Record

Ref NoGB1752.UNI/GF/MD
TitleMarketing Division
DescriptionMarketing Advisory Division 1945-1957

Lever House (later Unilever House) had a marketing library in the 1920s but a Marketing Advisory Division was not formally established until 1945, as part of the new Unilever policy of decentralisation. The nucleus of the division was formed from Overseas Committee sales and technical staff. Whilst it had no executive responsibility, it had the aim of collating and disseminating marketing knowledge in order to help managements reach their own decisions. Its terms of reference included the assessment of markets and their trends; advertising; selling, and wholesale retail distribution.
By 1956 the division was headed by two marketing advisers with four senior specialists in charge of special studies, advertising questions, research, and the secretariat. Five area personnel were responsible for allocated territories. A divisional bulletin Marketing Activities was provided and information was also sent out via circulars. There was also a section for maintaining advertising records. Meetings were held with Special Committee and Overseas Committee, as well as with companies and national management. The Division also dealt with enquiries from advice on selling, advertising and research. In 1956 the functional scope of Marketing Advisory Division was four-fold: assessments of markets, advertising, selling, and packaging.
Assessment of markets: MAD studied sales trends and consumer attitudes. Their advice was sought with regard to new products and the marketing of old established products. MAD also helped companies consider how market research could be developed.
Advertising: They advised on advertising, gathering information and disseminating it on various forms of advertising.
Selling: MAD kept watch on developments in selling.
Packaging: Companies sought advice from MAD on improving the appearance, convenience, and economy of packaging. They reviewed new concern packs through their bulletin Marketing Activities. MAD were also represented on the Package Design Committee, which surveyed concern packaging policy.


Marketing Division 1957-1993

The name was changed to Marketing Division in August 1957. The senior management was also increased by two. At this time the division was providing services to operating units in the UK; on the continent alongside Marketing Officers in Rotterdam; and overseas.

The general aims as outlined in February 1958 were to: assist in keeping Unilever at the forefront of marketing; to raise marketing standards in the operating companies; to promote the development of new marketing ideas and methods; to ensure practical advice was available to Unilever management; and to act as a clearing house for information. All these aims were to help develop company and brand goodwill and profitability.

Services included:
Consultative: provide advice on Unilever/company/country/site policy; advice on advertising, promotion, selling, and market research, including co-ordination of the development of standards in the Lintas organisation; help with the selection of marketing staff; acquire knowledge of the capabilities of marketing management personnel.
Executive: collection, collation and dissemination of information on Unilever activities; set up training schemes; undertake special research into specific problems.
Internal communication channels were with: all companies, marketing units and Lintas companies; group chairmen, the Rotterdam Group, and Overseas Committee; head office departments but in particular Technical Division, Research Division, Economics & Statistics department, Accounts department.
External communications were with; trade, professional and academic bodies concerned with marketing; advertising agencies, market research organisations and other bodies.
The area of activity was worldwide, with special liaison with Marketing Officers in Rotterdam.

In January 1958 a marketing officer was appointed to extend the service to Overseas Committee and overseas companies.
Marketing Division ran two Unilever Marketing Courses in 1959; due to the growing demand for trained marketing men, this was an experimental development of the Unilever Executives Advertising Courses. A second series of the latter course was also run by Marketing Division in 1960. This course was residential and directed by Peter Ashton of Marketing Division. The first series of courses were run between1953-1957, directed by J. H. Beausire.

In 1963 it was announced that a manager would be appointed to work within Marketing Division to take responsibility for the maintenance of the highest market research standards throughout Unilever Market Research Units, working through Regional and National Managements. J. Walter Thompson Ltd agreed to second Mr J. S. Downham, the Managing Director of British Market Research Bureau (associate of J. Walter Thompson in London) to Unilever for a minimum of three years to carry out this assignment.

In 1965 a Marketing Analysis & Evaluation group was formed within the Division and took on work previously carried out by Organisation Division's statistical methods section from 1966. This group had an information section, and a brand information group.

From 1972 the responsibility for advising on brand advertising was transferred from Marketing Division to Co-ordination, following a McKinsey study. Marketing Division continued to be responsible for the overall quality and effectiveness of Unilever international advertising and for developing advertising policies for Unilever as a whole.

By 1974 Marketing Division's management committee determined broad policy, approved and supervised objectives and programmes of specialist sections, and co-ordinated the work of sections and special projects. Members of the management committee visited European and overseas countries.

The Marketing Division Secretary was responsible for Training & Education, Office Services, and Central Records. The deputy head was responsible for Marketing Analysis Information Service (MAIS), Trade Marketing & Promotions, and a Central Samples Library. MAIS received input from other Unilever departments and operating companies and its output consisted of bulletins, newsletters, alerts, flashes, experience papers, and a news reprint service. The Market Research section work was transferred to Research Bureau Ltd (see separate entry).

The largest overseas countries were visited by the Management Committee and Overseas Marketing had two officers who visited countries regularly.

The advertising section had charge of the Advertising Materials Library and the Marketing Reference Library/Advertising Information. The library also had a film section and by 1978 material was being transferred to video. An estimated 25,000 TV/cinema commercials were in the library by 1980.

On 5 November 1979 the staff of the Foods Section of Marketing Division's Marketing Analysis & Information Service, Unilever House, London amalgamated with E&S. This was to be the first stage of an integration of all three sections of MAIS with E&S, which it was intended to complete in 1979.

In 1980 work carried out by the Division's Marketing Operations Research section was transferred to Organisation Division (later UIML). Marketing Division was concerned with wider strategic issues affecting Unilever marketing.

Marketing Division was the first department to move into the new North Wing of Unilever House, London, in 1981.


Marketing Projects Group 1993-1998

The division was renamed the Marketing Projects Group in 1993. This new group was radically different to the Marketing Division it replaced. It was project-driven, with up to six projects underway at any one time. The head of the new group was Nigel Clayton; he initiated the projects and defined the agenda for each, in agreement with the Steering Committee (all of which were main board directors). On the Steering Group were Antony Burgmans (committee chairman), Niall Fitzgerald, Chris Jemmett, and Okko Müller; they represented the three FMCG management groups and Overseas Regional Management.

Marketing Division was replaced as it was seen to be redundant. The division had looked at areas like market research, training, information systems, and provided advice on sales and marketing matters. However it was found that as management groups within the company acquired more expertise and expanded their roles, the need for such a service dwindled.

Only two areas of expertise were retained from the old Marketing Division. The Advertising Library remained as a repository for videos of Unilever and competitor television adverts. The latest adverts were circulated to Unilever companies every month. The new group also continued to monitor media practice and the cost-effectiveness of Unilever's media expenditure (Neil Welling continued to be the media specialist).

Projects underway or in the pipeline in 1993 included 'Customer Management', which looked at the ways the company could interact with retail and wholesale customers; 'Consumer Change', which looked at how consumer habits and attitudes were likely to change over the following decade; 'Innovation in Marketing', which aimed to share a survey of successful techniques; 'Integrated Marketing' which explored how Unilever could strengthen its brands using communications media; and 'The Learning Organisation,' which looked at how experience can be quickly accessed around the company.

The group was disbanded in October 1998 and its activities were integrated into the Foods and Home & Personal Care category teams.
Date1919-1995
LevelSub collection
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