Natalie Rogers is a recruitment specialist with experience across a number of industry sectors, including design and digital. She is currently an executive consultant at Six Degrees Executive, where she specialises in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and consumer goods space across marketing, category management and sales. Marketing mag spoke to Rogers about the current marketing landscape, the drivers of change and predictions for future industry developments.
The current recruitment landscape for FMCG marketing
“The last couple of years have been really interesting when it comes to marketing, but more specifically FMCG marketing, which is what I specialise in. We saw a real dip at the start of COVID and then it bounced back really strong [sic], and there was really a candidate’s market.”
Rogers describes it in terms of a rubber band which stretches and then bounces back. “It’s probably [in] that bounce back phase now before it settles again to normalcy.”
It’s not all sunshine and roses for marketers, though. “A lot of businesses are feeling the increase in cost pressures in terms of shipping and cost of goods, and so they’re trying to save costs where possible,” Rogers says.
And this means we’re seeing a more quiet and risk-averse market where, Rogers says, there have unfortunately been some pretty large scale redundancies as a result of teams trying to consolidate.
Keeping up with specialised marketing roles
Marketing roles are becoming increasingly specialised. According to Rogers, this trend shows no signs of slowing.
Rogers gives the example of brand managers, and how although they would traditionally act as a 360-degree brand manager, their role is being pulled apart.
“You’ll have, for example, brand roles that are more product led, or brand roles that are more brand strategy and comms led – and then they’re [being pulled] out separately to digitally-focused roles or shopper-marketing focused roles,” Rogers explains.
This change isn’t observed uniformly across the industry, however, with Rogers noting that the trend of increased specialisation is more relevant to bigger businesses. Small-to-medium sized businesses will often have roles with more diverse responsibilities and with more direct ownership.
What are the drivers of change – is AI making an impact?
Rogers provides some insight on the current impact of this new technology. “I don’t think we’re really seeing the impact of AI just at the moment, not to say that it won’t be impactful. I think marketers are probably using it in their day-to-day, but I’d say it’s probably more so driven on the focus of increasing ROI when it comes to spending.”
But other developments to digital technology continue to shape the industry. Rogers highlights the increased importance of businesses pursuing an omni-channel marketing approach, “making sure rather than a brand just showing up in store, you want to make sure that it’s consistent with how it shows up online … across that whole path to purchase for a consumer.”
Evolution of marketing roles
It can be difficult to keep up with the constant evolution of marketing roles, which continue to adapt to an increasingly digital environment post-pandemic.
“Trade marketing has evolved more into shopper marketing. And so it’s really focused on how you can convert a shopper at [the] shelf,” Rogers says.
Rogers describes how, in her almost nine years of specialising in FMCG marketing, she has observed a definite uptick not only in terms of shopper marketing, but also in how businesses adapt to digital developments.
“A lot more FMCG businesses as a result of COVID have more of a focus when it comes to e-commerce, and how they can really connect with their consumer,” Rogers says, emphasising that it’s important to consider “omni-channel and digital [approaches], where traditionally FMCG kind of lagged from a digital perspective.”
Not getting caught up on marketing job titles
Rogers has previously discussed the importance of marketing candidates not getting too caught up on job titles. According to Rogers, this advice remains true.
Rogers gives the example of a brand manager, whose roles and remit will depend on factors such as the size of the business. “You can have five people in a room that all have the exact same title and their remit is so different. And so that’s why I tell people not to get too caught up on the title itself.”
“And you should really be looking at what that role looks like within a business, because you know, if you’re working on one brand that’s delivering two million dollars a year versus if you’re on a brand that delivers 250 million dollars, the role and the remit and the salary, etcetera, is going to be really different – despite the title being the same.”
Rogers’ predictions for the FMCG marketing field
In addition to continuing to have specialised roles, Rogers predicts that businesses will continue to leverage digital and e-commerce more.
“Traditionally, FMCG marketers have had less exposure to digital than say those in services or banking … because it’s less of that one-to-one communication,” Rogers says.
“But I think that we’ll continue to see businesses use and create more sophisticated e-commerce. And so the more upskilling that FMCG candidates can get in digital and visibility to that, I would say the better.”
Rogers has an optimistic view of the market’s future, expecting that the market will pick up again “towards the back end of the year and next year, early next year,” when people have more trust in the economy and we have come to the other side of financial pressures like rising interest rates.
Natalie Rogers can be found at Six Degrees Melbourne. Stay tuned for an upcoming article which discusses Natalie Rogers’ tips on how marketing candidates can best prepare for future industry developments and optimise their employability.