Magazine article Marketing

Mark Kleinman on Marketing and the City: Look for the Silver Lining

Magazine article Marketing

Mark Kleinman on Marketing and the City: Look for the Silver Lining

Article excerpt

None of us has a magic wand to fix the economy quickly, but there are still grounds for optimism.

Most British business leaders could not have bid farewell to 2009 with any greater zeal. Most senior marketers, I suspect, will have shared that sentiment.

In terms of the 'big-picture' economic outlook, at least superficially, there seem to be few reasons to view the prospects for 2010 with more relish.

The dire state of public finances will be fully exposed once the general election is out of the way. Whichever party ends up in power, some post-election realism will be urgently required to address the record level (for peacetime, at least) of government borrowing.

Even though last week's glut of trading updates from big high-street names reflected a decent Christmas trading period, there remain reasons to be cautious. The reinstatement of VAT at 17.5%, for example, may dampen any enthusiasm among consumers to keep spending into the new year.

The general economic indicators continue to underline the need to rein in any inclination toward bullishness among those analysts who believe that last year's rebound in the FTSE 100 reflected growing cause for optimism.

Unemployment will continue to rise, and interest rates will inevitably have to begin creeping upward if the Bank of England is to keep a lid on inflationary pressures. That's going to heap more pressure on marketers who will find themselves battling for smaller chunks of consumer spending as households attempt to further rein in their debts.

Even so, it seems unduly pessimistic to begin 2010 focused entirely on the factors hindering our ailing economy, and so I have picked a handful of organisations, chief executives and senior marketers for whom this year may represent a turning point - or at the very least a moment of truth.

Bart Becht has a big year ahead of him. The chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Cillit Bang and Dettol, may well find himself tempted to make a major acquisition. The likes of Colgate-Palmolive will be at, or near, the top of his shopping list, and Reckitt's industry-leading margins and exceptional brand management mean such a mega-deal would catapult the company into the genuine top ranks of global FMCG manufacturers.

Phil Rumbol is another FMCG marketer who will be in the spotlight Lauded over the past couple of years for campaigns that made Cadbury Dairy Milk the talk of the industry, he would be entitled to have mixed feelings about the takeover battle shaping up for his employer. …

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