Rob Bloom is a marketing leader with a proven track record in developing the vision, strategy and structure to deliver brand and commercial growth. Rob joined Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team as CMO in 2021 to relaunch a global icon back into Formula 1. He has since built the marketing operation from the ground-up, delivering significant growth in global fanbase, brand reputation and commercial value.
Previously, Rob developed the McLaren F1 Team global fan engagement and brand marketing strategy, with prior roles at FTSE 250 companies and founding a content marketing agency. Rob is an industry commentator and multiple award winner, named in the Leaders in Sport Under 40.
Recently, in an exclusive interview with CXO Outlook Magazine, Rob shared his insights on the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing and emerging technologies such as AI, current roles and responsibilities as Chief Marketing Officer at Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team, take on authentic leadership, future plans, pearls of wisdom, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.
Rob, what inspired you to a career in marketing? How did you get your start in this industry?
Marketing is a platform to connect with people and make a real difference. I started off with my own content marketing agency and then broadened out through in-house roles in digital and ultimately the wider marketing mix. I’m ambitious and have high work ethic but driven by the passion to leverage the platform to change lives for the better. We have a phrase at Aston Martin F1: ‘when the sport loves you back’, which truly captures my and the team’s ethos.
Please brief us about your roles and responsibilities as Chief Marketing Officer at Aston Martin F1 Team.
I sit across the brand, marketing and the holistic audience engagement strategy at the Aston Martin F1 team, which covers a broad range of disciplines for both our brand and our commercial-partners. The team is 33 years old but rebranded as Aston Martin when I joined in 2021, providing the ultimate brief to blend performance, luxury and sport. We’ve created an aspirational brand that serves to inspire, something truly meaningful that is a beacon for fans, commercial sponsors and further elevates the reputation of a 110-year-old global icon. It’s been the most incredible journey to build a team, culture and strategy that I believe is truly changing the game in F1.
How do you approach the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing and emerging technologies such as AI?
I was fortuitous to come into the industry at the time when digital and social were exploding, which was a reset moment for marketers and in turn opened the door to get into the industry. I see evolving trends and technologies as brilliant opportunities to switch it up and further evolve the user experience. My concern isn’t testing and adopting new tech – more so moving quickly enough to be a leader rather than follower. Equally, despite the speed of technological advancements, we need to remember the purity of the story – what are we trying to say and how does technology enable us to reach that endpoint?
What metrics do you measure to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing investments?
Ultimately, the focus of the team is maximizing revenues from commercial sponsors. Unlike other sports teams and rights holders, we don’t have a stadium to sell out or media rights to sell, but instead around two thirds of commercial revenue comes from our commercial-partners. It’s a hugely competitive landscape and to acquire new partners requires a brilliant brand, sizeable and engaged fanbase, and the creativity and ambition to activate partners with a sharp focus on ROI. We therefore operate our own measurement framework as a temperature check for how our brand is growing – including brand perception, fanbase growth, campaign effectiveness, engagement rates – and a scorecard for how we’re delivering against our partners’ individual KPIs.
What, in your view, should CMOs in B2B be doing more to drive core business value through marketing efforts?
I think distribution is everything in B2B. Social has become such a powerful tool – particularly in B2C – but has masked other important channels. Why pool your content budget into Instagram when your target audience is at trade events? It’s the side of marketing where potency outweighs volume. F1 has one of the best B2B platform in the world in its at-track hospitality experience, which is a hotbed of B2B engagement. Low volume, high effectiveness.
Is there a particular person you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are?
There are a few, and I owe them a huge amount. Firstly, my sister’s a fantastic marketer and gave me the steer to explore copywriting and content marketing. And I’ve been fortunate to cross paths with a few brilliant people in my career. I love the idea of borrowing your favourite attributes from the people that you respect. Stuart Peddie (ECD, Havas Helia) is someone from whom I’ve borrowed a lot over the years – one of the most brilliant minds in the industry.
What does the term “authentic leadership” mean to you?
It means modern leadership. A central set of beliefs and values that are authentic to you, and from which you build the foundations of engagement with your team – in the very same way that crafting a brand starts with a core belief.
What are some of your passions outside of work? What do you like to do in your time off?
I am a fan. Specifically, a fan of football, with an enduring love of Birmingham City F.C. I’ve travelled around the country following the Blues and know what it means to often feel like it’s a one-way relationship. I also love to get away for a few days and reset, which is hugely important – particularly in a high-performance environment.
What is your biggest goal? Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Ultimately, I would love to lead an organization. I believe that success is incremental, and I’ve trodden my own path to get where I am today. I took the role of CMO at Aston Martin F1 at 37 years old, so 5 years is a long time. I equally appreciate that you never stop learning, and no matter the size of your ambition, you can’t rush experience.
What advice would you give to somebody who is considering entering the field of marketing or has just entered the field and maybe, one day, they would like to become a CMO?
Someone once told me your network is your net-worth. Building a robust network from school, through university, and into the workplace is invaluable. It’s essential to value every interaction, treat people with kindness, exchange knowledge generously, and learn from those around you. By building these relationships, you never know who might offer you a life-changing opportunity, such as a CMO position. I believe any professional journey is enriched not just by what you know, but by who you know and the quality of the connections you maintain.