Award case study: Find out how PwC managed to win marketing team of the year

Find out how PwC won marketing team of the year and continued to grow with 31 new hires, 12 promotions and a retention rate of 91%. 

The brand they work for 

At PwC, (a professional services firm providing consulting, tax, deals, risk assurance and audit services), its marketing vision is clear; to become a globally recognised, world-class marketing function, famous for its people’s innovation and commercial impact, driven by four guiding principles: 

  • PwC innovates every day 
  • PwC is inclusive by default 
  • PwC tells stories that inspire
  • PwC delivers commercial impact with purpose 

Commercial challenges 

Responses to key challenges:

  • Challenge:

    Skills requirements and demands on specialists teams have evolved 

  • Response

    : Redefining its people strategy 

  • Outcome

    : The right people, in the right teams, doing the right jobs with the right skills


  • Challenge:

    A cry for more clarity and consistency in how PwC works, to deploy centralised teams in a truly agile way 

  • Response

    : A new marketing methodology by way of ‘Our Marketing Playbook’ 

  • Outcome

    : Enhanced team experiences and delivery of outstanding campaign performance


  • Challenge:

    Competing demand from across the business, with siloed working, resource constraints and the pressing need to prioritise 

  • Response

    : A unifying strategy and planning process, using a sophisticated set of models to make decisions 

  • Outcome

    : Business buy-in and recognition at board level like never before


  • Challenge

    : Responding to COVID-19 and adapting to new working practices 

  • Response

    : Pivoting and mobilising the team against a new set of immediate priorities

  • Outcome

    : Protecting jobs and salaries whilst supporting health and wellbeing

Individual contributions 

Redefining its people strategy

  • Challenge

    : Its structure allowed people to become deep subject matter experts recognised for their specialist skills, seeing demands on its team and skills evolve, particularly around digital marketing, content, thought leadership and project management. 

  • Response

    : Redefining its people strategy meant redistributing headcount, further supported by skills development. Integrating the Client Relationship Programmes, and Corporate Hospitality and Sponsorships teams into its function, has enabled more collaborative working across teams. 


  • 31 new hires, 12 promotions, retention rate of 91% and 100% of Top Talent 
  • YouMatter pulse results 
  • David Nelson (Head of Deals Marketing, who recently led its COVID-19 response) has been shortlisted for CIMs ‘Best Marketer of the Year’ 

Team working and collaboration A new marketing methodology by way of Our Marketing Playbook 


The team asked for more clarity and consistency in the way PwC works to allow individuals to hit the ground running when deployed to new campaigns. PwC listened. 


Its Marketing Playbook (a marketing methodology for the team to operate more effectively), was designed through a collaborative programme across the following workstreams:

  • Processes 
  • Ways of working 
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Governance 
  • Reporting

The playbook’s ‘one-stop’ website, contains a full suite of templates and guidance documents all designed around a central campaign process, designed to bring best practice to all its activities, and governed to ensure change sticks.


Site utilisation: 3,000 unique visits in first two months demonstrates relevance to the wider firm and global colleagues who want to adopt this best practice approach* Adoption: key processes, templates and milestone meetings implemented across more than 80% of its campaigns** Playbook training feedback scores: (84 responses, 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree): 

  1. I understand how to use Our Marketing Playbook: 4.5/5 
  2. This training will significantly improve my working experience: 4.5/5 
  3. I feel excited to put these ways of working into practice: 5/5 

Strategic alignment 

A new unifying approach to strategy and planning 


33 different marketing plans and budgets created siloed working. With limited ability to prioritise its campaigns and activities, PwC needed to come together around a unified strategy and plan and re-contract with business stakeholders in a whole new way.


Multiple steps reconnected marketing with the most senior business stakeholders, working together around a single strategy and planning approach:

  • Engagement with its Executive Board gained sponsorship, buy-in and top-down support of a set of firmwide priorities 
  • Quarterly Marketing Forums brought partners from across the business together to develop an overarching strategic framework 
  • A quarterly planning cycle involving sophisticated planning models enabled effective prioritisation of campaigns, focusing on doing less, but with more impact 
  • A classification system involved ‘tiering’ activities, based on scale and complexity, to inform resources and investment decisions 


  • A single, firmwide strategy and plan that achieved buy-in from all business areas, reducing campaign volume from 350 to 23 priorities 
  • Campaigns delivered 49,091 marketing leads, 2,145 business meetings and pipeline revenue of £306.4m (405% increase from prior year)
  • Shortlisted for 8 CIM Marketing Excellence Awards

Team development and retention 

Training and development to meet evolving demands: 

A training curriculum including Our Marketing Playbook, Brand, Brief Writing, SEO, Digital Reporting and Media 101 

Professional development programmes: 

  1. Digital Accelerator – upskilling on business analytics 
  2. Stratosphere – residential leadership course for Senior Managers 
  3. Altitude – residential leadership course for Executives 
  4. Rising Stars – to recognise and nurture top talent Business Placement Student programme (12 months): four university students learned from a work environment, with cycles of experience across marketing teams, Developing its strategic agency portfolio: to upskill and bridge skills gaps


Fully embedding Marketing Cloud to optimise campaign performance, and deepening its use of Salesforce to improve the hando between marketing and sales; winners of two MarTech Awards – ‘Martech Transformation/Acceleration 

Project of the year’ and ‘Best use of Martech for demand generation’. Wellbeing and community: Work is more than a place you come to get your job done, but a network of people you can trust, emphasised by the following:

  • Braveface: a mental health campaign to encourage colleagues to speak out and get support in times of need 
  • One Firm Every Day: every team member was allocated time during working hours to support local communities throughout the coronavirus crisis 
  • A strong sense of team community: Book Club, #ColourBrave Filmclub, sports teams, exercise groups (now virtual!) and regular team quizzes 
  • Friday ‘Thank yous’: an initiative to nominate individuals who need a personal pat on the back from its Directors

Responding to COVID-19: PwC puts its people first, prioritising the protection of all jobs and salaries with no-one furloughed. Time provided to all staff for childcare and/or caring responsibilities, without the need to meet contracted hours. Support of mental health, wellbeing and working from home has been provided throughout.

“We have lifted the lid on everything we do in marketing and how we work and redesigned or designed everything from scratch, we now have a truly agile team who love what they do and are always developing.”

Judith Nicholl, COO Sales and Marketing

B2B Marketing Awards 2020

This submission won the award for 

‘Marketing team of the year’

 at the B2B Marketing Awards this year.

Find out who made the shortlist here!

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