Sorrell feels marketing arguments making headway

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, believes that boardrooms are beginning to wake up to the value of marketing despite the pressure of procurement.

He says: “I do worry about the role and value of marketing inside companies and inside the board room but I really think that the balance of power is shifting.”

Sir Martin made reference to the Deutsche Bank study of the value of advertising and promotion by 30 companies that demonstrated, over a 15 year period, those who had invested in brands saw an average rise in sales of 30% and in unleveraged profits of 50%.

He made his comments in a Mediacom Webcast today (28 September) and pointed to Apple as an example of a modern company investing in innovation and marketing.

“You will not cut your way to prosperity but you will invest your way,” he said.

Looking at trends that caught his attention, Sir Martin highlighted “the rise of retail” and the way retail brands were expanding both geographically and into new areas of business.

He also mentioned that there was little “greenwashing” now going on within businesses and clients were embracing CSR “in a genuine way.”

He said that advertisers wanted three things: efficiency, effectiveness and liquidity and added “Ever since Lehman’s collapse clients and ourselves have been worried about liquidity…my view is that this is too short term.”

Sir Martin also stressed that he wanted to see a closer relationship between WPP’s companies and media owners.

“I think there are very big opportunities for us to work with clients and media owners” and pointed to the success of the programme China’s Got Talent and its tie-up with Procter & Gamble.

Read the MW cover feature Building a Bridge between Marketing and Boardroom here.

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