I’ve just been reading Ed Moed’s piece about WPP and DELL on his blog Measuring Up. His position is that nobody has so far been able to deliver an integrated solution on this scale from one source and that in particular, WPP’s da Vinci solution – 1000 people from a range of different disciplines working together under one roof – is guaranteed to fail not only because of the sector history, but also because the WPP culture is the wrong environment in which to give birth to the solution.
Fair enough, but its a rather defeatist attitude and completely at odds with what I believe marketing is all about. Marketing is about optimism – doing things and going places that nobody has done or gone to before – simple! The marketing department in any organisation should be the innovation driver (among other things) so I am absolutely delighted that Casey Jones (didn’t he drive a train?) has taken this obvious, but so easy-to-ignore opportunity to do something worthwhile in the name (as he says it and I absolutely agree) of efficiency. Efficiency is, after all, both the only thing that separates successful from unsuccessful organisations and exactly what integrated marketing is all about! More power to your bloody elbow Casey – pity there aren’t more of you around! (and I’m really glad you made the switch from train driving although I’m not sure your new profession is any less hazardous!).
If Casey fails, then it will be the worse for all of us, but he has chosen as a partner, a marketing services group whose top brass at least, understand what integrated marketing really is and are probably most likely of all the contenders to be able to make it happen … as long as they get the focus right. Sure they’ve trodden this path before and failed, but risk is what business is all about. Failure is fine if you learn from your mistakes and they are definitely heading in the right direction.
So what is that focus? I believe its about internal marketing. Its where WPP and others have failed before and its the only thing that is going to overcome the issues that Ed Moed raises and channel the behaviour and leverage the enormous cache of skills and experience of the people charged with delivering the da Vinci brand promise. It has to start at the very top. It has to be the very first brick set in the wall of this new enterprise. I sincerely hope the guys in charge have already developed their plan for getting every single employee behind the promise and the strategy. This will only work if there is a powerful sense of community not just at the start, but going forward. Every recruit simply has to go through an induction process, and the internal marketing, which must itself be innovative and part of the da Vinci DNA should guarantee that the culture grows and strengthens.
I have no axe to grind, I’m not a particular fan of WPP or DELL, but for the sake of the profession that we are in, I really and truly hope that this partnership realises its objective and that WPP and DELL drive a train through a few conventions. I for one will be watching the story unfold and learning from any mistakes I spot.