INTRODUCTION TO ROAD TO RECOVERY
Miles Templeman, director-general, the Institute of Directors
Two years on from the start of the global financial meltdown seems a good time to look at the lessons for brand marketing. If there’s one comfort, it’s that the economic hurricane has not discriminated between the trees in its path – brands global, local and in-between have felt the pain.
If the past two years has taught UK plc anything, it’s that marketers need to look at the bigger economic picture and how it might influence demand for products. So he or she should be au fait with factors that can impact consumer behaviour, such as inflation and next year’s rise in VAT.
Watch out too for higher interest rates and rising unemployment. And what about exchange rates? These will be important to marketers, given that we’re all being told that the UK must export its way out of this downturn. As we at the IoD have been telling businesses around the country, brands will have to explore markets such as China and Brazil. If they don’t, they risk sluggishly moving forward in Europe while brands from other countries attempt to penetrate their home base.
Look to export, but don’t go there if your product offering is weak. There are rare examples of marketing that has sold poor products well. What marketing can do is lift a good product to be a great seller, and a great product to be a huge success.
Marketers must be obsessed with customers and not internal issues – the job of the marketer and wider management is to keep looking externally and take opportunities, even in a depressed market.
So, maintain your spend. The upswing that follows downturns offers a great opportunity to market in an environment of less noise, when others cut back.
As these essays show, you can do more with less. It’s a huge challenge, but a chance to shine, too.
The Client/agency view
JWT UK’s Guy Hayward on a blueprint for the truly integrated agency
Social v search
The pros and cons of search versus social, by EHS 4D’s Craig Walmsley
TBCH‘s Steve Grout spotlights the brands that engage with consumers
Where database marketing and social media meet, by Acxiom’s Steve Plimsoll
Black Sun’s Richard Dixon reveals how brands can win loyalty cost-effectively using content as the lure
Direct mail is winning fans in the online world, says OnePost’s Graham Cooper
Sage’s David Beard on the value of CRM in the business-to-business world