSA Insurance Group, responsible for UK marketing across MORE TH>N & RSA brands (Personal & Commercial) and owner of Marketing Centre of Excellence across RSA Group

Tom Holmes

Founder & Chairman

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Tom Holmes talks to Pete Markey CMO, RSA Insurance Group, responsible for UK marketing across MORE TH>N & RSA brands (Personal & Commercial) and owner of Marketing Centre of Excellence across RSA Group with a mission to embed and deliver world class marketing.

Prior to RSA, Pete was Head of Marketing Operations at One.Tel, helping to effectively develop and re-position the brand in the highly competitive telecoms market. He has also worked at The AA as Marketing Communications Manager and before that in marketing communications and brand roles at British Gas.

Pete has a Masters in Business Administration MBA from Ashridge Business School, a Marketing Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing CIM and a BA Hons in Corporate Communication from Southampton Solent University.

 

Creativebrief: Pete, as Chief Marketing Officer at RSA Insurance Group what are your key responsibilities?

Pete Markey: I am responsible for all UK marketing across the RSA and MORE TH>N brands as well as sharing marketing best practise globally across RSA Group. My role extends to brand, acquisition, customer and digital marketing.

Creativebrief: Your career has spanned British Gas, The AA, One.tel, MORE TH>N and RSA Insurance Group, what have been the high points?

Pete Markey: Winning two Marketer of the Year awards – the Marketing Society in 2009 and DRUM in 2011 were two key highlights. That and seeing the MORE TH>N brand grow from strength to strength and the business results become equally impressive. From my time at Centrica my real highlights were on marketing breakthroughs for the time – helping launch British Gas into electricity, telecoms and financial services and the launch of One.Tel’s bundled Telco, mobile and broadband proposition are just a couple of standout moments. It’s also been great to see the people that have worked for me go on to do great things – I love leading high performing marketing teams.

Creativebrief: What are the main challenges for your sector/category over the next 12 months?

Pete Markey: Increasing competition, coupled with the fast pace of change due to the growing adoption of digital channels and price comparison websites. The importance of having a clearly differentiated brand and customer proposition are more important than ever. 

Creativebrief: What work have you done recently that makes you the most proud?

Pete Markey: Our latest MORE TH>N campaign, with MORE TH>N freeman has helped us deliver record scores on our brand dashboard, as well as helping us confidently enter the social media space. Most importantly, the campaign has helped us deliver impressive business results. 

 

Creativebrief: How do you see the media landscape unfolding in the next 5 years?

Pete Markey: The need for much tighter integration and improved measurement and tracking to understand the role each channel plays will be critical. The winners will be those that unlock the power of the interaction between channels.

Creativebrief: Do you prefer to use an ‘integrated’ agency approach or specialist agencies by individual discipline?

Pete Markey: We have an integrated above and below the line creative team in Team MORE TH>N at the VCCP Partnership. Most of our digital work though is done in house by our own MORE TH>N digital design team – this has helped us deliver highly impactful and also cost effective creative ourselves. Our media is handled by Starcom Mediavest who also handle our media across the world.

Creativebrief: Do you prefer to use local agencies by market or international/global agencies?

Pete Markey: Starcom cover media for all our markets, but creative (due to market differences) is handled by agencies at a local level and these tend to be a mix of local agencies and global agencies who are strong in market.

Creativebrief: When choosing agencies in the past were you ever influenced by awards?

Pete Markey: Yes, it’s good to see an agency with a clear pedigree for success but awards alone don’t cut it. I am looking for a clear track record of business results and success for brands which an agency has helped to drive. Chemistry with the team and their drive to see our business win are also key.

Creativebrief: What challenges do you face, managing day-to-day agency relationships?

Pete Markey: We run very tight relationships and are very clear on our expectations. We aim to have a clear partnership with the agencies that we work with and at times they feel like a natural extension of my team.

Creativebrief: How often do you look at new agencies or review your roster?

Pete Markey: At least once a year.

Creativebrief: How do you monitor and stay-in-touch with the agency market to ensure you work with the best?

Pete Markey: I am on the board of the Marketing Society and Exec Committee of ISBA and use these contacts plus my wider network to keep in touch. Trade press is also vital here. 

Creativebrief: Which agencies do you think are ‘hot’ right now?

Pete Markey: I would naturally mention the VCCP Partnership who continue to deliver excellent work, but I am equally impressed by the likes of Adam and Eve and Karmarama.

Creativebrief: What’s your attitude to the ‘traditional’ pitch? Do you think there is a better/more modern way?

Pete Markey: I’ve had mainly good experiences of a traditional pitch.

Creativebrief: Would you ever consider awarding an agency business without a pitch? What would they have to do / demonstrate?

Pete Markey: It would be unusual but I would be open to an agency that had an absolutely clear grasp of our business/brand opportunities and challenges and presenting a compelling case for change. They would have to clearly demonstrate how this would take our brands on to the next level, achieving our ambitious growth objectives.

Creativebrief: What are your top tips to agencies when presenting credentials to you?

Pete Markey: Overall, know my business. We are a global insurance business and it’s not just about the UK (although this is a key market). We have multiple brands and a significant part of our business is through brokers. Many agencies assume our whole group is like MORE TH>N which simply isn’t true. The agencies that have delivered the best work for us clearly understand our business and the drivers of success.

Creativebrief: What was the most impressive agency presentation you have ever seen?

Pete Markey: The VCCP Partnership pitch for the MORE TH>N freeman campaign.