Magazine article Marketing

The Good, the Bad, the Indifferent and the Ugly

Magazine article Marketing

The Good, the Bad, the Indifferent and the Ugly

Article excerpt

Andy Welling considers the pros and cons of conferences with reference to TV'93. Would they be more successful if they encouraged greater audience participation and provided easy access for business talking shops?

Setting off for the recent TV'93 conference in Monte Carlo my mind was full of ideas that I planned to discuss with agencies, TV contractors and anyone else who would listen.

Flying back, with little of my intellectual luggage unpacked, I felt dissatisfied. So much remained unresolved. Over the Alps, I realised that at the heart of my disquiet lay fundamental misgivings about how so-called media and advertising 'conferences' structure themselves.

To start with, I don't like being classified as an 'advertiser' (or even a 'client'). This one-sided phraseology seems to trivialise what large companies who use television as one part of a range of complex economic activity are all about. TV companies who talk this way betray a lack of understanding about how organisations, such as Commercial Union, which trade daily and vigorously in competitive markets, feel about those who, until recently, enjoyed a virtual airtime monopoly.

Also suffering from a different identity problem in Monte Carlo were a couple of trade exhibitors with their displays just outside the auditorium. They were so sparsely represented, the exhibitors were in a no-win situation and lacked the critical volume to catch the collective ear. Exhibitions at conferences should either be done well or not at all, for to do it badly creates an unwanted atmosphere of low interest.

And a low level of interest is less likely to lead to sales. I work in an industry famous for having to sell its products. I expect to be sold to. Being sold to is a way of gathering information and I don't object to it; I enjoy it. Full marks then to the ITV sales director who well in advance took the trouble to arrange a meeting with me for the first night.

But, I have to say that during my entire stay I received not a single fresh approach. Perhaps, business for the salesmen is that good. Of course, I realise that many agencies are protective of their clients and that contractors poaching of client's time might be considered bad form.

Let me be clear, I am not inviting a high pressure sales pitch over the buffet beef or hotel Heineken. …

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