Oystercatchers 2019

Building on all that we delivered in 2018

Like Comment

Reading The Harvard Business Review it suggests that after a vacation you should approach your TO DO list thoughtfully. I have definitely eaten and drunk too much over the Christmas break, as I could hardly recall what I was up to last year, let alone prioritise for this, but I got there in the end. So if you have any Christmas Cake left and a cup of tea and want to join me for few minutes to hear what my Oystercatchers TO DO list looks like for this year, read on....

No question, business worldwide in 2018 was beset by change and uncertainty. And I suspect there will be more to come in the year ahead.

Suki Thompson, CEO Oystercatchers and Carolyn McCall, CEO ITV at the Festival of Marketing 2019

Unsurprisingly, the most-commonly asked questions from the industry leaders and Marketing Influencers I spoke to during 2018 was “How do we make our business future-focused? how do we stay relevant? how do we create growth in such volatility?" A question that I posed to Dame Carolyn McCall at FOM. Here is Marketing Week review of our conversation.

At Oystercatchers, we too had to be future-fit to help our clients accelerate their own marketing performance and growth. And 2018 was the year we truly transformed to deliver this ambition. The move to Centaur Media in 2016 supplied fresh challenges and opportunities. In 2017 we planned, threw the rule book out as my Partners decided to leave after our earn out and in 2018 we executed significant change.

And actually, looking at our 2018 snapshot diary, I’m incredibly proud and pleased with all the innovation our extraordinary team achieved. We are, in my view, in a great place to lead our clients and the industry successfully into the future.


In March we jettisoned the traditional, cumbersome RFI, no longer fit for purpose for the speed-driven modern world, and launched our Modern Marketing Pitch for a more effective, true-to-life process. We firmly placed creativity, innovation and financial rigour at its heart. With a simple, agile, collaborative process the timeline to decision was halved from three months to six/seven weeks. MM Pitch process

L-R: Ellie Norman, CMO, F1; Richard Morris, CEO Initiative; Phil Rumbol, CEO MullenLowe, Phil Edmonds, Managing Partner, Oystercatchers at the leadership track at the Festival of Marketing 2019

TO DO 1:

Evolve and develop the modern marketing agile pitch process further in 2019. Continue to run some of the industry's most complex and high profile pitches across all disciplines.

In July, we stepped-up our annual Evolve event to inspire marketers to marry together creativity, data and technology to accelerate growth. We introduced a new rapid-fire format for our speakers - a daunting but exhilarating new experience for me! Our panellists, however, were well versed in this: Tricia Wilber, Chief Marketing Officer at The Walt Disney Company EMEA and Jeremy Waite, IBM’s Chief Strategy Officer among others inspired us all. The tech showcase, thanks to ITG invited us to play with incredible innovation- from robots, virtual reality games and body modelling, giving us a real feel for the tech influencing how people behave and purchase. 

Jeremy Waite, CSO IBM Watson

Jeremy Waite Chief Strategy Officer, IBM. Partner; Oystercatchers and Evolve. Photo by Rankin (Marketing Influencers)


Find truly inspirational people who are brave enough to do the quick fire format at Evolve, 20 secs each for 20 slides.

Partner with brilliant companies to deliver outstanding Club events throughout the year.

We launched the Oystercatchers Club Network – our exclusive online platform for the marketing community linked directly from Marketing Week. This new space makes it possible for our Club members to share their latest work, inspirational case studies, most insightful thinking, and join live discussion. Brand-owners can now search, select and interact online with the best agencies in the UK. To our delight, we saw an immediate uplift in communication between clients and agencies – paving the way for faster, firmer collaboration. For more information about Club membership contact Rebecca.lalonde@theoystercatchers.com

Oystercatchers Club: Leadership

Our leadership discussion panellists L-R: Suki Thompson, CEO Oystercatchers; David Wood, CEO Mothercare; Mary Macleod, Consultant, KornFerry; Catherine Kehoe, Managing Director, Group Brands and Marketing, Lloyds Banking Group; Rankin, Photographer, Director, Publisher


Work with Zapnito on stage 2 of the platform development and attract senior industry influencers as new members from both clients and agencies who want to help change the in

In October, we introduced a new C-Suite leadership programme for brand Chief Marketing Directors and agency CEO's at the Festival of Marketing, the largest global event dedicated to brand marketers. All part of our strategy to help shape the future of the industry together, Over 5000 people attended Festival, and, one of my own personal highlights was the head to head between @stevehatch and @markritson FOM write up

Mark Ritson and Facebook's COO Steve Hatch


Start planning 2019 Festival programme across all the Centaur Marketing Brands with the help of our Agency and Client Fellows and Partners

On to November, and the reveal of two further initiatives: The Oystercatchers' Club CMO Client Partners and the Club Fellows – two communities which will help guide all of us here at Oystercatchers, and the industry at large, in 2019. Both focussed on innovation, creativity and growth. We enjoyed a great Christmas cocktail making class with our Fellows and Client partners at Hayman DistillersFellow @Garethmercer @PabloLondon #OystercatchersFellow checks out the botanicals used in Gin making.

Oystercatchers and our Fellows enjoying a gin tasting session, courtesy of Haymans


Finalise the Fellows and Client partners membership and kickoff the 2019 programme at the Club evening on 23rd Jan

November also saw our annual Oystercatchers' Awards undergo a powerful, relevant refresh as we extended recognition and reward to celebrate partnerships between and agencies, and, the people and agencies who strive to move the industry forward. The fabulous Dame Cilla Snowball, chair AMV/BBDO, was presented our very first Lifetime Achievement Award, savoured with much joy by all in the room. We went on to party magnificently with spectacular entertainment from international, award-winning seven-foot drag queen bombshell Gingzilla of X-factor fame, powerhouse singer Christie Sullivan, burlesque hula-hoop queen, stilt-walkers and dancers. The DJ played long into the night. Awards Coverage

Syl Saller, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, Diageo and Suki Thompson, Oystercatchers CEO present Cilla Snowball (centre), CEO, AMVBBDO with her lifetime achievement award


Start the Planning of our 2019 Awards early to enable members to plan their entries.

Attract high quality judges to make sure this is one of the most sought after Industry Awards

We have started working with partners and Fellows in new and innovative ways. As illustrated by our new potent partnership with the legendary photographer Rankin. This year we met, and, discovered to our joy, we shared the same deep belief in the power of creativity as a business growth driver; a similar zeal and entrepreneurship in business and, a passion to help people succeed no matter who they are or where they come from. Together, we created our Marketing Influencers Exhibition - beautiful photographs of game-changing industry leaders, that has so far raised over £12,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and was supported by one of our Agency Fellows, Hogarth WW, The Marketing Implementation Agency. Our plan is to take this initiative further in 2019 – with the publication of a Marketing Influencers book. Campaign wrote this about the exhibition. campaign

Oystercatchers' Marketing Influencers exhibition, in partnership with Rankin, first unveiled at the C-suite track at the Festival of Marketing


write to copy for the Book with support from the Marketing Influencers.

Run launch programme with Rankin and his team (Confirm sponsorship)

I was thrilled when we were was recognised again by The Financial Times as one of the UK’s leading management consultancies, alongside AT Kearney, Capgemini and LEK Consulting Financial Times Top Consultancies We worked with some incredible brands last year but the transformation programme at M&S is one of my personal highlights. We still have work to do, but this loved brand is adapting to the huge challenges that retailers face with a new and improved focus on modern marketing excellence.


Continue to help marketing teams accelerate their marketing performance and tell more companies about the Marketing Transformation services we offer.


Launch the new Centaur Marketing Group in January to further our ability to offer clients Excellence in Marketing

Rough edit of our Marketing Influencers at one of the Rankin shoots

Finally, none of this works without a clear vision, focus and passion for the business from the whole team. I want to particularly support Phil, Helen, Rebecca and Becs - helping them reach their potential as the new leaders of Oystercatchers. Ensure all the team get the training they need to grow and develop in their roles across the business. Wellbeing and resiliance will enable all of us to reach our potential and taking time to be fit and healthy mentally, physically and emotionally will be my final TO Do this year.

TO DO 10

Wellbeing and Resiliance time and training to provide focus and support for everyone.

The Oystercatchers team celebrate an action packed year, at the Oystercatchers Awards

So there you have it. My Top 10 TO DO List. I can't wait to start...

I do hope many current members of @TheOystercatchers Club will join me on the 23rd January where we will be discussing the benefits of Creativity with @Kerrisbright (CCO BBC). Benny Higgins, (Scottish Goverment Advisor, Scottish National Investment Bank) and Chaka Sobhani, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett. If you would like to join as a client or agency, do go to our website to find out more details about how to join. www.theoystercatchers.com

I wish you all a peaceful, inspiring, thought provoking and Love filled 2019.


Suki Thompson

Founder / Chair, Oystercatchers

Suki Thompson is an entrepreneur and transformational business leader. She is CEO and co-founder of Oystercatchers and part of the Centaur management team where she is helping lead Centaur Media, the UK’s leading B2B media publisher, through a journey of transformation anchored in the ability to advise, inform and connect. Suki leads the strategic development of Oystercatchers and is the driving force behind the proprietary evaluation model Optimise™. She works with businesses on transformational change and is part of the team commercialising the ‘M3 model’ bringing marketing and digital together. Suki is also passionate about capability and learning.