A meeting interspersed with personal attacks epitomised the Marketing Association of South Africa (MASA) meeting held last week in Sandton.
What had been communicated as a MASA board feedback session to marketers on the resignation from SAARF of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), turned into a heated debate around age old issues accompanied by aggressive finger pointing.
The chairman of MASA managed as best he could to control questions from the floor to his panel; however it was clear that frustration relating to SAARF is at an all time high and the blame game was in full flight.
Amazingly, the management of SAARF sat through the proceedings seemingly unmoved by criticism of their performance and inability to move with the times. Suppliers A C Nielson and Telmar were absent. So it was left to MASA and the NAB to slug it out. And slug it out they did, with little advancement and limited feedback to the group other than the oft repeated ‘this is a crisis’ from the MASA panel.
It was a lost opportunity. MASA has struggeld to gain traction since its launch some four years ago. Questions and comments from the floor indicated a lack of communication; articulation of a vision and the value members can expect after joining up. As a consequence the AGM held immediately after the general meeting saw the majority of the board voted back on and vacancies unfilled.
What the marketing, media and media agency industry need is a vision for a newly constituted, independent research body that understands the needs of their stakeholders and can deliver. Innovative input to a funding and collection mechanism plus a business model based on good governance that does not fly in the face of the competition commission, can be obtained through consultation at the most senior level.
What is does not need is witch hunting, personal attacks, polarisation and recalcitrance. There was plenty of it on show last week and it was disappointing.