ISBA Conference: Ronald plays down internet as a future marketing panacea

The boss of one of the UK’s largest advertisers has warned against overhyping the role of the internet as the medium of the future.

The boss of one of the UK’s largest advertisers has warned against

overhyping the role of the internet as the medium of the future.



But Bill Ronald, the Mars Confectionery UK managing director, also

cautioned companies not to ignore what was happening online.



Fmcg manufacturers were short of good examples to follow for managing

their brands on the internet, he admitted. But he warned: ’We will have

to develop them. If we don’t, consumers will leave us behind.’



Ronald set the internet debate against what he said was a market in

which genuinely new ideas were rare while consumers’ interest in what

was going on in the world had surged.



So too had the sense of community spirit, with consumers concerned about

the performance and behaviour of brands within their communities.



Meanwhile, the children of the new millennium were primarily concerned

about the ’what’s in it for me’ appeal of a product , forcing

manufacturers to tailor their offerings and switch from broad-based

marketing approaches to narrower ones.



’We have to think differently about our strategies and brand research,’

he said.



At the same time, the internet would become much more simplified,

enabling advertisers to get instant reaction from consumers.



But Ronald also told delegates: ’Don’t waste your time trying to predict

the future.’



And he claimed that while the internet was important, it would remain as

a complementary medium to TV for companies like Mars.



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