Archive for February, 2013
It might as well be titled ‘Nearly Everything You Think You Know About Marketing Is Wrong’. It certainly doesn’t hold back from asserting that when it comes to marketing theory, we’ve all got the wrong end of the stick. To be fair, there’s some great sense-checks in there about target audience, reminding us that a small proportion of your brand’s customers will be proper brand loyalists, or will fit your carefully constructed demographic and attitudinal profile, the rest might well be buying shampoo/cola/crisps with very little consideration and even less loyalty.
But that’s my problem with the book – it works best for FMCG brands operating in a hypothetical, academic, textbook marketplace. Quite how the ‘laws’ in the book would work with my recruiting-volunteers-for-clinical-trials client from last year I’m not sure…
So I’d prefer to go with a title like ‘Some Of The Stuff You Assume About Marketing Certain Products In Particular Markets Should Maybe Be Re-evaluated’. But it’s still worth a read, especially if you have to write an effectiveness paper in the near future.
I’ve experienced the Magic Fairy Dust problem quite a few times, particularly as a freelance. You get asked to work on a project, but quickly realise that there’s no actual role for you and no real problem for you to solve – they just want some Magic Fairy Dust sprinkling on the whole thing and have come to believe that Planners possess pitch-winning, client-retaining special powers that will somehow make everything better. No pressure then.
The broader problem seems to me to be that with an Account Planner’s role being so unhelpfully titled, open to so many interpretations and properly understood by so few, it’s very hard for someone who doesn’t work regularly with Planners to understand exactly how and where we might add value. Particularly when there’s nothing to work from (research, market intelligence, competitor review, anything) and no time or budget with which to go insight hunting.
In an emergency I can post-rationalise a strategy into the finished creative if I have to or write a pitch doc in 3 hours flat but I can’t magic up slides out of nothing – real-life example: agency: “we need some more pitch slides”, me: “about what?, the client has specified the target audience, key messages, proposition, strapline and look and feel in the brief, this is practically an artwork job”, agency: “just slides, with Planning on them!”.
I’ve said before that one of the biggest challenges Planning professionals face is educating the half of our industry that doesn’t employ Planners about what we do and why we do it. Mind you, I’ve met a few agency bosses who actually do employ Planners and are still a bit hazy about what they do all day…
The lovely Andreea from LSU asked me to come down and share my thoughts with everyone on practical day-to-day stuff like building client relationships. So I did the whole talk-with-Q&A thing (without powerpoint!).
doing my thing – if I look a bit knackered, it’s because I was up at 4 to catch the London train (pic by @LSUsocial)
I think I got as much out of the day as the proper delegates did – who would turn down the opportunity to hear from effectiveness guru Andy Nairn (who managed to explain Econometrics in less than 30secs with only a flipchart), to soak up Russell Davies’ thoughts on Working with Creatives and Presentation Skills, to get the inside track on the insight process behind the new (and local to me) Trinity Leeds development from Canvas8’s Nick Morris and listen to top Planning headhunter Nick Grime’s thoughts on Career Paths for Planners.
There are plans for another 1up already in the pipeline and I’d highly recommend it for anyone in their first few years of a strategy, planning or insight career. LSU also talked about the potential for a session aimed at more senior planners and I’m already working out how to wangle a ticket for it :)
Aaaaand, as if cracking the decades-old problem of appropriate training for Planners wasn’t enough, LSU have also just published a Strategist’s Handbook, full of handy hints and charts to get your thinking started – you can buy yours here.
The last ever issue of Research magazine landed on my doormat this morning. It comes as part of my MRS membership, but will now be replaced by the Research-live website and a quarterly printed magazine that’s going to be full of big, serious thinky stuff as far as I can tell. So it probably won’t contain mid-week pick-me-ups like these cartoons from this issue’s piece on why insight doesn’t always cut through to influence strategic marketing:
There’s been a bit of a slew of negative posts from me recently, but this is an upbeat one. It’s been around for a few weeks, but the new Butlins campaign by Now is lovely, bigging up their heritage in family holidays that delight all the family and even resurrecting their original (Shakespeare inspired no less) mission statement that was literally built into Billy Butlin’s holiday camps.
It might not be the snappiest line ever, but I rather like it.
pic from here