Marketing Matters Jan/Feb 2017 ISSUE 54. Thank you for your continued support, you can find more articles on

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Marketing Matters is a free eZine, published every two months, which we think you will find a useful and informative resource.

It will be interesting to see if the current travel misery deliberately being inflicted on London and its commuters, and the leaving of the union-friendly EU, triggers long overdue union reform., and perhaps some sensible new laws making the striking employees liable to compensation claims.

A proposed compensation claim against Southern Rail by a group of commuters would seem to have no merit at all, save for the unions who are doubtless delighted to see more pressure being put on their member's employer, and the solicitor paid for bringing the claim.

Transport staff are eight times more likely to go on strike than the rest of the UK workforce, whether encouraged by their paid sponsor Jeremy Corbyn or not, official figures show.


Our press have brought their current woes on themselves, though sections such as Rupert Murdoch's empire have arguably done more than most to bring newspapers down to their current level of disrepute.

Accordingly it has recently been revealed, following the 2011 scandal of phone-hacking, that only 18% of us trust our national press to tell the truth, half of the 37% recorded ten years ago in 2006. Calls for the press to be better regulated have been tempered by revelations that only 3% of us would trust the press to regulate itself, and only 8% would trust a regulator set up by the government, with 73% being in favour of a regulator with no connections to either, to avoid newspapers pronouncing themselves innocent when guilty or our government using its regulator to cover up its own misdeeds and failures.

The current proposal, to make newspapers that don't sign up to be regulated by press-hater and S&M fan Max Mosely and his press-hating team liable for all legal costs when exposure is challenged is downright dangerous. It means that no newspaper could afford to publish anything that anyone might find objectionable, even if the paper gets it right. So no-one will any longer read any investigative journalism exposing bent and unethical business types, corrupt and greedy politicians, benefit fiddlers, reckless trade unionists etc etc, but only stories and press releases that someone wants everyone to read.

It also opens the flood-gates to anyone that has been exposed by the press to bring a spurious legal claim against them in the knowledge that even if it is thrown out by the courts it will cost the plaintiff nothing to try, a real bonanza for "No win, No fee" lawyers.

Real question is, do we want all our newspapers permanently muzzled as punishment for the failings of some of them, and are we then prepared to accept that the muzzling will allow all the enemies of the people to stay anonymous?


Meanwhile Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York has launched a legal claim against News Group International for £25 million, losses she claimed she suffered as a result of being caught offering access for £500,000 cash to her then husband, the Duke of York.

Ferguson was caught in a 2010 sting operation mounted by the now defunct News of The World and fronted by its "Fake Sheikh" reporter Mazher Mahmood, currently serving time for tampering with evidence in a court case. She was filmed accepting money for the access and the newspaper broke the story.

Now Ferguson is claiming that she was tricked into making the offer, that her earnings plummeted from £750,000 a year to zero and that she suffered embarrassment and damage to her reputation. Defending the claim News Group say that Ferguson made the first move and took £27,600 in down payment, that her loss of earnings were down to her own illegality and that her case is "embarrassing, defective and attempted fraud".

According to press reports Ferguson lives in a 7-bedroom £13 million chalet, which she bought with the Duke of York in 2014 in the exclusive Swiss resort of Verbier, four years after she claimed her earnings had plummeted to zero.


Retailers Marks and Spencer are using technology to secretly track people's movements via their mobile phones.

Devices installed in the ceilings of M&S stores pick up the signals sent out by shopper's mobile phones as they search for Wi-Fi connections, signals that can be used to pinpoint a shopper's position. This information can then be used to count the number of people who visit a store, and what parts they visited, so that store layout can be altered to sell more M&S goods. The technology can also be used to bombard phone users with advertisements. Shoppers who don't want this are being advised by privacy campaigners to turn off their phone's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capacity when shopping.

M&S have also come in for criticism, and customer loss, over the heavy-handed demands of M&S Bank for existing customer, some of whom have had an M&S card since the Eighties, to prove their identity. This, M&S demand, is by providing documents such as passports, household bills or driving licences and verification that the documents are genuine by a professional worker who knows them, who in turn has to provide, along with their name and address, their occupation, employer's name and address, phone number, signature and professional registration number. Some M&S customers, who say the retailer has lost the plot, have been asked to travel a hundred miles to produce the proof at a branch.


One organisation that earns instant deletion from us is one that purports to offer opportunities to earn substantial income from working from home.

Emails urging victims to visit their website - and experience a loud, hectoring presentation that is impossible to turn off - are sent as though they have come from the victim's own email address, to ensure that they are not put on automatic deletion by spam filters. The emails come in, commonly five or more a day, under a variety of headings that they hope victims will take seriously and carrying a variety of names of individuals all claiming to be the "personnel manager of a large, international company" Our own experience with logging names over a three week period is that this company, if it exists, has 158 different "personnel managers".

So that readers can identify this nuisance the headings we have received to date, with the number of names of "personnel managers" have been:-

o Local representation needed --- 29
o Welcoming speech --- 5
o Re CV --- 8
o Hello --- 7
o Civilities --- 13
o Compliments --- 9
o Re Salary ($/week) --- 21
o Hi! --- 13
o Vacancy 627 --- 13
o From International Company --- 7
o For CV --- 6
o Greetings --- 5
o Re CV 678 --- 8
o Speech of welcome --- 8
o Re CV 672 --- 1
o For CV 612 --- 5

A recent variation on the email headed "Vacancy 627" doesn't show a name and reads: "Following examination of your CV, we would like to let you know that we have a newly opened position that will be a perfect match, based on your skills and our requirements" The email then urges victims to visit the website, "to find a full description about this position and get in touch with our hiring manager" and is signed off "Sincerely, HR Department".


Alterations in consumer behaviour at Christmas time, and featured in national press reports, have been noted by those who market in the sector.

Apparently we are drinking more fizz, such as Prosecco, in favour of port/sherry, goose is replacing the turkey, and pannetonne the Christmas pud We are dumping Christmas cards in favour of a much cheaper email message, or posting on social media, using real fir trees in place of the artificial and listening to seasonally themed chart hits, even if recycled, rather than Christmas carols.

Now you know.


The rise of internet reviews, that apparently more than 80% of us look at before buying, has seen a corresponding rise in the number of "Online Reputation Management" (ORM) firms that offer to get rid of those tedious negative reviews from disgruntled customers.

Quite how this is done is not stated, although one tried and tested way is to just swamp them with positive reviews, like staff working for disgraced foreign aid firm Adam Smith International were instructed to do by their director of strategy Peter Young.

Some of the ORM firms offer to supply testimonials form satisfied clients, which of course will not be falsified, oh no...


Uplifting to read that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has big-heartedly agreed to put aside, for the time being, her party's plan to hold another referendum on Scottish Independence from the Union, if the UK cancels its Brexit plans and stays in the EU.

It seems from the first referendum there that most canny Scots want to stay in the Union, where they enjoy large subsidies from England's taxpayers, and that a majority want to stay in the EU, where they also enjoy large subsidies, both of which they would very much like to carry on receiving.

Perhaps a constructive way forward would be for a binding referendum on Scotland's membership of the Union held with the whole of the UK entitled to vote?



From Richard John
Dear Editor,

Your latest ezine carried an article about rising prices on products made by Unilever and Walkers. You commented ‘this is despite many products being made in the UK.’

You do understand that many of the products will use ingredients brought in from overseas. The factories will often run on oil, also imported, and paid in dollars. As the pound has fallen 20% since Brexit, price rises are inevitable.

And we haven’t seen anything yet. If Brexit happens, expect inflation to go through the roof.

As I mentioned in a previous discussion, no-one over 60 should have been allowed a vote in the referendum. And if you’re a parent, and voted Brexit, you should be prosecuted for child abuse.

Yours with love and tolerance.


Editor's response
Hi Richard, and thanks for sending us your always entertaining views on Brexit. I guess we've all got to adjust to importing a lot less, where possible.

Did you see that Jamie Oliver is blaming the Brexit for having to close six of his restaurants, while some of his customers say it's because the food is bland and over-priced, and the service poor? And that he threatened to leave the country if the UK voted to leave the EU, though he hasn't yet?

Have you been to a Jamies Italian and are able to give us a view for publication? I can't afford it. Actually Jamie and I went to the same school (Newport Grammar in Essex) but he was there a year or so after me.

All best, and hope your planned move to France soon becomes more affordable - seems you might run into Jamie down there...



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Peter Cotterell
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