Q&A with Thomas Barta

Q&A with Thomas Barta

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Thomas is a former partner of McKinsey, Organisational Psychologist, Columnist for Forbes and Marketing Week.

He conducted the world’s largest study, involving over 68,000 assessments, on what makes an impactful customer leader and has written the #1 marketing leadership book The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader.

If you could give your 16-year-old self one piece of career advice, what would it be?

You are not a marketer – you are a change leader. The moment you try and get someone you do something, you do marketing. That’s a powerful role. Don’t become a campaign expert or digital nerd (they’ll be out of the job by 2025 – machines can do that). Learn the most powerful marketing skills: making change happen.

How do you think the quality of UK's Marketing Industry compares globally?

If you want a great machine, you go to Germany. If you want great food, you go to Italy. If you want great communication, the UK is your place. The UK is a marketing powerhouse. If UK marketers don’t fall into the digital nerd trap, it’s gonna stay like this.

What brands are you most impressed by at the moment? Any campaigns which have particularly caught your eye?

Baileys for its strong revival. IKEA for its amazing consistency. Behind both are amazing acts of leadership: don’t do something cool – do something powerful.

You’ve got some fantastic companies on your CV. What have been the highlights for you?

Two organizations stand out. One had no top marketer when we started. Today, the (then new) top marketer leads that firm. The second managed to have what few achieve: marketers that ask for forgiveness – not for permission.

Where does your love of marketing come from?

I love change, and I love products. I always loved seeing my box on a shelf. So, I ignored all good advice and became a marketer (and a McKinsey partner, and an organizational psychologist, and ….)

Who or what influences you? Which living person do you most admire?

I admire the leaders next door. The people that aren’t in the headlines. But the people who take things into their own hand – and make change happen. I write my weekly TryThis.Blog about these powerful change ideas (if that’s for you, please sign up!)

 What’s top of your bucket list?

My next book on brave leadership. By the way: have you taken The Marketing Society’s Bravometer test? If not, hurry and get your mini-report today. We are going to close soon!

Finally, what can attendees expect from the event?

Ideas for more personal influence, career success, and fun. Plus a personal copy of The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader (which I could sign – or not if you want to sell it on).


Thomas will be hosting Inspiring Minds in this interactive session, Thomas will look at how as marketers, we can be braver.  How do we break the Silos and stand up for customers? Make sure you register to attend.

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Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 18 Jan 2019
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