Ten Years On From The First 30 Under 30: David Phillips

Ten Years On From The First 30 Under 30: David Phillips
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Back in 2010, David Phillips was kicking all sorts of goals as a young marketer at Cadbury. In the view of many – including those who nominated him for 30 Under 30 – he was one of the most talented marketers in the country at the time.

As part of our celebratory content series marketing 10 years since B&T‘s first ever 30 Under 30, we tracked down Phillips to find out what he’s up to now. If you missed the others profiled in the series, check them out here.

Today is the final deadline for entries for this year’s 30 Under 30 Awards so make sure you get your entry in before 5pm. If you submitted on time last Friday, congratulate yourself and read on smugly.

David Phillips 

Then: Global Innovation Manager, Cadbury 

Now: Partner – Creative, Brand and Media, Deloitte Digital 

At the age of 29, David Phillips was already an FMCG marketing veteran having clocked over eight years in the service of the Cadbury and Schweppes brands.

Rising rapidly from territory manager to marketing insights manager, then Schweppes category manager with a $160 million P&L, and finally global innovation manager, David led the 20-somethings of marketing by example.

Phillips’ career achievements included: leading and delivering globally aligned Crunchie brand positioning, vision and insight platform; leading Flake global brand issues identification and delivering technology based innovation platforms to 2013; and supporting local teams in a brand strategy capacity for ANZ brand strategy and positioning on Picnic, Boost and Crunchie brands including the moderation of groups.

In the creative stakes, the work to come out of David’s department won a Cannes Gold Lion via GPY&R, and the Gunn Report number two ad in the world for the Schweppes Burst TVC campaign.

What did it mean to you at the ripe age of 29 that you were chosen as one of B&T’s 30 Under 30?

It came as a complete shock. A very nice surprise! I was just starting out as a marketer having spent most of my formative years in the insights and strategy function. I guess all of us under thirty then were just learning the trade, but I was still very green.  

How do you think being nominated affected your career, if at all?

It’s hard to say but it may have had something to do with me staying in marketing. I was still collecting the corporate trivial pursuit wedges, but for some reason I kept coming back to marketing.

What’s been the biggest change to your life since then?

Professionally I’ve had a few … from corporate life to start-up, then to running part of a leading agency to now trying to change the whole marketing model as a consultant.

What words of wisdom would you have shared with your 25 year old self back then knowing what you do now?

“Don’t worry, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

I think a lot of marketers are held accountable for things outside their control and often not things inside their control. I certainly wasted a lot of energy concerned with things I really couldn’t influence as a junior marketer.

What are you most proud of?

What we’re building at Deloitte. It is the best decision I’ve made, coming here.

It’s an amazing feeling to work with some of the brightest people in the country and help CMOs with the really big problems they face within organisations as a function.

What do you see as the biggest challenges that face young people in advertising, marketing and media these days?

We spent a lot of time last year talking to CMOs before publishing the report ‘Reviving Marketing, the new CMO’. We opened this report by stating that “no function in the organisation has changed more than marketing. Today’s marketer has to connect and focus the business on the consumer, understand and drive the marketing technology stack and analytics, be the creative and narrative leaders across countless channels, all while organising the whole business behind their revenue growth and innovation agenda.”

Marketing today is harder than ever – most are either falling behind or struggling to catch up, very few have the resources they need to get on top of it, let alone help young marketers learn the ropes.

Young people are going to have to be the force that changes agencies. I believe the model is broken and there isn’t a desire with most of the current leadership to change it. To survive, the agency grads coming through today need to think differently about what the agency of the future is and what it does, as their forebears seem unwilling to do this.

Conversely, what’s the biggest opportunity for those under 30 now?

It’s obvious, but they need to become tech literate. Get deep into the platforms and understand what cognitive marketing will mean to them.

They must be able to articulate the power of brand and creativity but also know how to master the machines.

What can the industry do better to attract and retain young talent?

It sounds obvious but they need to invest in their people again.

Back when the original B&T piece was written, client side marketers were being continually trained and developed to become future marketing leaders and champions of both brand and customer. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find any comprehensive marketing capability development program in Australia.

Agencies have to invest in their talent. Too many young people have been thrown into roles with no context and have been burnt out. The financial pressures agency side aren’t going to change but agency leaders need to be held to account (me included historically) for the revolving door of young  talent – investing in them is the first step.

Sadly, the reality is the brightest kids simply don’t want to work in agencies and I can understand why. Previously the young folk were willing to trade-off work-life balance, and in some cases remuneration, as the industry was seen as a great place to work. Those days are over. Things have to change.

Finally, the industry as a whole also has to foster strong links with the higher education sector. You can now earn a commerce degree from the number one university in the country without ever hearing the word customer, and those who choose to do a marketing course are not adequately prepared to be a marketer in the modern age.

Entries for B&T‘s 30 Under 30 Awards for 2019 close TODAY. For all the details and to submit your entry, click here. Final tickets are also available for B&T Bootcamp, a day of speed mentoring and masterclasses aimed at up and comers in the industry.

30 Under 30 Awards 2019 sponsor block


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