Monthly Archives December 2013

2014 law and regulation update on sales & marketing practice

UK-based companies will face a major shake-up in how they conduct consumer sales and marketing activities over the next 12-months in the wake of a raft of new laws and regulations emanating from the UK and European Union (EU). The following is a quick guide to some of these key legal and regulatory changes and more guidance is available in Essential Law for Marketers (2nd edition).

Direct marketing and e-commerce practices

jail3A radical shake up in this area is already underway as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has signalled a number of important changes that effectively erode the reliance by marketers on an ‘opt-out’ as a strategy for driving direct marketing (DM) and e-commerce activities that may have been prevalent in 2013.

In addition, renewals and win-back strategies ...

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New Year’s Resolution: Work more productively in 2014!

You have mail2As we all struggle to get back into the swing of work, we might want to think about becoming more efficient with the use of our time, especially given the mountain of emails that appears to have accumulated whilst we’ve been ‘Out of Office’!

The problem with email is that we tend to read messages indiscriminately rather than sorting out the high priority from the low priority ones. In fact, many of us are guilty of giving all emails irrespective of their importance or urgency equal weight in terms of our attention and we tend to want to get through them as fast as possible.

Why?  Well, we’ve got into bad habits, haven’t we.

That’s why.

EisenhowerFormer US President Dwight D. Eisenhower is reported to have said “The most urgent decisions are rarely the most important ones...

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European retailers to open multi-retail and branded shopping stores in next 24 months as Indian Government relaxes FDI rules

Indian marketIndian consumers could soon be shopping in hypermarkets partly owned and managed by Western retailers as a result of the relaxation in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regulations see a surge of business interest and investment from European brand owners in 2014.

For example, it’s just been announced that British supermarket chain Tesco is the first international retailer to have its plan to invest USD 10m (GBP 67m) approved by India’s Commerce and Trade Ministry. The deal paves the way for Tesco in partnership with a Tata subsidiary to open multi-brand stores across India by taking a 50% stake in Trent Hypermarkets, which in turn operates Star Bazaar stores in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The Economic Times recently reported that the Indian Government is also examining...

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Zoroastrians are part of the Christmas Story

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the East and have come to worship him.’ ” Matthew 2:1-2.

Three Wise MenThe Three Wise Men have been written into history for following a star are as much a mystery as is exactly what it was they saw over 2,000 years ago: A mystery upon which modern day scholars and astronomers are working to shed light.

In all likelihood, these Magi were Zoroastrian priests following the star from the eastern Babylonian settlement.

Many cultures looked to the stars for direction—not just horoscope type of stuff—the wise men may have been Zoroastrians, from a culture that paid a great deal of attention to the stars—stars doing...

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Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic clamp down on blurring advertising with editorial content in 2014

weighing-scalesGiven the tendency for over-indulgence during the Festive Season it’s not surprising that some brand owners of diet plans, slimming and low fat products will think their Christmases have all come at once in the New Year as millions of us try to shake off the excesses of eating and drinking by trying to lose some weight!

Marketers may be tempted to do what Flora pro. activ (owned by Unilever) did a few years’ ago in the UK by inviting a national journalist to ‘fight the flab’ and exercise alongside a calorie controlled diet and keep a daily record of her progress.

This may sound like a great way to connect with consumers who may feel they need some encouragement to do the same.

Flora-pack-shotExcept that Unilever didn’t make it absolutely clear that what was being presented by Chris Jones was in f...

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Special message

Happy Christmas and New Year

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Lack of Christmas cheer as UK’s High Street retailers face uncertain future

Father-Christmas-looks-at-0With just two more shopping days to go before Christmas Day, there’s evidence that the UK’s high street retailers are in panic mode over generating sales as nearly 75% are holding sales or promotions in a last-ditch attempt to attract shoppers.

The average discounts rose to 46% compared with 42% last week and 44% in the same week last year, according to the accountancy firm PwC.

Today, Marks & Spencer is planning to extend 30% discounts across all its non-food product lines and has already introduced 30% reductions on its knitwear as well as beauty items, nightwear and Per Una clothing range...

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What does the future hold for marketers in 2014?

What-does-the-future-hold-fWherever you happen to live and work in the world, one thing is clear.

The outlook for 2014 is uncertain. But that shouldn’t dampen any attempt to see what the future holds for most of us next year, which is now only a few weeks’ away.

It’s easy to spot the negatives for our working future: technology has led to a world of ever-growing fragmentation where billions of people connected across the world are continuously bombarded with requests; a future where the virtual nature of nascent technology will leave many deeply isolated and craving physical relationships; a future where globalisation has created a dividing line between winners and losers; a world where the underclass has emerged which contains those not able to join the global labour markets through the accident of location or ...

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A ride to the dark side

Alex GibneyThere can be few ironies in life compared with the following story.

As a film maker in my spare time, I realise that the best laid plans can often go awry thanks to the tendency of real life events to play out in unpredictable and surprising ways.

This is exactly what happened to Oscar-winning film maker Alex Gibney when earlier this year it looked as if his world had fallen apart.

You see, Gibney was in the middle of making a documentary film, narrated by Hollywood ‘A-list’ Matt Damon, about the seven- times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and his triumphant battle against cancer to reach the pinnacle of his sport.

Except of course it was all a big lie as Armstrong shattered the illusion that he’d so carefully cultivated over a 20-year period when he gave his staged-managed ‘TV ...

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UK marketers face ‘double legal whammy’ on direct marketing activities in 2014

Gagging-DMMany marketers are ill-prepared for the impact of a raft of new regulations that will severely curtail their direct marketing (DM) activities in 2014.

Recently, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office signalled changes that marketers must implement NOW within business to consumer (B2C) marketing in order to stay within the law and these include:

  • where consent is obtained from the customer to receive DM, separate opt-in consent must also be gathered in order to send DM messages on each and every other marketing channel;
  • a higher burden of proof of customer consent is now required to be shown by marketers, irrespective of whether the marketing channel is telephone, mobile, email or automated calls;
  • marketers will now need to keep a detailed record of how and when customer consent w...
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