Making the Promotional Pound Go Further

Two articles in the Financial Times recently caught our eye. The first one referred to the boss of Publicis who said he was frightened of being “ubered” by the digital tsunami. What did he mean? Maurice Lévy, the head of Publicis Groupe, said that “it’s the idea that you suddenly wake up to find your legacy business gone”. Companies are being ever more inventive in making their promotional budgets stretch further and this is not good news for traditional advertising agencies.

Maurice Lévy should be worried. In the same week, another article appeared in the Financial Times on the same theme, this time from Volvo. Alain Visser, Volvo’s head of marketing, said “we believe that for Volvo there are better ways to communicate our product and brand than going to motor shows.” The company has woken up to the fact that the many millions of krona spent on lavish motor shows is simply not worth it.

What is happening in consumer marketing is also happening in business-to-business marketing. The expensive exhibitions and colour ads in journals are becoming harder to justify. Astute marketers are being inventive about how they spend their promotional pounds, euros and dollars.

This thought occurred to one of our male members of staff whilst having a comfort break in a client’s facility recently. As he was pointing at the porcelain, his attention was directed to a frame on the wall in front of him. It was an advert from Toastmasters, an organisation that offers training in verbal communications. Our client clearly thought it could be of some use to its members of staff. A check with a female colleague, who had used the facilities in the building, confirmed that the same ad was featured in the ladies loo.

Toastmasters promotional strategy

Hats off to Toastmasters. It has found an imaginative promotional channel where its message gets our undivided attention for a couple of minutes.

We marketers shouldn’t ask for bigger and bigger budgets to get our messages across, we should find better and smarter ways of doing so.

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