OUR PM DOESN’T KNOW THE MARKETING BASICS

Since Tony Blair, PR seems to be the main requirement for a Prime Minister.
Presumably this is how David Cameron got the job.
Before he was our Prime Minister, Cameron apparently worked in PR.
I find this quite worrying.
Because if PR, and consequently marketing, are the main requirements for the job, he obviously doesn’t know the basics.
Last week he went to China, because the UK needs to sell more goods abroad.
And China is a huge untapped market.
So Cameron went to China to try to open it up to UK industry.
So far, so good.
But what he did was to lecture the Chinese on how they need to open up their markets to goods from the West.
He gave them a lecture about how the global financial system depends on balance.
How they can‘t keep just selling to the West without buying Western goods in return.
Now it’s not smart to lecture the Chinese.
In fact it’s not smart to lecture anyone you want something from.
But particularly not the Chinese.
The concept of ‘face’ is very important to them.
They don’t respond well to lectures from people who behave as if they are their betters.
Particularly not when they come from a country less than a tenth their size.
So in judging his audience, we have to be disappointed in Cameron’s PR skills.
Okay, so how about his basic marketing knowledge?
Supposing he did persuade the Chinese to open up their market to the rest of the world.
What proportion of world trade do we suppose the UK accounts for?
2%?
Let’s be generous and call it 5%.
So, if Cameron’s speech works, we will only get 5% benefit.
In other words, for every 20 items Cameron persuades China to import, 19 of them won’t come from the UK.
Nice job, Cameron.
And that’s our PM.
That’s the bloke we paid to go to China, with a massive delegation, to create sales for UK industry.
He’s doing 95% of the job for someone else.
Our competitors in fact.
See, that’s what I meant by saying he doesn’t understand the basics of marketing.
He doesn’t understand something a simple as Market Growth v Market Share.
Consequently, Cameron’s speech was totally about Market Growth.
Market Growth is a great strategy for the USA.
Who will probably get at least 35% share of any growth in Chinese imports.
But it isn’t smart for the smaller players, like us.
We need to be increasing the size of our share.
So Cameron should have been trying to grow the UK’s share of Chinese imports.
But instead, Cameron sold Western goods, Western industry, Western services.
Not UK you notice.
Western.
Of which we have, if we’re lucky, 5%.
Of which we don’t have 95%.
So 95% of what we just paid Cameron to sell wasn’t the UK.
Would you employ someone like that?
That’s what I meant when I said he doesn’t understand the basics of marketing.
Meanwhile, France has just done the largest trade deal in its history with China.
Not by lecturing China about world economics.
Not by requiring China to open up to Western goods.
Just simply by selling French goods.
As opposed to anyone else’s.
By telling the Chinese why they should buy French goods instead of other Western goods.

The French at least know the difference between Market Growth and Market Share.

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    Yeah, god forbid he do something to help stimulate economic recovery worldwide….After all, there is no benefit to us at all if other countries economies start to recover quicker….. Idiot.

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    Hi Neil,
    So if a client asks you to launch his product you don’t do that, instead you grow the sector hoping this will benefit him in the future in some way?
    And your client will be happy to spend 95p of every advertising £ to make his competition stronger?
    Well, it’s different I’ll give you that.

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    Interesting point – however, when was the last time Cameron did ANYTHING in Britain’s interest? It is not part of his agenda…

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    I think he should try stand up next, he should be a big hit with that ability to read an audience. It would be like Frankie Boyle playing the WI, only without the jokes.

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    Hi Dave,
    I enjoy your blogs, including this one, but do you not think you are being a little short sighted with the main point you are making? Although the UK may only be responsible for around 5% of trade, the UK will benefit substantially if our closest trading partners increase exports to China.
    The health of the UK economy is so closely linked to the success of the US and Europe, that if countries in those areas significantly increase trade to China it could be of great benefit to the UK in the longer term.
    For example, the idea that the Chinese will start buying cars from the UK motor industry is pretty remote. But if they start buying Volkswagens or Fords in great numbers then there is more scope for UK based creative, manufacturing and financial services companies to win big contracts off the back of it.

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    Hi James,
    Obviously he shouldn’t sell anything we don’t make, like cars.
    But whatever ‘goods and services’ we do produce is what he should be selling.
    Rather than depending on trickle-down economics: selling our competitor’s products in the hope that when their economies improve they’ll start buying some of ours.
    This is like Cadburys selling Renaults inthe hope that their workers will have more money to buy chocolate bars.
    Maybe they will, but maybe they won’t buy Cadbury.
    So we’ve added another layer to the process.
    Selling Renault cars to consumers, then selling Cadburys chocolate bars to Renault workers.
    Call me simple, but why not just sell Cadburys chocolate bars to consumers?
    We work in advertising not economics.
    Instead of getting too clever let’s just cut out wastage in the targetting.

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    Dave perhaps ,just perhaps there was a bit more going on behind the scenes than you give our Government credit for .What is this amazing French deal you quote ?

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    Hi Martin,
    Unfortunately I don’t think there’s much going on behind or in front of the scenes.
    The French deal was quoted in the same news programme as Cameron’s lecture to China.

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    Hi Dave,
    I completely appreciate what you are saying. I am not a great advocate for the “trickle down” theory of economics and it has many flaws, some of which you have illustrated perfectly. I agree that I am not looking at this from an advertisers point of view, but then neither is David Cameron. I would hope he has thought about this strategically from an economic and political point of view, rather than from an advertising one.
    His approach seems based on the idea that if China significantly increased imports from the West, it could potentially drag the whole of the Western economy out of stagnation. I assume Cameron see’s that as more important to the UK’s future growth than winning a couple of big orders in the short term.

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    Does Britain have anything the Chinese can’t make themselves. Cheaper?

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    Hi Grilla,
    Apparently 1 in 7 designers worldwide went to UK art schools.
    So British education and creativity is something that Cameron could sell.
    But surely he’s got a team of ‘planners’ whose job it is to work out what the brief,: to tell him what we do better than anyone else.
    Rather than simply selling France, Germany, Italy and the USA and hoping we benefit somehow in the long run.

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    Just to be clear.
    We’re talking about the difference between ‘Market GROWTH’ and ‘Market SHARE’.
    If Renault have 10% of the car market, their message wouldn’t be ‘buy more cars’, because they’ll only get 10% benefit of any market growth.
    Their message should be ‘Renault is a better car’.
    That way, if their ads work, they get 100% benefit from any spend.
    They’ll increase their market share.
    If a brand doesn’t dominate the market, why would they want to grow the market for those that do?

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    Yep.
    P&G Thinking.
    heard it on Radio 4 recently:
    Two men in a room.
    No doors no windows.
    No way out.
    One man in a suit sits down and waits.
    The other goes stir crazy and starts
    bashing himself against a wall.
    He almost kills himself as the wall collapses.
    The man in the suit walks through the hole.
    They are in an identical room.
    No doors no windows.
    No way out.
    The man in a suit sits down and waits.
    The other goes stir crazy and starts
    bashing himself against a wall.
    He almost kills himself as the wall collapses.
    He’s almost dead now.
    The man in the suit walks through the hole
    created by the other man.
    and so on…