There’s nothing of the revolution in talking

Don Peppers’ comments on “return on customer” metrics (Alan Mitchell, MW May 12) weren’t complicated, they made good reading and sense. On the other hand, Steve Barton’s letter (MW May 19) is naive in the extreme and strangely smug. We had to read it three times just to ensure that we hadn’t missed something sensible. We hadn’t.

Of course word of mouth in any marketing mix is important. It always has been for heaven’s sake. Who wouldn’t know that? It’s not remotely new thinking and neither is it a clever or useful observation. It’s blindingly obvious to any (very) junior marketing manager, consumer, television viewer, dinner party attendee, chip-shop queuer, football supporter or school-run driver. Why extol the virtue of something that’s been driving market forces and buying behaviour since the invention of the wheel?

Surely, the key to the point that one must imagine Mr Barton is trying to make is that the power of advertising or marketing media sets both the brand and message and then, via the same media, a similar power reinforces the brand and message. That’s the basis of the difference between successful and bad marketing. The theory’s really not very complicated.

The whole point of this, Mr Barton, is that people do talk about what they’ve seen, heard, bought, experienced or used. But they always have.

Simon Maier

Creative director

Jack Morton Worldwide

London W3

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