Born: Stuttgart, Germany
Worked in/Lived in: Asia, the US and Europe. Marcus has moved more than 10 times for work over the past 20 years.
Not only is Marcus John the quintessential global executive, who has successfully built a career spanning all major continents with postings in Europe, North America and Asia, but he lives and breathes sports. MediaCom Worldwide recognized the benefits of these combined skills and interests earlier this year when the media agency launched a global sports entity and asked Marcus to lead the effort.
Both consumers and marketers are increasingly interested in what sports can deliver. MediaCom’s new division was created in response to the power of sports to connect with consumers and the agency’s recognition that clients must skillfully position and market their brands in this space on a worldwide basis as they seek measureable returns. While media agencies have been involved in sports locally and regionally in the past, MediaCom SPORT operates on a global playing field to link brands with rights holders.
Building a standalone sports business for one of the world’s top media agencies is certainly an exciting task, but Marcus also sees the opportunity to add significant value to MediaCom’s diversified client base. He says, “Establishing sports expertise within a media agency will ensure that brands who invest in sports rights also activate these properties to their full potential and integrate them across all their communication channels.” Marcus oversees four key areas of services: Strategic advice, rights negotiation, rights activation and measurement.
Over the last decade, Marcus John held various senior executive positions at International Management Group (IMG), where he simultaneously ran the Asia-Pacific Consulting division and managed IMG’s activities in China. He was responsible for some of the biggest deals in Asia including the Beijing Olympics’ first deal to exceed the USD $100million mark. Marcus advised clients on a broad range of brand, sponsorship and media issues, while attracting key new accounts like Diageo, Volkswagen, China Mobile, LG, Adidas and Hyundai. He also expanded IMG’s advisory business footprint into new geographies, including China, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and India.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today?
Innovation is key to what we deliver to our clients, as it's essentially the key to overcoming challenges. Without an innovative approach to solving marketing issues, little progress would be made. As the old saying goes, doing the same things but expecting different results is the definition of insanity. We like to deliver exactly the opposite.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects?
Openness to new ideas and fear of the unproven. Innovation entails by default a new way of thinking when approaching branding issues—not an easy initiative in today’s complex marketing matrix. If fear rather than openness rules the thought process, it hinders progress.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background?
Marcus’ competitive endurance and versatility in business is strongly underscored by his distinctive list of personal athletic achievements. In addition to numerous high-altitude climbs on his way to completing the “7 Summits” and piloting his own plane, Marcus is preparing to undertake the world’s toughest off-road rally, the legendary Paris-Dakar.