M&S chief outlines digital-first strategy after profits plummet
Marks & Spencer (M&S) is gearing up for a digital-first future, after its revealed on Wednesday (23 May) that profits had dropped a massive 62.1% to £66.8m compared to the previous year. A day earlier, the struggling retailer confirmed it will close more than 100 stores over the next four years. Ouch.
Chief executive Steve Rowe says as a business M&S hasn’t been agile enough – at a press briefing earlier in the week he described it as bureaucratic, too slow and too cumbersome – and said an accelerated change of pace is needed if the business is going to have a financially sustainable and profitable future.
Part of that involves moving at least a third of its business online. However, M&S has been slow to the digital race, meaning it will need to invest heavily – and quickly – in making sure its digital offering is as good as ecommerce retailers like Asos, which have had years to perfect the online customer experience.
Rowe knows there’s a long road ahead. If it were a marathon, he said, M&S would be at around mile three or four.
“We have to remember this is the scale of the journey we are on if we are to truly make M&S special again,” he added.
Bye bye, Tesco Direct
Tesco’s non-food website Tesco Direct will shut up shop in July – part of the supermarket’s efforts to simplify the customer experience and establish a more sustainable non-food offer.
Tesco said the loss-making business, which was launched in 2006 to take on Amazon, had faced a number of significant challenges – including high advertising costs – that had contributed to its closure. Approximately 500 jobs are at risk, mostly at its Fenny Lock fulfilment centre.
Charles Wilson, CEO of Tesco UK & ROI, said it was a “difficult decision” but an “essential step” to growing the business for the future.
Tesco will now begin the mammoth task of moving general merchandise, clothing and groceries to a single online platform, so customers will be able to buy homeware and toys through Tesco.com.
It will be interesting to see how the transition goes, how long it will take, how the finished website compares to the competition (see Sainsbury’s) and, importantly, whether it will have any impact on sales across the business.
Just Eat appoints former EasyJet marketer as first chief customer officer
Just Eat has appointed former EasyJet chief commercial officer Peter Duffy as its first chief customer officer, just two days after news broke that CMO Barnaby Dawe was stepping down after three years with the business.
Duffy will join the online food delivery company on 4 June after leaving his role at the budget airline in January, the victim of a management shake-up which saw his role axed by new EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren.
Just Eat has given no explanation for the creation of the chief customer officer role, although there has been a reshuffle of the executive team since the appointment of former Moneysupermarket.com boss Peter Plumb as CEO last September.
It is fair to say Duffy has big shoes to fill. In a statement reflecting on the departure of its CMO, Just Eat described Barnaby Dawe as the man responsible for “transforming” the brand’s approach to marketing and enabling it to become a “category-leading company”.
Upon joining the business in 2015 Dawe embarked on a total rebrand, positioning Just Eat as a service for multiple “food occasions” that go beyond a Friday night takeaway. The former CMO is also responsible for signing Just Eat’s £30m multi-year sponsorship of ITV’s X Factor, bringing the food ordering brand to a mainstream Saturday night TV audience.
Describing himself as “unafraid of change” in an interview with Marketing Week earlier this year, Dawe explained that his desire to work in a digital pure-play environment, where brand, content, data and technology were all part of a single strategy made, Just Eat such a good fit.
BBC ignites creative spark while Lidl champions kids in World Cup campaigns
Just a few weeks out from the FIFA World Cup kick off in Russia and brands are finally beginning to tout their campaigns.
BBC ignited its creative spark, by producing an ad made entirely from individually embroidered tapestry. It’s the most intricate and creative campaign unveiled by any brand so far.
Lidl on the other hand, has chosen to celebrate its three-year partnership with England’s national football team, revealing its ‘Dream Big’ campaign featuring children imparting their football knowledge to England players.
Despite using a generic idea, the campaign aims to combine the supermarket’s backing of the England team with Lidl’s grassroots initiative ‘FA Lidl Skills’, which has created three million opportunities for kids aged five to 11 to play football during the last three years.
And the mock press conference certainly saves it.
As part of the concept, FA Lidl Skills children have been unveiled as part of Gareth Southgate’s ‘new’ team in a pretend press conference video created by CSM Sport & Entertainment. The video shows the kids replicating moments their senior counterparts will face, from boarding the plane to Russia, to facing major on-pitch moments.
Channel 4 must ensure it avoids another awkward withdrawal from diversity award
Channel 4’s annual diversity award offers £1m of free airtime to the winner, but that wasn’t enough for car manufacturer Volvo which won in 2017 awards only to withdraw its entry claiming it had not signed off on its agency’s final pitch.
However, Channel 4’s head of agency and client sales and commercial marketing, Matt Salmon, says the broadcaster will ensure it urges brands to work closely with their agency to avoid a similar blunder this time around.
At a breakfast briefing earlier this week (22 May), the broadcaster said the theme for 2018 is changing the portrayal of women in advertising.
Unequal pay, female stereotypes and the sexualisation of women are three key areas Channel 4 is encouraging brands to address. And it’s perfect timing considering the recent #MeToo movement and talk about gender pay gaps.
The sexualised woman, care giver or domestic provider, seen so often in advertising campaigns, should be put to rest as Salmon says the winning campaign will be “a beacon for the issue, an idea that calls out the challenges and makes a really positive statement to our audiences”.
The network is also calling for entrants to be “edgy” and “brave”.