A long-standing leader in the office equipment and business services industry historically used a decentralized approach to marketing. Each global region had its own marketing organization and was independently accountable for most of the company’s market planning and execution. This approach was highly responsive to local markets and customer needs. But global customers increasingly preferred a global marketing approach, and underserved market segments would benefit from globally coordinated marketing campaigns. Consequently, a series of initiatives were launched to centralize key marketing programs.
A major barrier to marketing program centralization was the lack of a global marketing system. During the company’s decentralized era, most customer information was housed in separate country or region databases. Many of these databases overlapped and intertwined with each other. Some focused on specific business problems and relied on feeds from other legacy systems, including ERP, loyalty, transaction, CRM, marketing, and some external partner systems.