OPINION: MILLS ON MARKETING

There are many basic ways to measure the success of a brand: rising sales; rising profitability; accelerating rate of expansion without dilution; and the ability to sustain premium prices without discounting (ie no ’two-for-one’ offers).

There are many basic ways to measure the success of a brand: rising

sales; rising profitability; accelerating rate of expansion without

dilution; and the ability to sustain premium prices without discounting

(ie no ’two-for-one’ offers).



All of these things apply to Pizza Express, which last week announced

stunning half-year results. But the measure I like best is one you will

never see in an annual report. This is the so-called ’house price’

effect: apparently, whenever Pizza Express opens a new restaurant, house

prices in the area immediately rise by about 5 per cent.



Now I scarcely dare raise such a heretical subject in Campaign, but the

interesting thing about Pizza Express is that it doesn’t advertise.

That’s zip, not at all, not even to recruit staff, whose numbers have

increased eightfold in five years.



That is not to say that Pizza Express doesn’t have a marketing strategy.

It does, but it is based on two rather old-fashioned and sequential

concepts: consistency of product allied to quality service, leading to

word-of-mouth recommendation. This you can only achieve through rigorous

attention to operational detail. In addition, it has an in-house

magazine (available only in restaurants) and a loyalty club, with

membership of a few thousand.



The other notable point is that Pizza Express has resisted the

temptation to fiddle with its offering. The basic menu and concept has

remained unchanged and gimmick-free for 33 years. It has, in the words

of the business proverb, ’stuck to its knitting’. The point here is not

that everyone can be like Pizza Express - nor is it to criticise the

likes of McDonald’s or Pizza Hut for using advertising. But managements,

especially those in service industries, should note that constant

attention to details such as service and quality can be a better

investment than a few million pounds of advertising.



Honestly, it’s not just because my colleague, Simon Marquis, has landed

a big job at Zenith (no, really), but I’ve taken to reading the job ads

recently. It’s been an unhappy experience: they leave me feeling

inadequate, a cork bobbing helplessly in a sea of marketing jargon.



Two recent ads asked for ’channel marketers’, but failed to explain how

a ’channel marketer’ was different from any other kind of marketer. One

wanted an ’offensive marketing expert’, a familiar but ambiguous term.

Is that offensive as in the opposite of inoffensive or defensive? And

anyway, what’s wrong with a bit of inoffensive marketing?



The most puzzling ad claimed that a client, unnamed, was

’charismatically changing the course of a service-oriented environment’,

which is, to put it politely, an interesting use of English. Two others

demanded candidates who could ’think outside the box’. Along with

’pushing the envelope’, this must be the most tired cliche in the

business.



Clients obviously want to hire straight-thinking, smart, innovative

marketers.



How they think they can achieve this by using language that is anything

but beats me.



Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off the inaugural issue of Campaign's monthly print offering than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).