The customer is always first

As a shopper marketing agency we were astounded to read the shameful list of basic errors made by the so-called ‘creative agencies’ the Secret Marketer briefed. But, when you say ‘creative agencies’, is it fair to assume that their core focus is developing awareness through mass media based ideas? And from this you develop activation campaigns?

If so, perhaps instead of looking at agencies calling themselves creative agencies you should adopt the ‘store-back’ approach that Procter & Gamble made famous – develop campaigns that work for the shopper first and then seek to amplify through mass media. You may be surprised not only at the creative talent in agencies but that creativity is not the sole reserve of big agencies.

Martin Shellaker, Simpson Mahoney Parrock

Secret Marketer replies:

I was using the term creative agency as a catch-all for those that create brand awareness, demand generation campaigns. Most of the agencies we spoke to had fewer than 30 employees, so not the big boys. But I agree with the example used on two fronts. First, start with the customer and work back. In organisations like mine where the centre of gravity is not in marketing but manufacturing, there is a lot of ‘push’ from that side of the business without any real demonstration that they have articulated the business need in customer speak. Second, I am a huge advocate of trying something locally, and if it works, extending it across a wider market.

Follow the prize rules

Lou Cooper’s article Why the biggest prize isn’t right highlights the importance of digital media in running competitions and prize draws and the importance of the CAP Code covering promotions.

This year, Facebook changed its rules to make it easier for brands to run competitions, but only after the IPM pointed out that its previous rules were potentially in breach of the CAP Code and UK law. We worked with Facebook to make sure its rules were legal and Code compliant. 

Marketers and their agencies must get prize promotions checked for compliance of the Code by experts before embarking on prize promotions on digital media.

Becky Munday, chairman, IPM

Message in an iBeacon

Apple’s mobile microtargeting technology iBeacon ( opens up new doors for brands to target consumers. But brands need to be careful not to bombard consumers with irrelevant updates every time they enter the vicinity of the retail store. While consumers want to be notified with useful information from favourite brands, they will switch off if the messages are intrusive or irrelevant. As brands look to incorporate additional channels alongside email, it will be more important to deliver relevant messages across the right channel, at the right time to win customer loyalty in the long-term.

Simon Robinson, senior director marketing & alliances EMEA, Responsys

The gift of online retail

In response to the article re the UK leading online retail online and multichannel retailers will reap the rewards of Christmas shoppers as more Britons turn to their computers rather than the tills. Retailers must have a strong multichannel offering and a clear digital strategy, including reward opportunities, incentives and great customer service. Online is a fantastic way for all retailers to reach new customers. 

Shingo Murakami, managing director, Rakuten’s

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