The dawn of my career was with Heinz. I sold baked beans during the day and studied at night. My first lesson: the original Mr Heinz took dried horseradish (added value) to market (where he got instant feedback) and returned to his home town, not with an empty wagon, but a pay load (extra margin) of other goods.

I then had the joy of serving customers by bringing their voices into the boardroom while working for Nestlé, Prudential, NatWest and Shell. I have been working longer than Marketing Week has been in existence.

So how was marketing seen decades ago? It was in danger of being hijacked by advertising with a focus on ‘problems’ that were solved by ‘solutions’ presented in creative messages, rather than in meeting the real needs of customers. Mercifully, marketing’s role developed into flying the flag of the customer. Interpreting consumer research was key. The mantra became…