Inbox - 5 August 2008

All Response Media, Crain's Manchester Business, Mesh Planning, Breeze Tech.


Colin Grimshaw indulged himself in his penultimate column (22 July, page 21) by proposing that the current method of BBC funding is protected at all costs.

While the piece contained the usual platitudes such as "that's largely why British broadcasting has the highest quality thresholds in the world", it failed to recognise that we do not have world-leading broadcasting companies in the only metric that matters in the global economy - the commercial metric.

The column also failed to address the effect that this funding has on the consumer (higher costs of TV viewing), the advertiser (higher costs of ads) or the agency sector (lower incomes from ad revenue).

It is now a generation since most of the old government-owned and taxpayer-subsidised industries were privatised. Isn't it time that the iconoclasts were allowed to start dragging our broadcast media out of the hands of the media "luvvies" and into a real commercial world?

Andy Sloan, Chief executive, All Response Media


While accepting that the majority of news comes from London, I find it very disappointing that a dedicated media trade publication did not feature the launch and progress of the first local weekly business newspaper in the UK.

Crain's Manchester Business, which launched in December 2007, has quickly established itself as the primary source for local business news. When newspaper sales are dropping, surely it is refreshing to see Crain's Manchester Business enjoying a 3% subscription increase.

The Financial Times found our launch worthy enough to report, while Radio 5 Live featured us on its morning business programme.

I believe it is of interest to your readers, who control the ad spend for many of the nation's businesses, to see that there is an alternative to glossy monthly regional business mags or the press release-driven business section of the dailies, and that first-class rail travellers on Virgin Trains now receive a complimentary copy of Crain's Manchester Business.

Arthur Porter, Publisher, Crain's Manchester Business


I was pleased that Media Week recognised the importance of word-of-mouth marketing (A little more conversation, 15 July, page 24), as clients are increasingly interested in managing campaigns in this way.

The difficulty, as Andy Thompson (Appletiser brand manager) and Ivan Palmer (strategist at specialist agency Wildfire) identify, is how to measure word of mouth.

The good news is that new approaches are being developed. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association framework is a useful way to think about measurement and one that we have been looking at to see if we can combine this thinking with our new real-time research approach, TouchPoints Return On Investment (TROI).

TROI uses participants' own mobile phones to capture every way that someone connects with a brand, whether this is TV advertising, a face-to-face conversation or viewing an online blog.

Additionally, as each TROI participant conducts the survey for a week, we can see what happens before and after word of mouth takes place within the customer journey.

There is still a way to go, but perhaps the industry standard is closer than we think, not simply for measuring word of mouth, but for understanding its importance within the full marketing mix.

Fiona Blades, Chief experience officer, Mesh Planning


I agree with Shaun Gregory of Blyk and Pip Hainsworth of Clear Channel (Letters, 15 and 29 July) that mobile is all about dialogue, relevance and openness.

While many consumers are still wary of data charges, Bluetooth, which is free to users, offers an easy way to interact with consumers.

Bluetooth is also, in our view, one of the biggest opportunities for the outdoor industry, as advances in the technology allow better content, such as video and Java applications, to be delivered quickly to large numbers of handsets.

This capability gives outdoor owners access to digital budgets, and the success of our recent work with Titan Outdoor for Channel 4 and Sky in London mainline stations has put Bluetooth back on the agenda for many clients.

Adrian Hands, Commercial director, Breeze Tech


Lucy Peel, assistant director at the Confederation of British Industry, likes the Central London six-sheets for Five's celebrity fitness show Superstars, planned by Clear Channel's Create division with Hyperspace, Posterscope, Vizeum and VCCP. She says: "You see some strange things in London, but this was the first time I'd seen a framed vest at a bus stop and it made me find out about the TV show."

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