I have been asking myself “Why become a member of the Worshipful Company of Marketors?” for many years. I had a long association with the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors when I was a judge for the Property Marketing Awards and a columnist for Estates Gazette magazine. And I have long been a supporter and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). After attending a Prospective Members Information evening last year I took the plunge and applied. I became a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Marketors in October 2019. So I thought it might be useful to share what I learned at the Information evening to encourage you to attend a future event.
History of the Livery Companies
Some guilds (Medieval associations of craftsmen or merchants) can trace their origins back to the 12th century, with the earliest Charter still in existence being granted to the Weavers’ Company in 1155.
Livery companies were established to support guilds whose members made things and the merchants who exchanged them as well as those providing of services, such as musicians and cooks. They controlled trade in the City of London – agreeing regulations, setting standards and providing training through apprenticeships. They also supported the welfare of members and their families.
They provided halls where members could meet and conduct business – there are many old and new Livery Halls throughout the City – and many areas of London are named after these trades – for example, Wood Street, Milk Street and Bread Street. The beautiful Guildhall is the home of the City of London Corporation and a regular venue for Livery company events.
Livery companies used costumes to distinguish members of different trades and organised events, ceremonies and processions concerned with the running of the City of London. The City of London, covering 1.3 miles, is organised into 25 wards and has elected representatives like other local authorities. Freemen of the City had the right to elect members of the Court of Aldermen and Common Council. Liverymen retain voting rights for the senior civic offices, such as the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and City of London Corporation. Whilst there are only 9,000 residents over 550,000 travel into the City to work each day.
London had eighty-nine guilds in the eighteenth century, ranked according to a hierarchy of precedence. The longest-established Livery companies are typically large, influential and asset-rich charities – some of which established alms houses and well-known schools. The top 12 are:
1. The Mercer’s Company
2. The Grocer’s Company
3. The Draper’s Company
4. The Fishmonger’s Company
5. The Goldsmith’s Company
6. The Merchant Taylor’s Company (alternating with No 7)
7. The Skinner’s Company (alternating with No 6)
8. The Haberdasher’s Company
9. The Salter’s Company
10. The Ironmonger’s Company
11. The Vintner’s Company
12. The Clothworker’s Company
Today there are 110 Livery companies and 40 Livery halls in the City of London. New Livery companies are still being formed. Many Livery Companies align their principles to the 4Cs:
• City (of London)
Worshipful Company of Marketors
The Worshipful Company of Marketors is relatively new – formed as a guild originally and gaining Livery Company status in 1977 (so just 45 years old) and number 90 in the list of 110 companies.
There are 375 members of the Worshipful Company of Marketors – 120 Freemen and 265 Liverymen. The Court comprises a Master, three wardens and around 12 Court Assistants. There is also a clerk and his team.
The founding principle is that “Marketing benefits everyone” and the positioning is “We believe in the power of marketing to deliver economic and social good”. There are strategic imperatives this year to grow membership amongst individual marketing professionals, corporate members and to recruit more younger members.
So why did I become a member?
London – I am a born Londoner and love the City of London. Most of my clients are in professional services – in law, accountancy and property practices – and so I spend a lot of time in the City. The City holds a special place in my heart and I adore the juxtaposition of the old traditions and the new developments. The Livery Companies are entrenched in history and hold events in some of the most beautiful places in the City.
Professional services – The City is now somewhat dominated by the professions – which make up the majority of my client base. So it is interesting to be involved with the other side of business – the trades on which the Livery companies were based. I like balance. And the marketing profession – the focus of the Worshipful Company of Marketors – is my original profession although I am also a psychologist. I’ve already met fellow professional services Marketors working at law firms, accountancy practices and property businesses.
Community – The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is the body managing the route to professional qualification as a marketer. But as someone with over three decades of marketing experience, I wanted to be part of a community with those who have been around for a while. Interestingly, it’s also proving a great environment to meet younger members of the marketing profession – from all B2B and B2C sectors – as there’s a Young Marketors Group. It’s certainly a friendly organisation of like-minded people and the discomfort of networking is replaced with socialising amid the familiarity and fraternity of fellowship at both formal (there are four big dinners a year and numerous lectures) and fun, social events (such as walking tours and swan-upping). I’ve already reconnected with some old colleagues and I’ve made some new friends too. There’s a quarterly magazine called Marketor as well to keep us all in touch.
Giving back – Like many people, I want to give back to society. I am a Trustee of a local mental health charity and I have completed some free strategic and consultancy projects for local organisations. But at the Worshipful Company of Marketors there is an Outreach programme where Pro Bono support (currently there are 40 projects using over 2,300 hours p.a.) is provided in a structured way to not-for-profit organisations. There’s also a mentoring programme to help young marketers and bursaries to study at Harvard Business School. All members commit to making regular donations to charity and most of the Marketors’ activities are aimed at fund-raising. I’ve just started working with the PR/Communications and Membership teams as well.
Sheep – If you progress to become a Freeman of the City of London – through which you are supported as a member of a Livery company – you are able to drive your sheep across London Bridge without paying a toll. I’m pleased to report that the Company hires sheep for a fun event so you can exercise this right. As a Londoner, this is on my bucket list!