The Secret Marketer: what will be the worth of marketing this summer?

Secret Marketer

I was invited to a “pink” picnic in the park last weekend. Irrespective of the unsummer-like weather, the biggest challenge was that the hostess wanted everyone to wear something that was pink in colour.

My wardrobe is not awash with pink attire, so earlier in the week I made a trip to Oxford Street to see what I could find. I am now the owner of a pink shirt, but that is not my story this week.

The good news for UK plc was that Oxford Street was packed. People are spending money again… except that I didn’t hear a single word of English spoken.

As I stood back to observe, I realised that everyone was a tourist, most of whom would no doubt be claiming back the VAT before they jetted back to Russia, Japan or South America. All my fears about the future of retail in this country remain… and my false dawn about the economy is dashed.

All my fears about the future of retail in this country remain… And my false dawn about the economy is dashed

This made me reflect on a recent conversation I had with my CEO, during which he made it quite clear that I was wasting (his) moneyby running marketing campaigns in July and August. He reasoned that customers won’t be in “buy mode” during the Olympicsand Paralympics.

He even went so far as to say that he believes we will struggle merely to locate decision makers in some of the markets we need to penetrate because most will have relocated out of London, be based at home or simply be glued to the telly.

But I thought part of the business case behind bidding for the Olympics was around increased spending both by inbound visitors (perhaps as noted in my observations in Oxford Street) and on the back of the feelgood factor that would sweep the country this summer?

Do we really believe that productivity will crash, and customers will stop spending altogether? And what does that mean to the many billions that brands have put into sponsorship of the Olympics? Is it only about long-term brand building?

I am sure we will soon find out, but in the meantime, I have a sales director jumping up and down asking for more marketing activity, as he struggles to track down any willing punters wishing to open their wallets on the basis of his actions alone.

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