Latest magazine houses mélange of glorious marketing delights

The November/December edition of NZ Marketing magazine is out. And, as you’d expect from a title with such a name, it’s filled to the brim with what experts refer to as ‘essential marketing intelligence’, including the cover feature/call-to-arms that was written by three academics from the University of Waikato who detail why they feel the discipline is currently suffering from a ‘worldwide identity crisis’.

The writers believe marketing is sick, marketers are failing to exert influence in the boardroom and the strategic roots of the discipline are being eroded by a penchant for promotion. CAANZ chief executive Rick Osborne and the NZMA’s chief executive Sue McCarty both know there is plenty of work to be done before communications agencies are valued as key strategic partners. And they both agree, in part, with some of the assertions. But much like the relationship between agencies and clients, a definite tension exists between academics and marketing practitioners, so the theories (and the prescription) are sure to spark some debate in the industry, as evidenced by the response of Fonterra’s Gillian Munnik, who doesn’t feel it’s a doomsday scenario and thinks the marketing mindset has colonised every discipline of business. For her, as long as the world view that dominates the top-table thinking is a customer-centric one, she says marketing’s influence prevails.

Speaking of influence, New Zealand loves nothing more than performing above our station (our per capita use of the term ‘punching above our weight’ is surely off the charts). And, judging by the number of international awards Kiwi agencies have won and the international reputation the country has earned as an incubator of creative genius, advertising is also a definite strong point. Colenso BBDO’s executive creative director Nick Worthington has a few theories about why this might be the case. And, interestingly, the big-shot Londoners who once advised him not to stay in New Zealand for longer than two years, lest he slide into advertising obscurity, are now asking him how Kiwis manage to come up with—and, perhaps more importantly, execute—these big, game-changing ideas. It may be slightly overblown, but, as he says in this rare appearance in print, perception is reality.

The battle of the beers always heats up over summer, and it’s certain to heat up further in the lead-up to the World Cup, so we decided to delve into the always competitive, increasingly restricted but usually rather entertaining realm of beer marketing. Changing beverage tastes in New Zealand are eating into beer’s volume share and all the growth in the sector is currently with premium, craft beers and ‘healthy’ varieites, but there is still plenty of latent love for mainstream varieties and, with events like the recent relaunch of DB Export, there’s no shortage of captivating big brand battles between Lion Nathan, DB and, increasingly, Independent Liquor.

Of course, there are plenty of other treats featured in this issue, including a profile of TVNZ’s new sales and marketing man Paul Maher (who indicates his desire for higher TVNZ honours), a comprehensive run down on the state of the market research industry*, a gripping yarn about the newly rejuvenated—and very optimisitic—out-of-home industry, some handy online Christmas advice from Google, a guide on how to dip your toes in the social media water, a legal guide to the Rugby World Cup and two new regular columns that will be dedicated to all things branding and direct.

If you haven’t got a copy yet, you can sign up for 2011 here.

Speaking of magazines, the pro-magazine campaign created by Y&R New York to promote the medium in the US will soon be coming to an end and it deserves some praise. The most recent Nielsen figures in New Zealand (as well as stories like ‘The Web is Dead‘, which surmises that online content isn’t all it’s cracked up to be) seem to back the campaign’s assertions up. And now we wait patiently for the long-awaited trade campaign from the MPA, which decided the approach used in the US wasn’t quite right for the New Zealand market.

*In the market research story, we featured the winners of the Market Research Society of New Zealand’s awards. In the TVNZ media and Advertising category we attributed a gold medal that was won for Frucor’s ‘Mizone: finding your edge’ project to The Nielsen company, when it was actually won by The Research Agency. We also called Prof Richard Brookes the convenor of judges when he was in fact chief judge. The convenor was Winifred Henderson of Prime Research. We apologise for the errors.

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