…The wrong end of the Hard Edge

I was interested to read Alan Mitchell’s comments on CIM’s recent paper, Hard Edged Marketing (MW October 30).

While it is important to have a healthy discussion – that is the aim of our Agenda items – I felt the piece missed the point in a couple of areas, and was a little thin on the ground when it came to alternative solutions.

The analysis of hypothetical brands A and B was absolutely correct, but it failed to grasp what the Hard Edged approach is about. The

key point is that marketers must understand the state of their product portfolio not in order to identify the “talentless dorks” in the marketing department, but to make the right decision on how to allocate future resources.

Similarly, I think the implication that the CIM is encouraging marketers to ape accountants and ignore measures such as brand equity is wide of the mark.

If anything, the Hard Edged approach preaches the opposite. It aims to persuade boards to recognise the importance of forward-looking metrics such as brand equity and integrate them in financial reporting. The whole concept of “shareholder value” is based on future potential cash flows, which are driven by marketing more than any other business activity, for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Marketers do need to be aware of the issues that matter to accountants, in order to build bridges with them, the chief executive and the boardroom. In this way, marketers can and will become more influential, respected and successful.

Perhaps your readers would like to judge for themselves by visiting shapetheagenda.com

Annabel Pritchard

Corporate affairs manager

CIM

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