The Train to Strawberry Hill
By Hugh Burkitt, Chief Executive, The Marketing Society, UK
Stephen King’s definition of “Real Marketing” and his picture of the ideal marketer remain entirely contemporary. But my answers to the questions he poses about marketing – Has Marketing Failed, or was it Never Really Tried? – are more positive.
Then and Now
Stephen’s concern about the grim marketing performance of many British manufacturing companies in the 1970s and 1980s is understandable. British Leyland sold what it could make in the brief periods when it was not on strike. Unfortunately this was a line of dodgy motors that broke down more often than Japanese ones. It is not surprising to find 20 years later that Toyota is the biggest car company in the world and British Leyland’s successor – Rover, despite regular government bungs – has gone bust.
But since the mid-1980s, the British economy has been through an astonishing transformation. Then, three million people were out of work and our manufacturing exports were in free fall. Instead, we have been through an unprecedented export boom, we have the fifth largest economy in the world and we are drawing in armies of energetic young workers from the new EU countries of the old eastern bloc.
Our dark satanic mills have become fashionable offices and luxury apartments in the knowledge based economy. The former headquarters of the National Coal Board is the home of Britain’s leading hedge fund. We make our national living by moving ...