How channels and the marketing communications plan are affected by customer communications management

Marketers have never had so many tools at their disposal. The Marketing Communications Mix offers marketers a rich landscape in which to communicate. But then, there probably has never been so much competition.

The availability of so many marketing channels comes as both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because the ability to reach potential and existing customers with your message in an effective way that suits their preferences has never been more readily available.

The curse comes in managing channel effectiveness. In a previous article I identified up to 9 individual channels (I don’t discuss web presentment in this article) via which a marketer can establish a communications loop with their customers. Choose the wrong channel for a customer and they may never see your message. Herein lies the importance of understanding the merits of each channel, and the importance of ensuring that the marketing communications plan is thought through carefully.

The advantages are that now, we have the technology to plan, execute and measure marketing performance across a myriad of customer communication channels using omnichannel software and platforms.

So lets take a quick look at those nine channels:

Marketing Communications through Direct Mail

Direct mail is one of the oldest channels used by marketers and it remains effective but costly to deliver. It is costly to deliver because it is hungry both in terms of human resources and materials. Many consumers still prefer direct mail as a means of communication and within certain market segments …

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Platform ownership

Acer recently announced that it is postponing the launch of its new Cloud Mobile handset, the first handset based on Alibaba Holding’s Aliyou operating system that launched just a year ago. It seems that Google, the owner of the now dominant Android smartphone platform, has been quick to recognize the potential threat that a new operating system could pose in the future, particularly a platform that could become the platform of choice among Chinese consumers, the largest and one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets in the world.

Google has put pressure on Acer, discouraging Acer to launch the new device. Acer appears to have complied as the postponement of the imminent launch of the Cloud Mobile suggests, as Acer also makes a variety of other devices using the Android platform.

While the Android platform is open source and thus can be used by anyone, Google provides access to some important and proprietary applications, such as GPS tracking only to officially approved device makers. Given the growing and must have nature of these features, it provides Google the edge necessary to make its partners comply with such requests.

Lack of ownership of dominant platforms such as Android poses some interesting challenges for EMNCs. What should they do?…

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Brand as organization integrator

Last week I was at the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, on a panel with the country CEOs of Ford and Rolls Royce, as well as partners from the consulting firms of Oliver Wyman and Arthur D. Little. The common challenges that all four of these organization felt were key challenges for their organizations was working globally and across business verticals as a unified entity and how to invest more, and more strategically behind CSR.

It strikes me that articulating and building a strong brand internally is one way of addressing both these challenges. Consider the challenge for Rolls Royce globally. It is a heritage organization in the UK and has grown in to a global player through a myriad of acquisitions, resulting in a patchwork of cultures and values across the organization verticals and geographies. It is precisely under this kind of situation that going through a branding exercise that in the first place engages the entire organization and then communicates the new brand identity and the resulting behavioral changes that are required from each and every employee throughout the organization, can help bring the organization together under a common umbrella. Such an exercise takes time, requires top management support, involves a cross functional implementation team, and a thoughtful implementation of the new identity within the organization, engaging everyone through training sessions to begin with and then regular reminder activities and celebrations of living the brand to keep the brand at the forefront of all employees’ minds, thus impacting …

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BP’s dilemma: In uncertain emerging markets, is it better to partner with the private sector or the state?

BP’s dilemma: a choice between partnering with the private sector versus the government in Russia! Is one alternative better than the other in uncertain emerging markets like Russia? It is not as clear cut as one might think. Before elaborating, however, let me underline that I am not talking about emerging markets in general, but about uncertain emerging markets, such as Russia.

BP is selling its stake in a business that was a partnership with the private sector—AAR, BP’s partner in TNK-BP was a consortium of Russian billionaires. That relationship on the one hand was lucrative for BP, as it received close to $19 billion in dividends against its investment of around $8 billion a decade ago. Moreover, In the current deal, it has been reported that BP will end up with a stake of around 20% in Rosneft as well as cash of the order of $12 billion. So, all in all, BP will make about $35 billion after 9 years on its initial investment of 8 billion. A very good deal indeed, as it turns out.

However, the BP-AAR relationship has been fraught with acrimony– In 2008, reportedly in a fallout with the AAR partners over payout of dividends versus capital investments, Mr. Dudley ended up suddenly having to leaving Russia, due to his visa status not being renewed, and only last year, the same partners went to court to block BP’s bid to participate in a drilling joint venture with Rosneft, in Russia’s Arctic, leading BP to …

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Apple Inc., Leadership Brands, and Team Brands

The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported a shake-up at Apple ( with several executives leaving the organization. The article reported that some of those leaving, e.g., Mr. Forstall, the head of mobile software, had irreconcilable differences with other employees, to the point of not even talking to each other on projects that required their joint inputs. The Wall Street Journal reported “Messrs. Ive [head of hardware design] and Forstall clashed so severely in recent years that they avoided being in the same room together… ‘They didn’t cooperate at any level,’ one of the people close to the matter said. ‘They always let Steve decide.’” This highlights a key challenge for organizations that are highly centralized behind an iconic leader, as was the case for Apple, until recently. How does one manage the transition in leadership that inevitably must come?

Before we go there, let us describe the nature of such brands which we call leadership brands. Leadership brands are brands that are built around the ideals and aspirations of the leader, who is also often the founder of the company. Such leaders are often dictatorial and hands on, making every critical decision themselves. Whether they are right or wrong, strong leaders, like Steve Jobs, bring with them strong personalities that distinguish them apart from the competition and it is also their strong personalities that attract like-minded employees and intrigue the consumers of their brand.

When the leader around whom the leadership brand is constructed steps aside, the brand and the …

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