Amanda Rendle leads a global marketing team covering 55 countries and territories HSBC operates in, with more than 13 million customers in the UK alone.
In an insightful interview, Amanda explains her vision for a customer-centric organisation and the concerns she has that marketing is getting lost in an increasingly technological world.
“I’m really worried about marketing at the moment.” says Amanda.
“Marketing is at a really difficult time as it risks being narrowed to just the ‘colouring in department’ of brand marketing, unless it steps up to the challenges that technology brings.
“I know it can’t be left to function as it is, or it’ll become smaller and diminished. If we’re not careful marketing itself could become disintermediated.”
‘Digital’ is banned
Amanda has gone as far as to ban the word ‘digital’ to encourage her team to think beyond organisational silos.
“We need to go back to what marketing is, and the product is marketing. More people need to remember that, get off the drug of digital being something separate and get back to what we do best.
“Look at an organisation like Apple. They don’t do masses of marketing; it’s a great product and a clean brand. I think that their marketing department is tiny, but then it is a marketing-led organisation.”
As more and more of HSBC’s interactions take place through digital interfaces, Amanda believes that marketing plays an important role in shaping the design of the online value proposition.
“In many organisations where they are behind on digital what happens is they hire in someone to be a head of digital or ecommerce as separate functions.”
“All of a sudden, that person hires a load of marketer/customer experience champions, so you end up with two marketing departments. For any organisation it’s huge waste of resource to have two teams doing the same thing. That’s the real danger. Brand is not only about what you say, it’s also about what you do”
“In the past we thought about international and local marketing being quite separate and woke up one day to realise it’s the same thing. I think it’s the same thing with digital. Everybody talks about it, setting up innovation teams, but if marketers don’t own that space, marketing becomes very skinny and just about creative, and the digital function expands.”