Publicis Loss Shows Why Creatives and "Suits" Must Integrate—Not Clash

February 2, 2018 Karen Puckett

It's pretty well known at this point that technology budgets are moving from the chief information officer to the chief marketing officer (CMO), chief digital officer (CDO) and chief customer officer (CCO). Marketing leaders now allocate 27% of their expense budget to technology, which equals 3.24% of overall revenue (compared to 3.4% of revenue by the CIO). And tech spending is growing 12% for marketing versus 3.1% for IT , confirming Gartner’s prediction that, by 2017, CMOs would spend more on technology than CIOs.

But what happens when marketing organizations cannot effectively bring this new technology and analytical focus into their traditional creative fold?

They lose.

Publicis' Leo Burnett can tell you this first hand. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the company lost their large share of McDonald's $1B annual ad spend because they could not figure out how to best integrate newly acquired, technology-focused talent with their traditional agencies. The creatives were clashing with "the suits," and instead of working together, the disparate teams were stepping on each others toes. Omnicom won the business with an approach that was "fast, fluid and flexible."

Most Marketers Lack Technological Expertise

As illustrated by Publicis' unfortunate loss, brands and their agencies must embrace a digital, data-centric way of marketing. They must be able to master the technology necessary to deeply understand the customer—and integrate the technology with traditional marketing to cater to customer demands. To have contextual conversations that provide them with the content they want, when and where they want it. The brands that do this right are the ones that will survive. 

We can look to Netflix as a prime example of a company that has learned to use data to enhance creative projects, as outlined in this Harvard Business Review article. The article explains, "Data-driven platforms are giving high-quality, innovative entertainment a place to shine. Why? Because they can connect content and audiences in ways that broadcasters never could." In other words, Netflix thoroughly understands its viewers and uses this data- and technology-driven insight to serve them the most appropriate content and creative.

But the problem is that Gartner says that only 51% of CMOs believe they are “somewhat” or “very” effective at acquisition and use of marketing technology. These people think they’re doing okay—a lot probably see room for improvement. Then there’s another 49% of respondents that say they are “neutral,” “somewhat” or “very” ineffective at acquiring and using martech.

In other words, most CMOs don’t have the necessary expertise to fully own and operate the technology necessary to deliver on customer demands. 

Filling the Gap Holistically

This is why the partnership of Harte Hanks and Wipro is so logical—and so powerful.

The coming together of deep technological and operational expertise with marketing know-how and customer centricity makes us the ideal partner for marketers on the path to achieving genuine, personal, one-to-the-moment marketing. We can help our clients use technology to both facilitate and drive the kind of marketing conversations that will feel human to their customers. Using multiple data sources, signal-based analytics and tools to help you “listen” to each customer interaction, our teams will help our clients to understand what the customer is trying to achieve and build a marketing “dialogue” that helps them to achieve it—smoothing the path to purchase. 

Our creatives and "suits" aren't clashing—they're integrating like never before to provide our clients unparalleled value. Are you ready to take advantage of it?

About the Author

Karen Puckett

Karen, Harte Hanks CEO, has an experienced track record for winning, and she knows our business inside and out. Not only has Karen been a director of Harte Hanks since 2009, she also brings nearly 15 years of COO and president experience in the telecom, cloud and managed services industries in both consumer and business segments, stemming from her time at CenturyLink, Inc. During her tenure, she was instrumental in leading the company’s transformation from a local telephone business to an industry leader in advanced communications services, and driving revenue growth from $1.5 billion to more than $18 billion. Karen has a proven track record of successfully growing a company both organically and through acquisitions (she’s overseen 15 of them) and in navigating a business through shifts in industry dynamics.

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