Timing’s right to take the plunge

How many people feel at odds with the current practice of marketing and the closely related business of marketing communications?

Battered by the recession and controlled by accountants, perhaps despair is just around the corner?

Examples of the damage wrought by the combined attentions of recession, and subsequently the bean counters, are numerous. High-street retailers don’t carry enough stock to meet demand. So frustrated shoppers go to the larger out-of-town stores or resort to the pages of a catalogue to “buy direct”.

Risk taking is pass. The Nineties corporate beast frowns on risk (and hence stifles innovation). This appears to be as true amongst agencies as it does their clients.

All is lost. At least the problems are now being recognised.

As stated in Marketing Week on February 17: “If retailers had applied themselves a little more assiduously to genuine customer improvements, they might be faring rather better than they are. They complain, accurately enough, of low consumer confidence, but seem incapable of accepting that their own lack of foresight and their inability to nurture more than promotional interest has contributed heavily to it.”

Moving on to new media, we have a report stating that “European marketers have just three years to develop multimedia applications and the information superhighways or they become permanent followers.”

The message is clear – get marketing. What’s not so clear is who’ll take the lead? Maybe the high-profile breakaway from Saatchi will give the industry a shake. Can they repeat their success of the early Seventies? I hope so. I hope they can create an agency that acts as a blazing light of excellence and innovation in the current environment of mediocrity. At least their timing would appear to be right.

Simon Forster

London W4

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