Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is the recession ending? Will we have a “double dip” or “W Shaped” recession? No-one knows for sure. So what do we do now? The best guess for 2010 is that markets will remain broadly flat and so growth will only come from share gains and NPD. Inflation will only help if you are a retailer it seems, but few producer prices will have any headroom. Budgets and resources are of course under pressure, so Marketers need to innovate efficiently, and get back to basics. In doing so there is an opportunity for the marketing function to resurrect its reputation. I heard my ex-Mars colleague Martin Glenn (now Birds Eye Iglo CEO) speak at the Marketing Week Live conference in July and he talked about how Marketing doesn’t get internal or external respect, and we have to earn it back. He advocates a “back to the future” common sense approach, based on long term trends like provenance, healthy eating, and convenience, but balanced with “Thrift” – both as a consumer trend and a corporate behaviour. We have the opportunity as marketers to design, develop, and communicate more worthwhile products, and to earn back some trust from the wider community. As I’ve said before, consumers don’t just go for cheaper products in a recession-premium and economy segments are both growing; Martin confirmed this with news of Bird’s Eye growth in both “Baked to Perfection” (£3.99) and “Arctic Roll” (99p). It’s clarity of value that we need to deliver to consumers, and they will scrutinise every offer and communications claim more carefully than ever. Prices may be low but the bar is higher than ever.



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