Sweet flavour of small producers

I have read Jo-Anne Walker’s article “Force Field” (MW March 3). It is undoubtedly interesting, but one could also say introspective.

Whilst mentioning the Mars influence on the history of the business, and that the other two major confectionery manufacturers use the services of agencies, the article fails to mention that smaller players in identical markets also see the value of field marketing. For instance, the fourth largest confectionery manufacturer is Terry’s Suchard – who are a client of ours. The article would have benefited from exploring some issues from tertiary brand manufacturers.

Additionally, the comment about the market, valued at ú80m to ú100m, being “shared between four companies” is outstandingly inaccurate.

The combined turnover of CPM, FMCG, Aspen and Ellert is less than 50 per cent of your conservative estimate of industry value. Of that, one client, Mars, contributes about ú15m through CPM.

Naturally, I am disappointed that you did not try to speak to Headcount. If you had, you would have discovered a group of Worldwide associated Companies soon to be launched on the US stock msarket.

We may be smaller than “the big four” in the UK but what attention was paid to their turnover of clients? In a three-month spell in 1994 FMCG lost CCSB, Golden Wonder, Mercury One2One and PST – a combined value of about ú8m. The same story would be found at CPM, Aspen and Ellert.

What some clients like are smaller, more intimate companies, with the same attention to detail (but inevitably better focused) as the “large players”. Bigger players often pay little attention to client retention and development – becoming reactive instead of proactive. We are not driven by return, either top or bottom line orientated. Nor are we driven by a desire to be “the biggest”, either in terms of financial status or number of clients.

It may be too late for this article but you will benefit in future by researching the industry as a whole, not relying on self-publicising material fed to you by the supposed “big four”.

Mike Garnham

Managing director

Milton Headcount

Windsor

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