The Marketeer Association
Around this time of year in 1964, I joined my first agency. That is when I first heard the regions complaining of the big clients going to London. In 1964 it was TV that was responsible for this move. All the production was in Soho, Alan Brady left Osborne Research (McCann’s) with the Cussons account; he was our TV producer. I remember when the Halifax account was handled in Leeds and YTB created Asda Price.
So what! During that period many talented people have tried to redress the balance. Some individuals succeeded. Cogent shone brilliantly in the late 70s, the big three in Manchester continue to prosper, new companies like Attik in Huddersfield took the new media opportunity and more recently the media independents have grown spectacularly. Clever people like Paul Carroll built and sold Communique.
The constant in that period has always been clients. They make the decisions and they always do what is ultimately right for them, in their opinion. As one client once put it, “I once thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken.”
We argue that they are scared and have an inability to recognise talent and great work. They say they don’t know us, we don’t promote ourselves and there is a lack of strategic planning. Whatever they say, they are RIGHT.
It is our job to change history. But why should the Marketeer Association succeed where others have failed?
There are three very good reasons.
First, we have Adline behind us. I am not being sycophantic, but at last we have one voice than can campaign and will campaign. Adline can be our champion, if you like. The magazine provides a window through which clients can look. The magazine can control the agenda by inclusion and exclusion, tone of voice, editorial policy, and so on. Adline created the opportunity to celebrate the industry in the North, through the Roses Advertising Award, the Roses Design Awards, the 30 Under 30, the Adline Advertising Business of the Year, Top 100 firms, and so on.
That said, the key to this is that Adline must strengthen its client readership, our prospects, further to grow its readership. That is in all our mutual interests.
The second reason we can succeed in achieving our goals is that already we have gathered together a highly motivated group of people, people who have been prepared to “put up or shut up”. At last we have gathered a group that realises that one for all and all for one is the way forward for our industry. Grow that market as a whole and we will all have our individual victories.
Thirdly, our industry is changing. The marketplace is less about critical mass and geography and more about expertise and delivery. The internet changed the landscape in just as dramatic a way as radio, cinema and TV did in their eras. The people gathered here tonight are new people with new skills and a different perspective learning to exploit the future.
So what do I, the chairman of the Marketeer Association, think we need to achieve our goals?
First, we need to champion our industry and create a campaign. Let’s show the clients what they are missing out on; let’s create a marketing campaign that blows their socks off. And we can do that.
Imagine what we could achieve if we pool our expertise. I get excited just thinking about it; the Marketeer Association, the best young, dynamic, ambitious companies across planning, design, research, media, creative. Wow!
We also need to think national but act local. We need to think city, not region. We need chapters in all the major cities, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Newcastle, Liverpool, and so on. Why? Because each marketplace is unique, a centre of excellence. Manchester is the biggest, Liverpool is small, but has just won the pool with the European Capital of Culture, Bristol is emerging. We need local campaigns and local victories.
Thirdly, I think we need partnerships. Primarily, these should be with client-focused organisations, such as the Chambers of Commerce, the CBI, the Institute of Directors, the RDA, the Government, CIM and the Marketing Society. Also, we need partnerships with the industry bodies, such as the IPA and the DMA, and others.
We need events that bring clients and agencies together – like the Marketing Forum we are working on at the moment. We need events that facilitate contact and shared learning and celebrate our skills and achievements.
So, what is my role in all of this?
I will offer the association leadership and be a focal point of its intentions and goals. I will drive recruitment and seek out new members who can add something to what we already have. I will involve and maximise the membership’s talents and I will listen to what each member has to say.
I will make sure that our profile is raised outwith Adline and I will interface with clients on behalf of the association, so that they are aware of what we are aiming to achieve.
I will maintain the standards of the association and change the language that we use to talk about our industry. No more of this “we need to try harder”, “be hungrier, grittier”. We are fantastic fun to work with and we are cost effective. No more “we have staggering talent waiting to be exploited”. It is demeaning and insulting to us.
Unless we do what we have suggested, then you will all be sitting here in 2042 saying, “What’s that all been about?”