Integration seems a foreign concept to our continental brethren

I mentioned the other week that my company is looking to globalise, which means our dozen regional entities are working towards operating as one global organisation, despite only having a brand logo in common. We even sell different products and services in different countries.

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It is the latter point that seems to be the greatest obstacle in our plans, with our continental brethren oblivious to the fact that our product offering in the UK is different to that which they sell across the water. The good news is that the UK is the most profitable part of the group and our product set is the one that the global bigwigs feel we should expand internationally.

It is also becoming obvious why we are more successful in the UK. The marketing processes we have developed, our level of customer insight, and the relationship between marketing and sales, is streets ahead of our continental counterparts. And that’s because we have built a reputation on the old adage ‘there’s no I in team’, but that’s not the case in France, Spain or Portugal.

The success we have had in the UK has been founded on a strong alignment between the manufacturing part of our business and the sales force, with marketing being the conduit between the two. Everything we do is laid down in a marketing plan and each activity is governed by business cases that have complete buy-in from each owner in the process. When we brought this in, it seemed second nature, but when I look at how my continental brethren operate, it brings our approach into stark contrast.

The key is therefore integration. Marketing plays a critical role in every part of a brand’s operation, from deciding which markets to penetrate, understanding what customers want, specifying our proposition, defining why a customer should buy from us, providing the backdrop to the resulting sale and then monitoring and refining what we do over time. As such, a great organisation is not one made up simply of a group of individuals, but is a finely honed machine with each part closely aligned. Put another way, while there is no ‘I’ in team, there most certainly is an ‘m’ for marketing.  

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