Jigsaw, the marketing alliance formed by Unilever, Kimberly-Clark and Cadbury, held its first guest lecture this week.
The alliance was formed in January 1997 as part of an attempt to counter the threat from supermarket own label and the rising costs of TV advertising. The companies share data and knowledge on customer targeting. Jigsaw has launched a magazine aimed at women with children to try to increase brand loyalty.
Professor Merlin Stone, IBM professor of marketing at the University of Surrey, speaking at the event, said British Airways, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s were in a state of crisis largely because they had failed to keep track of existing customers and were also ignorant of where new customers were coming from.
According to Stone, the Web is not a threat to mail-based marketing. “The Web is increasing the demand for mailing. Direct ordering leads to direct delivery, often by mail,” he said.
He believes new technology will bring about “the collapse of privilege”, where products such as mobile phones become so commonplace that marketers can use them to send messages to all social groups.