Mad Men should plug their own brand

The cast of Mad Men. Picture: Contributed
The cast of Mad Men. Picture: Contributed
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There’s a lot more to marketing than product strategy. One of the industry’s biggest challenges is promoting itself, says Graeme Atha

Effective marketing is central to business growth and organisational success – so why is marketing not always regarded as a serious business discipline, far less a profession?

Elaine C Smith in the Let's Talk About Breasts campaign

Elaine C Smith in the Let's Talk About Breasts campaign

“It’s only a marketing thing,” is a term that is often heard when referring to some dubious sales promotion idea.

The problem might be down to definition. Marketing is the strategic process that makes sure the right product is effectively promoted in the right place at the right price – the four Ps of product, promotion, place and price, with “right” being defined by the market opportunity.

Too often marketing is regarded as only the promotional aspect of the process and as a tactical, short-term cost and not a long-term investment.

The Marketing Society promotes the value of marketing. It is a not-for-profit membership organisation with a mission to inspire bolder marketing leadership. Members range from graduates to business leaders. Founded in London more than 50 years ago, it has a vision to become the leading global network of marketers and this year it is planning events across the world from Brazil to China.

Active and engaged community

In Scotland, The Marketing Society has a very active and engaged community promoting a better understanding and appreciation of marketing from the classroom to the boardroom.

Schools have a role to play in promoting a career in marketing as an opportunity to make a valuable contribution to society. Not only does effective marketing help create and protect jobs but it can also promote healthier lifestyles and social causes. For example, at The Marketing Society Star Awards this year, one of the most successful campaigns led to a 50 per cent increase in woman seeing their GP with breast cancer symptoms.

Marketing is part art, part science, part logic, part magic and, therefore, provides very stimulating and rewarding career opportunities.

The discipline is also being taken more seriously in the boardroom with an increasing number of chief executives coming from a marketing background. Malcolm Roughead at VisitScotland is an example.

As a country, Scotland has a reputation for creativity and innovation. This, together with a history of great economic and enlightened thinkers, helps us to promote Scotland as a great place to study, work and invest in marketing.

Manifesto for Marketing

The Marketing Society will launch a new Manifesto for Marketing at the Edinburgh Festival at an event branded “Amplify – a day at the festival to shout about marketing ” on 19 August.

The Manifesto provides a revised definition of marketing – “to create sustainable growth by understanding, anticipating and satisfying customer need” – and recognises the need for marketing to evolve as trust in organisations and their leaders continues to fall in a digital and increasingly socially-aware age.

The Manifesto outlines three challenges for marketers:

• Pursue your purpose – define your organisation’s purpose with a focus on sustainable growth and a positive legacy.

• Champion customers – anticipate customer needs, shape their experience and be creative in their engagement .

• Mobilise the organisation – collaborate with colleagues bringing the voice of the customer to the boardroom and quantify the cost and value of marketing.

There will also be events at Amplify open to non-members and non marketers. Sarah Speake, UK marketing director of Google, will introduce a session where inspiring marketing ideas from across the world will be presented by a panel of international judges.

Case studies range from Procter & Gamble’s “Proud Sponsors of Mums” campaign linked to its 2012 London Olympics sponsorship, to a campaign to keep a local library open in Detroit.

At the centre of all the campaigns is a “big idea” – an expression often attributed to David Ogilvy, a proud Scot, educated in Edinburgh, who became one of the most famous names in marketing across the world as he built the global advertising agency network Ogilvy & Mather.

He will be honoured by the Ogilvy Lecture, delivered by Ellis Watson, CEO of DC Thomson. He will be introduced by Rory Sutherland, vice chair of the Ogilvy Group UK and one of the most respected minds in marketing.

Mr Ogilvy was known as the King of Madison Avenue and following the Ogilvy Lecture there will be a Mad Men drinks reception and an opportunity to meet the movers and shakers of marketing over cocktails.

Ampify is open to all to attend, with non-members and non-marketers encouraged to gain a greater appreciation of marketing – because one of the biggest challenges the discipline still faces is the marketing of marketing itself.

• Graeme Atha is director of The Marketing Society Scotland. Amplify takes place on 19 August. Full details at

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