Marketers in a Sweet Shop – Part 2

If there was an oath for marketers it could take many forms, indeed it could very well end up resembling the US Declaration of Independence or the Magna Carta such are the number of “truths we hold to be self-evident”.

And though all men (and women) are created equal, the same cannot be said for the plethora of marketing tools/fads/must do’s that have sprung up over the last decade. Much like the “good old days” marketing (on the surface) was such a simple topic.

As the world industrialised and then moved from one World War to another, the process of marketing reflected the approach of the world.

We had radio and TV, exotic food and goods arriving from all corners of the globe and in many ways we had choices to make. So the mass marketing approach of the 50’s and 60’s replaced the personal and localised shopping experience of earlier consumer days. In an instant messages were beamed into the TV room, mercilessly catchy tunes and tales of better lives lived elsewhere buried themselves into our conscious and unconscious. Messages indiscriminately picking off each and every person within 20 yards of a TV, newspaper or billboard…whether they needed to know or not. One message aimed squarely at the purchaser, in the hope that said purchaser (or their dependents) would see that message and take action. Who cares if the message is being seen by 90% of non-relevant folks, this is advertising and we are ad men.

Things changed and it became clear that this mass approach needed refining, too much of that message, which was now getting very expensive to produce, was being missed. The solution? Mass marketing dropped through letter boxes based on “scientific data” of the type of people who lived in that house…or rather the area.

In the meantime the computer, the internet and all manner of technological advances was placing more and more tools into the hands of marketers. Tools and data, channels and devices all designed for entertainment and to ease our lives, whether domestic or work, these systems, devices and channels gave marketers the opportunity to create “content”. In other words create adverts, some subtle some not, designed to appeal directly to the person at the end of the machine or feed. And each passing day brings another version/variation of the last. With it comes the questions, which one, why this, why that…followed by the inevitable recommendations from contacts, friends and sales people to use a different version than the one you’ve been using.

Plus, there is that rather large number shaped elephant in the room….reports. As my previous blog on Marketers in a Sweet Shop set out we are currently drowning under analytics and reports. Systems in 2014 can report on every click, every movement of a mouse. Your smartphone can report on every step taken, where you’ve been, what you’ve done and who you’ve done it with. All of that kind of information should be (and is) fabulous information for clever marketers.

We can create and design marketing campaigns to thousands of people that are each personalised to their predicted likes and behaviours. We can produce reports so packed with stats that they require another football pitch worth of precious Amazon jungle to be cut down.

I like to look back on the fundamentals in this era of drowning in numbers. Two truths remain self-evident, and should do for all marketers. The first is, personal service (and this applies to your marketing) is something we all crave – speak to me about things I like, understand and enjoy and we can continue conversations. The second is this, there is only really one number we as marketers should be looking at and that is sales. Produce all the analytics you wish, but make sure the focus remains on sales.

So if we were creating an oath for marketing perhaps it’s this…that all men and women are unique and require the same level of care, but let’s identify the profitable ones quickly.

Simon Brooke is a Director and creative thinker at Happy Creative, a strategic marketing and creative branding agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to or @Happy_Creative


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Marketers in a Sweet Shop – Part 2
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