The marcoms zeitgeist amongst many customers has been about customer visibility or more accurately customer invisibility.
That’s not to say they have no customers but just that the dialogue is more fractured than it has ever been.
To understand the details of the problem it is worth mentioning we support clients in EMEA or global HQ’s in their campaigns, marcoms and sales support tools for their sales channel, through, regional, country, distributors, dealers and of course to the customer. Lots of layers and many miles can separate companies from their customers. Nothing new there then. But, many of the traditional routes and touch points that a company would have exploited throughout its channel have disappeared, merged or have been significantly culled. Such as the dealer council, the dealer conference, marcoms support staff, regional and area managers, customer research, newsletters, toolkits, area meetings etc etc etc.
And therein lies the challenge…
The result is a communication vacuum with senior executives becoming quickly estranged from both the customer and the environment in which their product lives. And the scenario gets more complicated… The role of the agency mission creeps and they become the channel glue and the messenger back to the client from all the channel touch points. …and nobody likes the messenger – especially if they are self-appointed and all they do is deliver bad news.
And this is where the story gets scary… Many of the senior marketing executives we have recently talked to can see this elephant but have neither the time, nor the resource or budgets to fix this.
However, the team here have embraced this challenge and see their role to be the eyes, ears and voice of their client in the channel with their clients support and blessing. This value-add is about presence at the touch points gaps, building bridges at the gaps and becoming truly integrated into a client’s channel. It’s now very much part of the service, the days of a creative agency just delivering a creative design, campaign, media plan and a few baubles have long gone. And soon the agencies that ignore that elephant will too.