ITV completes sales revamp with a severe case of verbal linguine

Fru Hazlitt and Simon Daglish have completed their revamp of UK terrestrial broadcaster ITV’s sales, losing a few people and gaining some.

In so doing it seems to have concocted a dish of verbal linguine, a dish it’s easy to spill down your front if taken with meat sauce.

Top promotion in the final (latest?) batch is that of creative solutions controller (bad enough) Ross Faulkner to the new post of deputy strategic engagement director (that’s two words that mean something out of four).

Faulkner and ITV still await the appointment of a boss strategic engagement director.

All this stuff is designed to help ITV sell ‘other platforms’ like its website and new mobile apps and also to help clients out (what Rupert Howell used to do rather well before being dumped by new CEO Adam Crozier and paid off, handsomely).

Let’s leave it to Simon Daglish, director of multiplatform and partnerships, ITV (does he really have a comma in his job title?) who’s number two to Fru Hazlitt, managing director of commercial and online (OK, we know what that means).

Simon says: “We have created a multiplatform customer facing sales team which is able to talk to our customers about all aspects of ITV.

“The strategic engagement team is all about helping clients build their businesses. We’re changing from talking about ROI [return on investment] for ITV to ROI for our customers. We want to ask ‘What is it that can make their businesses grow?’

“If we can help our customers’ business become more successful and more profitable then they will come back for more and that’s the whole point.”

One doubts that even fierce old ITV hand, former sales director Gary Digby who was rudely dumped last year after delivering record revenues in 2010, went to his clients (mostly agencies admittedly) and said: “this is going to do nothing for you mate but it’s good for us, so pay up or you sleep with the fishes.”

Or that advertisers are going to invite the ITV crew in to discuss whether or not they should open a new factory or spend £20m on a TV campaign.

The new faces will probably just churn out more research saying ITV is a good thing. But isn’t that what TV industry body Thinkbox under the indefatigable Tess Alps already does?

And think of poor Ross Faulkner next time she has to introduce herself in a business context.

“And what do you do Ms Faulkner?”

“I’m the deputy strategic engagement director at ITV.”

“Is that something to do with sales?”

Actually Faulkner seems to be the equivalent of an ad agency planner at ITV (she previously worked for Naked). So why not say so?

Muddled and muddying job titles often indicate a failure to understand what precisely a business is trying to do. Let’s hope it’s not the case at ITV.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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