India Martin

India Martin’s view of marketing has taken a complete about-turn over the past five years.

As the former chief operating officer of investment bank JP Morgan Chase she says marketing was not seen as a business driver.

But since launching her luxury nail varnish business, Only Fingers and Toes, her opinion has completely changed, and having swapped corporate banking for a disruptive startup, she now appreciates the value good marketing can bring.

Here, she tells Marketing Week why her views of the discipline have shifted.

Different perspective

When I was in the corporate world, my view of marketing was much softer. I always saw what marketing did from an events perspective, all the fun and games. But I don’t think I appreciated how serious the role is in actually getting business.

At the time, marketing felt to me like an afterthought, maybe because of where I sat operationally as a chief operating officer. I didn’t experience much of the strategic vision marketing was trying to achieve.

Then when I started my brand Only Fingers and Toes five years ago, I began to understand. Whereas when you’re in a big corporate, marketing is part of the machine and you can take it for granted, it is very different when you’re in a smaller company. For an entrepreneur it is integral to your survival.

I would say marketing has been more than crucial in building up my business. We are marketing all the time and I learned by a baptism of fire the fundamentals and operational marketing tasks.

I had always assumed that, in general, marketing was the fun stuff and I didn’t really understand the challenges you face on an operational level, like when people don’t like your marketing or you have to shift campaigns. In marketing, people make mistakes and it’s OK.

All about the ROI

Everything we do has to have a return on investment and I definitely believe that the discipline I learned in banking has helped me at least shape the kind of questions I should ask in terms of return.

That being said, banking is so risk-driven that in some cases I didn’t take the risks…