Kotler offers marketers no real insight…

You report that “Philip Kotler caused uproar at Marketing Forum with ‘TV ads a waste of money’ claim” (MW September 25).

There was criticism from the audience but for different reasons. Most of us were expecting some interesting new insights to the issues facing marketers. Instead, it looked as though Professor Kotler had dusted down an old PowerPoint presentation and rolled out the old mantra of precision marketing.

We all know that one-to-one marketing is more measurable, that PR and guerrilla marketing have a role to play, that we need to make promotional spending more accountable and that call centres are important. The problem with theoreticians is that hard cold logic doesn’t always make sense. Precision marketing theory would probably have the likes of Prada and Gucci whipped out of the pages of Vogue and going for a more direct approach. Sounds great, but in the real world it’s a non-starter.

So what did we conclude from the sage’s words? We’re still strugg-ling to put theory into practice in a lot of areas. Marketers need to be more financially literate. Marketing is still not central in most company cultures and marketing departments tend to be left controlling the one P: promotion. All true, but not new.

And TV advertising? We’ve seen TV advertising work time and time again. Frankly, I’ve even seen some pretty pedestrian creative ideas on TV build market share faster than any other medium.

I’ve read, admired and advocated many of Kotler’s theories over the years, but in 2003 I expected a little bit more.

John Wood

Managing director

bds beechwood

London W1

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