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Human Resources

CMO Files: Martin Moll, Marketing Director, Honda

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'.

Name:             Martin Moll

Organisation:  Honda Motor Europe

Job title:         Marketing Director - Europe

Location:         United Kingdom

(1) Where were you born and raised?

Born and raised in Greenwich, London, UK     

(2) What was your first job?  

Worked in Banking.

(3) What was the first product you got really excited about?

My very first car, which was a Renault. It was instant independence and freedom to explore.  

(4) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

Honda’s Managing Director & European VP, Ken Keir (now retired). I was very fortunate that early in my career within Honda, as he actively encouraged me and supported my progression through some significant roles, and taught me that nothing is impossible, and everything is achievable – even if you don’t entirely know how at the start.

(5) What has been your greatest achievement?

In the commercial environment, the fortune to have been nominated as one of the top 5 UK Marketers, and having won recognition & awards within the industry for Best Advertising campaigns.

(6) What has been your biggest mistake?

In my first team management role and assuming that leaders have to be ‘leading from the front’ all the time. In reality, to get teams to perform beyond the highest expectations of management, the leader’s role is to set the strategy and direction, but then spend their time nurturing, developing and encouraging the team to flourish, actively removing blocks or issues that get in their way.

(7) What is your greatest strength?

I consider myself to be commercially astute and well rounded.  This comes from having worked within a very wide number of areas within the Honda UK and European business.  As a result I’ve covered multiple product groups across B2C and B2B – and of course both national and International experience.

Personally: I’m a natural communicator, and work hard to establish very high capability and achieving teams.

(8) What is your biggest weakness?

I can be impatient for wanting to drive a project forward sometimes before all stakeholders are 100% aligned, if I believe it will make a big difference. It’s all about balance, and bringing people with you of course.

(9) What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   

My approach is to spend less time on internal "process" and more time to focus on “‘what’s in it for the customer?” – Sadly ignored by many.

(10) Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?

Like: ‘If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right’. (Mark Twain). It’s all about your personal attitude choice.

Dislike: Weird expressions and jargon such as “Blue sky thinking, running ideas up flagpoles, taking things ‘offline’”, to name but a few.

(11) What makes you stressed?

Lethargic and lazy people, who weaken the overall impact of the team’s performance.

Broadly, very little stresses me, as it’s counterproductive and likely to make a bad situation even worse with bad decisions which compound the problem.

(12) What do you do to relax?

Read literature, exercise and time with friends and family.

(13) What is your favourite song?

John Legend: All of Me.

 A Song for romantics, and the sheer expression of love.

(14) Which book taught you most?

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, by Robert Tressell.

Published in 1914, it provides a comprehensive view of the political, social, cultural & economic life in Great Britain at that time. Reading it as a child, it gave me a really challenging perspective on those that have, and those that don’t and the impact on them.

(15) Do you have a team or sport that you follow?

UK football: Manchester United and Southampton.

(16) Which country would you like to work in?

I would love to work in the US as I have a tremendous admiration for the American working culture - the free enterprise, celebration of success, a leading force in terms of innovation and fresh creativity.

On a personal level, I have a very strong affinity to the American belief that anything is possible if you really want to make it happen enough.

(17) Which company do you think has the best marketing?

It varies. One that stands out is in the grocery sector. UK has a number of high profile established operators, but one, - Aldi, came in as the ‘unknown pretender’. In a cluttered, very high spending media environment, they carved a space through with creative simplicity and brilliance, combining clear messaging with very sharp wit. Their trading results have been staggering, that the big players are taking them very seriously.

(18) What do you love most about your job?

I love the fact that as marketers, our responsibility is to be the eyes and ears of the customer and challenge the business convention if it needs it. Marketing can help companies really connect with consumers on a deeper, meaningful and sustainable way – and can deliver significant commercial benefit.

(19) What is your favourite book?

As mentioned above – The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, by Robert Tressell.

(20) What keeps you awake at night?

Very little. As long as you have maximised your day and fulfilled everything you wanted, then sleep comes easily, with batteries re-charged.

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