The CMO Files: Tom Pressley, Fuze

Get inside the minds of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job... and what keeps them awake at night.

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Tom Pressley

 Organisation: Fuze

 Job title: Marketing Director

 Location:  Reading/London, UK


  1. Where were you born and raised?
    Blackburn, Lancashire
  2. What was your first job?    
    Marketing Executive, Topps Tiles Plc
  3. What was the first product you got really excited about?
    The mobile phone. I got my first phone as an 18 year old. It was a big deal then and opened up a whole new world of communicating with my friends and family. Who knew what it would become!
  4. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
    My father. He’s a lifelong PR man who suggested to a clueless History graduate that he might want to consider Marketing as a career. I did some work experience and never looked back. He’s been my sounding board ever since.
  5. What has been your greatest achievement? 
    Building the current marketing team at Fuze in EMEA as part of launching the company in this region. The greatest bunch of people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.
  6. What has been your biggest mistake?
    Launching a massive a multi-million pound, quality-focused marketing campaign just before the financial crash in 2008.
  7. What is your greatest strength?
    I get stuff done, at pace.
  8. What is your biggest weakness?
    Not being sympathetic to people that can’t keep up.
  9. What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
    If the question is about marketing peers, I’d say doing simple things well. Marketers can be too eager to get distracted by the latest shiny tactic or technology at the expense of the basics – audience, product and messaging.
  10. Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
    I have two mantras – 1. Do simple things well; 2. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
    The word that makes me squirm would have to be ‘marketeers’. Typically used by people that don’t understand marketing but think they do.
  11. What makes you stressed?
    Working with people that don’t want to make a difference.
  12. What do you do to relax?
    I cycle, hit the gym or play guitar.
  13. What is your favourite song?
    Hush, Kula Shaker.
  14. Which book taught you most?
    A Bridge Too Far, Cornelius Ryan. In marketing we talk about strategies, campaigns and companies. These are military expressions. Understanding the pitfalls of an overly ambitious military strategy gave me a deep respect for the importance of the basics. If the facts say don’t do it. Don’t do it. Never let ego govern decision making. You will have to reap the consequences.
  15. Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
    Thames Rowing Club
  16. Which country would you like to work in?
  17. Which company do you think has the best marketing?
    I hate to say it but Apple do a pretty decent job
  18. What do you love most about your job?
    The fact that no one day is the same
  19. What is your favourite book?
    The Great Acceleration, Robert Colvile
  20. What keeps you awake at night?  
    The machinations of the sales team!