SMG’s Desmond expects marketers to simplify

By Andrew McMains

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Starcom MediaVest Group global CEO Laura Desmond expects marketers to get back to basics and simplify their brand portfolios as the recession wears on and consumers cut back on discretionary spending.
  Desmond (pictured), speaking on Monday during an Advertising Week panel discussion moderated by The New York Times' Stuart Elliott, predicted that marketers in the consumer packaged-goods arena, in particular, will produce fewer products and therefore advertise fewer brands.
  "More marketers, more advertisers of CPG products have to be obsessed with value," Desmond said. "Probably what you're going to see is a big change in how many products advertisers market, a big change in how many products advertisers actually manufacture. [They'll be] looking for more globalization in the formula, packaging and advertising idea, and looking to simplify their portfolio." Marketers will offer goods and services where "there are clear needs those products are fulfilling, as opposed to being there almost because consumption is so high," she said.

  Desmond added, "Value is a real big word as we move forward in the next two to three years. Marketers will get back to basics, simplify and really do their market research so they're keenly aware of" what consumers need and what they're willing to pay.
  Desmond and fellow panelists Andrew Robertson of BBDO, Kim Kadlec of Johnson & Johnson and John Partilla of Clear Channel Media Holdings also noted how the downturn in the economy has forced clients to focus only on what's essential and move faster.
  "The decision making of our clients has gotten a lot faster, a lot sharper," said Robertson, worldwide CEO at Omnicom Group's BBDO.
  Kadlec added that J&J is "much more open to a different way of doing things," and draws inspiration from markets like the Philippines, where promotional budgets are smaller and marketers have to be scrappier. "In a way, it's sort of energizing," said Kadlec, J&J's chief media officer.

See also: "Tri-Agency Buying Arm Created by SMG"