Magazine article Marketing

Overconfident, Overpaid - but Undereducated

Magazine article Marketing

Overconfident, Overpaid - but Undereducated

Article excerpt

Here's how you presented the ads 37 years ago when I wrote copy for Imperial Leather. You read them to the sister of the firm's boss then showed her the layouts. You did it bolt upright on a small, uncomfortable chair in a little room. If you were lucky she OK'ed them.

It worked, too. More people buy Imperial Leather today than any other soap. But I thought the process ridiculous. I wanted to be judged by the customers, not the clients - so I went into direct marketing. But that story is the prelude for some serious comment. Despite all the hoop-la and pseudo-intellectual guff in our industry, I doubt whether many people do better today than that (very shrewd) lady did then.

Sadly, our industry media, including this magazine, too often hold up for admiration the most dreadful people, whose chief skills are adroit self-promotion and polysyllabic waffle. They float between overpaid, fancy-titled jobs before being found out. Some move so fast their misdeeds never catch up with them.

Writing rude pieces is fun, but what is the solution? The hirers are the reason phonics are hired. Education is the answer - starting at the top. How many senior directors of disasters like WH Smith or Sears understand marketing? Have they noticed that their best competitors - entrepreneurs like Branson or Murdoch, firms like Unilever or Procter & Gamble - are brilliant at it?

Effectiveness awards do much good, but are their lessons publicised in the right places? …

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