Direct marketers need to be bold

Love her or loathe her, and the balance between the two camps seems to be as pronounced after her death as it was when she was alive, it is impossible to argue that Margaret Thatcher was not a bold politician.

Russell Parsons

It is a trait marketers would be wise to adopt. The latest Bellwether report found that marketing budgets have been set higher for the coming financial year than they have for more than two years.

The quarterly survey of 300 senior marketers from the UK’s top companies, a respected barometer of confidence in the industry, found 36 per cent setting budgets higher for 2013/14 compared to 23 per cent reducing spend. The net balance of 13 per cent is the highest since the first quarter of 2011.

Those indicating they were planning to spend more appear to have been spurred by increased confidence in their own company’s prospects.

Direct marketers, and the companies they work for need to be bold. The economy is likely to see only modest growth in 2013 so UK plc needs to invest to grow. Marketing is ultimately a revenue generator so in the absence of a silver bullet cure from The Treasury, marketers need to shout loudly and continue to set budgets higher.

It could be argued Google was being bold last week when it became the first major company to launch a tool for users to decide what happens to their email, blog and social network data after they die.

Bold because in launching the service Google is looking to stay ahead of proposed changes to the EU Data Protection Regulation, which includes clauses on giving consumers a “right to be forgotten”.

A smart move. The more willingness brands show to meeting the requirements detailed in the proposals the more likely they and their trade body representatives will get a sympathetic hearing when the details of the legislation are being ironed out in the coming months. Brands need to stop wingeing and show they are taking concerns over data privacy seriously.



Brand audit: Starbucks

Rosie Baker

Starbucks’ decision to join the suspended coffee charity movement has been slammed by critics as a cynical attempt to rebuild its damaged brand in the wake of accusations of tax avoidance last year. Whatever the motivation, the brand is gradually recovering its reputation, according to brand tracking measures, but still has a long way to go to fully recover.


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