Digital age needs marketing basics: Wunderman

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LONDON -- Marketing training is key in the digital marketing space, according to a Wunderman London executive.

In an interview with DM News in the Wunderman London office, chief director Steve Harrison said that this training is necessary to respond to the exponential growth of the direct marketing industry.

"Our industry has experienced the same growth in the past 13 months as it has in the last 15 years combined," Mr. Harrison said. "This means there is a huge talent shortage."

New talent in the interactive agency space is excited about technology and will learn it independently, he said. The real requirement is to make sure that the new generation of marketers is trained in marketing itself. But this can be difficult to do as training budgets have decreased.

Mr. Harrison said that at Wunderman he is training staff in writing briefs and strategies, how to sell and how to hold a meeting.

In the changing digital age, keeping up on the latest in interactive trends still remains a priority for ad agencies.

In a recent campaign for Land Rover, Wunderman created an experiential Web site inspired by the slogan "Go Beyond." The site at www.landrover.com lets consumers write their own experiences about exploring in their SUVs. It also lets consumers add their own videos.

The mood of the market in Britain today is consumer-oriented, much more so than in the 1970s or '80s, Mr. Harrison said. Today's consumer wants things his or her own way. In order to keep up, agencies must be relevant and engage the consumer.

This means being careful about overstepping bounds by advertising on MySpace and YouTube, which is the consumer's space and not the brands'.

"In the UK, people are becoming more reliant on [the] outward appearance of things and they consume at a remarkable rate," Mr. Harrison said. "But they don't trust advertising and will not accept it if they are on MySpace or YouTube."

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