Martin Sorrell is 'worried about marketing'

 |  By: Steve Johnson In: Trends

A couple of days ago WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said he’s concerned that marketing’s ability to generate revenue isn’t being taken as seriously as it should. “Marketing doesn't have the prominence it should.”


“I must admit to being rather worried about what's happening,” he says. He notes that everybody focuses on how consumer behaviour changes over time, whereas companies have recently changed far more, particularly since the financial meltdown of 2008.

“Businesses are now totally focused on quarterly results,” said Sorrell. He notes that bad decisions are often the result of this. “You can't cut your way to success.”

He adds that turnover at C-level in companies is very high. The result of all these factors is that clients want more for less, which in principle Sorrell has no issue with, provided client and agency can work constructively to find a solution that’s beneficial to all.

Clients need to be comfortable looking at what's ahead and taking action based on that. “They need to stop looking at their shoes and look at the horizon.”

Sorrell talked about four key areas that WPP focuses on to be successful, which he thinks any marketer could adapt in their own business. The top one is talent: “You have to have the best talent,” he said. “It's a differentiator.” But you also need to invest in:

  • Technology
  • Data
  • Content

In summary, his message is: Marketing generates revenues. So raise your vision. Get the best people on the case, and act.

It’s what every agency has always said, of course. But it’s nice to see it summarised so neatly…