There is more than one way to be successful in marketing

Our ‘man on the inside’ provides a view from the top of the marketing tree

It appears I ruffled a few feathers with my column last week in daring to doubt the credentials of AG Lafley. To set the record straight, I don’t doubt his talents, but am just, perhaps, not as aware of them as those who have worked for Procter & Gamble.

I note with interest that the new Marketing Society president is none other than the current marketing director of P&G, so perhaps Roisin Donnelly can devote a small part of her tenure to educating the wider readership as to the virtues of the man she nominated as her marketing legend. This way she may serve to inspire a next generation of marketers who know little of his fame.

On the subject of marketing celebrities, while driving to London last week, I was greeted by a giant roadside poster site for Dell laptops, starring Richard Reed of Innocent Smoothies fame. It wasn’t that long ago that a similar site featured Gü puds founder James Averdieck waxing lyrical about his Orange mobile phone rather than his orange tortes in another testimonial-style ad.

“I suspectAG Lafley would approve of the highly targeted propositions of challenger brands.”

If press speculation is anything to go by, Gü is about to join a distinguished list of challenger food and drink brands that have gone from zero to hero before being snapped up by a more established industry player. I suspect AG Lafley would approve of the highly targeted propositions that tend to typify such successful brands, but perhaps be less enamoured with their intuitive decision making and lack of quantitative evidence at every turn. Personally, I rather admire their reluctance to follow the corporate rule book.

It is perhaps telling that alongside voting for Lafley as the greatest contributor to marketing over the past 50 years, the same Marketing Society membership voted Richard Branson as their most admired marketer. Quite a contrast in styles, though I suspect Branson’s take on the models of the day would produce a rather different set of statistics to Lafley’s.

It just goes to prove that there is more than one way to be successful in marketing and I very much hope that the new president of The Marketing Society takes the opportunity to champion diversity rather than lecture us on how P&G does things. Rather like the Catholic church, The Marketing Society may struggle with its future membership if it only talks to the faithful.

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