M&S outlines tactical turn to boost recovery

Peter Salsbury, chief executive of Marks & Spencer, will today (Wednesday) outline his plans for the future of the company at The Marketing Society’s annual conference.

Peter Salsbury, chief executive of Marks & Spencer, will today

(Wednesday) outline his plans for the future of the company at The

Marketing Society’s annual conference.



Salsbury will tell delegates at the millennium-themed ’The Turning

Point’ event that M&S is ’experiencing its turning point now - possibly

overdue - but with a great deal of non-negotiable change’.



’Our business is our customers and we must establish a learning

relationship and a productive partnership. To react at pace, a flexible

organisation is required - so bureaucracy and hierarchy are out.’



Salsbury will make clear that M&S’s priority is the recovery of its UK

retail operation, and will detail company initiatives, including: more

sales people, store modernisation and locally tailored ranges; a better

understanding of customers, leading to targeted communications and

promotions; and improved buying for clothes and food, from both a

restructured supply chain and new ideas in sourcing and

distribution.



Commenting on the M&S brand, Salsbury will refer to an exercise called

’Clear View’. ’We are completing a total review of our brand,

researching our customers, our suppliers, our shareholders and

ourselves.



’This research has delivered some real clarity in who we are and what we

stand for. The urgent task is to share this with every single member of

the organisation.’



Separately, BT’s UK marketing director, Angus Porter, will deliver a

technology-themed speech, ’You can’.



He will explain that better ways of doing business are not limited to

enhancing current business models. ’From the marketing perspective,

there will be an increasing number of routes that customers, be they

consumers or business-to-business, will be able to access to support

purchase decisions, real-time purchase and after-care services.



’There are still those senior managers who hope they’ll have retired

before all this ’internet nonsense’ becomes a pre-requisite of the

job ... that retirement might just be a little closer than they had

planned. For the rest of us, I’d suggest that viewing the technology

revolution as an opportunity, rather than a threat, is a somewhat

smarter idea.’



Other senior speakers at the conference, held at London’s Grosvenor

House Hotel, will include: John McGrath, group CEO of Diageo; Tim Mason,

marketing director of Tesco; Carl Symon, chairman and CEO of IBM UK &

Ireland; and Chris de Lapuente, European managing director of Procter &

Gamble.



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