Task No 1 For Business – Reinvent Marketing & Advertising

Hopefully lessons will been learned from the crisis, do not try to rebuild business on the principle that Marketing & Advertising are always right!The words “60% of all advertising, globally is wasted” were splashed yesterday across the marketing papers. This kind of unanimity in the trade press is not coincidental – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” the advertising community do-nothing mentality was taken to its logical extreme by the preparation of $3 million ads for the Super Bowl by doltish advertising agencies apparently totally unaware that they are all well past their sell by date.To have any hope of repairing the damage left behind by the highly dishonest and incompetent banks, big business must first convince the majority of the population that they are really capable of fixing the problems.. Not only are we trapped in the worst recession in living memory. but behind all this lurks a horror even more shocking; the entire marketing/advertising-economic model of free enterprise, rugged individualism, creative advertising and marketing is broken beyond all hope of repair.Marketing/Advertising on which the Western world built its seeming success seems to have completely broken down. How else can one describe a situation in which all of the countries main financial institutions and many of its biggest industrial companies are effectively bankrupt and on government life-support?The crisis triggered by September’s Credit Crisis appears to have discredited many of the assumptions on which our prosperity and democracy was founded. In this sense, it really is possible to compare the credit crunch, as Ed Miliband did last weekend, to the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1989 the world, from China and Russia to South Africa, India and Brazil, concluded that there was no serious alternative to market forces as a means of organising productive activity. In 2009 the whole world seems to have reached the opposite conclusion – that free markets and financial incentives together with marketing & advertising, lead even the richest and most sophisticated societies to disaster.There is, however, a crucial difference between these pivotal years and this brings us to the positive side of our message. Communism was a monolithic and inflexible system that worked against the grain of human nature and had to be brutally imposed. Capitalism, by contrast, is a constantly evolving and organic set of human relationships. It advances by trial and error and takes a myriad different forms. Thus the demise of the post-19W fundamentalist faith in market forces as the solution to all social problems now offers us all the chance to preside over a new evolution of capitalism, including Marketing & Advertising. making Advertising & Marketing into a more stable and ultimately more successful form of business. Creating this new kind of marketing & advertising will be the most important challenge to us all.But two features of this evolutionary process can already be suggested. First, it is clear that America will continue to lead the world in marketing & advertising, but also as a model of economic management.Second, we must encourage much more pragmatic thinking around the world about when Advertising & Marketing are useful and when they are useless, about the right balance between the profit motive and social objectives, and about the relative efficiency of private and public enterprises. The question we ask today is not whether Marketing & Advertising is too big or too small, but whether it works.The most important asset that we need today and in the future is not just money but a way of thinking, specifically that businesses biggest problems have to be addressed in a businesslike way in the sense of a serious focus on results, there is no advertising accountability at the moment ; understanding which advertising has had the most impact; a determination quickly to scale up solutions that work and a toughness in shutting advertising down that does-not work.Undoubtably the crisis could well be the cause of an idea whose time has come, for the new model of Marketing & Advertising that we must now invent More generally, financial.regulation and macroeconomic management will surely now recognise that naive theories about “efficient” advertising/ marketing and the highly dubious claim they spawned “advertising works” were a major cause of the entire financial disaster. It will still be capitalism, but Marketing/Advertising will not try to rebuild business on the principle that “marketing and advertising are always right”.