A Blair administration-inspired quango (quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization), grandiloquently named the Marketing and Sales Standards Setting Body, aims to "deliver world-class standards to the marketing industry".

Just what the UK marketing industry lacks? The sponsoring Department for Education and Skills presumably thinks so.

Having setup the MSSSB in September 2001, chaired by one-time Cadbury-Schweppes marketer Sir Paul Judge, the quangoids, like alien pod people, have finally made their move on the humans who toil in the mines of marketing.

Earlier this week the quango launched a project with the intent of: "Raising skill levels, reflecting corporate ethics and social responsibility, exploiting information and communications technology and fulfilling regulatory and codes of practice requirements".

Among those assisting in the creation of this marketing Eden are Centrica, IBM, the Royal Mail and Vodafone; plus industry bodies the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Market Research Society and the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management. Between them they will develop a national framework for marketing and sales practitioners.

Evangelizes Sir Paul (who these days is more closely associated with political sinecures than market share): "We need to ensure that the professional status of the marketing industry is recognised fully. Generally when company cutbacks are made marketing is the first to go -- we need to be accountable and show how significant and vital marketing is to industry."

"In today's global economy, whilst marketing plays a hugely influential role in many of the UK's leading companies, the majority of organizations in the UK still fail to realise their full potential by not utilizing marketing effectively to shape strategy and competitive advantage," he said.

"Marketers need to talk the language of business to have a central role. Sometimes marketing can be a bit jargon-laden and we need to simplify it if we want to get into the boardroom. We want to show that marketing is an investment, not just a department that spends the money of the sales team."

The quangoids will publish their draft standards by March 2005. In the meantime, Britain's marketers will have shifted another several dozen billion pounds-worth of product across the globe.

Data sourced from: mad.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff