It gets harder. The brand-to-customer relationship must be relevant and valuable to cut through the hundreds of communications your customer comes into contact with daily. The message you send containing your special offer or call to action, needs to take such a smooth journey into the consciousness of your customer that to them, it doesn’t even feel like marketing. It should instead feel like the thing they were about to deal with next and can now do so with ease, thanks to you.
Your relationships with customers have always been crucial. Amazing then that some of the biggest brands in the world are entrusting the management of those relationships to above-the-line agencies that traditionally have been nowhere near clients’ CRM programmes.
Starting with Publicis Groupe’s acquisition of Unilever France’s CRM division with a view to improving the agency network’s service for all of its brands, our cover story on page 20 sees a debate raging over the logic and wisdom of such a move with marketers from Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods, Nissan, BT and others all weighing in.
“Marketers must be able to trust each agency to act for the brand as best it can, not just as an isolated organisation, but as a cog in a wider team of agencies”
Should brands or agencies be managing CRM? There are arguments for both sides. But watching the feature being finished this week, I got thinking about how much trust brands need to place in each of their agencies. Marketers must be able to trust each agency to act for the brand as best it can, not just as an isolated organisation, but as a cog in a wider team of agencies. Quizzing a client services director at an agency this week, it became apparent that inter-agency relationships are far from easy and that the only thing agencies can sometimes agree on is that they all want the best for the brand.
In that sense it becomes apparent just how much the innovative and effective marketing we write about every week is a testament to a genuine commitment to “partnerships” on the part of all brand marketers and their agencies. We aim to celebrate that with the launch of the inaugural Marketing Week Engage Awards which take place in May 2010. Look out for news (starting today) on how you can enter as well as the call for entries brochure coming in October.
Mark Choueke, editor