Duncan Bannatyne’s marketing advice: wisdom or drivel?

I’m going to give Duncan Bannatyne, one of the BBC’s business gurus from the popular Dragons’ Den TV series, the benefit of the doubt here. I think someone else must have written his opinion editorial of marketing advice published in last Thursday’s Daily Telegraph newspaper in the UK.

Duncan Bannatyne sports a red nose for charity

Because I can’t believe someone who started with a £450 ice cream van and is now said to be worth £350m would ever be capable of writing the following business advice: “plan for every possible eventuality and think carefully about your marketing strategy.” First, no business owner would ever do anything else if they did the former. The latter grates because it ranks alongside ‘make sure you get dressed before leaving home’ in terms of useful business advice.

He goes on to say that “the principle of making marketing consistent with the business plan is something that applies equally to all companies.”

Last time I looked, one of the longest standing, plain English definitions of marketing was something along the lines of ‘find out what customers want and give it to them.’ Or, if you prefer, ‘right product, right place, right price, right promotion’.

In Bannatyne’s world, marketing is something you apply after the business plan is drawn up, instead of something that actually defines it. The article continues with more absurdities: “The most important thing is awareness of your product.” Anyone in marketing knows this is not the case.

People are well aware of many things they have no intention of ever buying (perhaps now including the idea that Bannatyne is a business guru?). Awareness is certainly important but, in itself, is never enough: you have to create a desire to purchase – ideally a lasting one that revolves around preference and advocacy.

The Telegraph article’s headline was ‘Does BP now stand for bad promotion?’. Perhaps it does, but some might say bad promotion is also an apt description for what this article does for brand Bannatyne.

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