Brand Insight in association withLBB's Brand Insight Features

Little Grey Cells: Boots CMO Pete Markey on Keeping Pace with the Consumer

Advertising Agency
Copenhagen, Denmark
The British retailer has embraced data, curious but cautious on the metaverse and is taking its role in society seriously
In this new interview series from Danish Creative agency Worth Your while (, we meet Pete Markey, chief marketing officer at Boots Ltd and he talks about his role as head of marketing for the 170 year old high street chemist.

What inspired you to pursue a career that embraces marketing?

Pete> I’ve always liked communication and originally wanted to be a journalist or to work in PR. When I was at school I used to write for the local newspaper and did some paid work for some local PR firms but when I went to university and part of the course involved marketing I just fell in love with it as a discipline – the mix between art and science really connected with me

What are the biggest challenges currently facing your marketing team?

Pete> I think whatever business you are in, the pace of change and the need to keep pace with your consumer remains key. Ensuring your brand and everything you do and offer is highly relevant is a critical focus point for my team and I believe many other marketing teams in the UK particularly as we emerge from the pandemic

Science vs Art: With scientific data-driven marketing at one end of the spectrum and genius creative ideas at the other - which side do you lean towards?

Pete> I’d lean today far more towards science and the power of data to connect with customers. However, all of the amazing science and martech capability isn’t enough without strong creative to help drive response. So I lean towards using science and martech to reach audiences powered by amazing and positively disruptive creative

The metaverse and web3: are you ‘in’, ‘out’ or ‘not sure’? And please tell us why.

Pete> For me its early days and I like the potential so I'm more 'in' than 'out', but waiting for it to become a little more mainstream.

How do you adapt a business and marketing strategy to embrace the latest trends and keep ahead of the competition?

Pete> The key thing for me is staying close to your customers and making sure you’re providing them with the right products and the right service at the right time driving a long term, sustainable relationship. This means lots of listening to customers and watching the market and continually working to evolve your offering. At Boots our data and analytics function is key to helping to keep us one step ahead

What role does your company’s purpose and corporate social responsibility play within your marketing strategy? 

Pete> We have a very clear brand purpose to serve your wellbeing for life and we translate that in our comms into “Boots. With You. For Life.” We use this as a platform to communicate how we and all our team members at Boots live and breathe this purpose every day and this extends into the partnerships we have with Macmillan, The Hygiene Bank and The Princes Trust as well as our work on sustainability. Our marketing and PR/comms activity works hand in hand to communicate our purpose and the role we play in customers live and society at large today

How important is storytelling when maximising your customers’ engagement with a campaign?

Pete> I think its key to bring your brand to life in a really compelling way that connects with your customers. Our recent summer and Christmas campaigns worked hard to tell a clear narrative around how Boots can help customers in their lives today whether its through helping them have an amazing summer or to help them bring joy at Christmas. And this will remain central to the campaigns we are developing right now

From a marketing perspective, what’s coming up for your brand in 2022?

Pete> We’ve just launched our first ever dedicated TV advertising campaign for the Boots Advantage Card to promote our new Price Advantage offer that gives Boots customers exclusive offers and pricing on over 400 products in store and online. It’s the 25th birthday of the Boots Advantage Card this year and we have more exciting plans to come. We also have big plans for Summer and Christmas too so watch this space.

Tim Healey interviewed Peter Markey on behalf of Worth Your While