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Stephen Newton

There you making rash generalisations yourself. You report what for some is a killer question and then offer a one size fits all answer; ‘if it were to be asked of broadcast media the answer would be negative on both counts’. What nonsense. If research shows that my FMCG has a strong appeal to 18-35 ABC1s, I purchase 18-35 ABC1 TVRs. Job done.

That’s won’t be right for everyone. As media fragments it’ll be easier to define and (more importantly) reach far less broadly defined markets with better targeted communication, but there will still be times when mass broadcasting, with its great economies of scale, will be right.

james cherkoff

Thanks for your comment Stephen. I used the word 'negative' not 'no' with care. Clearly, TV has its uses but it's days of hegemony are gone. In my opinion, the use Televison Ratings and audience segmetation techniques such as ABC1, whilst useful in 1970, are almost meaningless in today's marketing landscape. Increasingly, I think people use them as a saftey blanket because they don't understand or don't want to face the real issues. They want the 'Job Done'.

Stephen Newton

So…? You’ve offered some clarity over a ‘weasel word’, but the flaw in your argument remains just the same; it’s still just as rash a generalisation. And your argument that segmentation by class is no longer relevant may have had some appeal in 1980, but is much discredited now.

Yet there is any even bigger flaw in your approach. You should fear uncontrolled messages. If a brand owner is no longer in control what’s said in the name of their brand, then their communication has lost all direction and they have been reduced to spouting gibberish.

james cherkoff

Hi Stephen, thanks for that.

You seem to be a big proponent of the old-school.

Your 'fear' of uncontrolled messages helpfully illustrates one of the reasons why traditional marketing is dying on its feet.

The idea that brand owners can control messages that are then targeted to individuals who happily absorb what they are being told went out with the ark. I would say that it this model that produces the gibberish.

Consumers now want dialogue and in some cases to co-create corporate brands. I'd refer you to an article on the blog-- the future of marketing -- which discusses a presentation made by Jim Stengel, P&G's worldwide marketing officer. Here's one quote from it:

"I believe today's marketing model is broken. We're applying antiquated thinking and work systems to a new world of possibilities."

Stephen Newton

I would be a fool to pretend that individuals will always read the intended meaning into a message, let alone always accept it. However, your response to that dilemma appears to be not to have an intended meaning at all.

Some consumers do want a dialogue with some brand owners. They will surely be most disappointed, if those brand owners are unable to respond consistently on the issues that concern them. Consistency can only be achieved by brand owners who know what they want to say and why. They may modify their position through dialogue only if they have a position to start with.

Your approach would fail on big issues like food safety, say, where the brand owner would need to take a view and defend that view. Here’s an area where a real dialogue can educate the market and build trust in the brand. But such trust would quickly disappear if the brand owner’s message on safety was compromised.

You offer some soundbites from Jim Stengel as if they support your position, but they do not. Stengel is rightly saying that the world is changing and that marketing must change too. Traditional routes to market are losing their effectiveness, he says.

But Stengel certainly doesn’t say that P&G should no longer have a message in mind when communicating with consumers.

While professional marketers already develop new products in collaboration with consumers through market research, Stengel wants to go much further than that. That’s the challenge that you, James, have failed to address.

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