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Case Study: IBM - A new model for IMC

IBM UK has been piloting a new customer focus structure for its IMC department responsible for all marketing communications. The result is better communication, better learning and better results.

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Marketing Communications departments are commonly structured by marcoms discipline (e.g. direct, advertising, PR, etc), with each group interfacing with a specialist agency or agencies. In many cases, this structure, from the point of view of customers, is the second tier of fragmentation, the first being structure by product lines. The move towards integrated communications thinking is leading the search for a more integrated, customer-focused structure.

IBM’s UK and Northern Region experiment built on its global IMC function, which pulls together the communications efforts of its different product divisions. By further focusing on groups of customers and co-ordinating both the communications and product offerings to these customers IBM is taking a significant step towards being truly customer focused. This represents a new model of best practice and wins a Thought Leader award from the Centre.

It is a structure that integrated agencies will also be able to service well. Where a team of specialist agencies is employed, based on the IBM experience, it should lead to increased partnership and collaboration between the agencies.

Contents of full case study:

  • Executive summary
  • Background
  • International marketing structure
  • Our Research with IBM
  • Customer Focus is a Synergy Tool
  • Advantages
  • Organising by Customer Communities
  • An experiment still in progress

Click on the attached document to read this article in full.

Case study by Angus Jenkinson, Professor of Integrated Marketing and Branko Sain, Research Fellow in Integrated Marketing at Luton Business School

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