Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Profile - Brand Vocalist - Amanda MacKenzie, Director, Marketing Services, BT

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Profile - Brand Vocalist - Amanda MacKenzie, Director, Marketing Services, BT

Article excerpt

Amanda MacKenzie is the flame-haired Classical songstress who orchestrates BT's nigh-on pounds 100m adspend. As the company's top marketer she is responsible for knitting together its diverse businesses into a coherent brand identity.

Her present focus is the directory enquiries market, as 192 is finally cut off this weekend after 47 years of service. Britain's biggest telco has embarked on a pounds 10m campaign by St Luke's to stem the inevitable decline in revenues that will occur by the ending of this latest monopoly.

To coin its advertising, '118500, the new 192 from BT', has to compete against more than a dozen other service providers all starting 118 Which, far from offering choice, is, according to BT, all terribly confusing for consumers.

New entrants have been advertising for months while the 118 numbers have operated in parallel with 192. 'Directory enquiries has been a marketing case history in what not to do,' says MacKenzie. 'It's a market worth relatively little being competed in an extraordinarily intensive way, with the consumer benefit yet to be seen.'

As 192's switch-off arrives, BT has begun plastering 11,000 outdoor sites with giant Post-It notes spelling out its number, and is mailing real-life Post-Its and phone stickers to five million homes. TV ads show the giant notes superimposed on landmark buildings and bridges. 'The issue for us is making sure people make a note of 118500,' says MacKenzie.

She is uncharacteristically cagey about showing the creative in advance.

For things got very intense in May when BT called in security to investigate a suspected leak in its media schedule to rival The Number, which parodied a BT 'Public Notice' ad about the number change in the same editions of the national press.

The Number, with its moustachioed 70s athletes 118 118, and Conduit's action heroes 11 88 88 (double one, double eight, double eight) are chief among those striving to trip BT up. MacKenzie reckons the market will eventually boil down to the three with One.Tel another possible contender.

BT wants at least one-third of the market it already had with 192.

Two-and-a-half years into her tenure, MacKenzie's enthusiasm for the job is in full flow. 'I feel incredibly passionate about what BT is here to do and the importance it has for the economy of this country,' she says. 'We have so many new products - Bluephone (allowing mobile phone to double up as fixed line), wi-fi (wireless internet), home networking, broadband - it's just amazing, and so much more satisfying than flogging face cream or nail varnish. The exciting thing is the competition we face and not only as the dominant player. In IT infrastructure we are the challenger brand to firms like IBM. …

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