Publi-com: the whole was less than the sum of its parts

File under: Global Pharma Marketing

publicom3The dissolution of the Publicis/Omnicom merger
(or was it the Omnicom/Publicis merger?) provides a helpful cautionary tale for all of us. The moral of the story is not that you should decide your CFO or your merger documents before you make the announcement. More fundamentally it’s a question of who your most important stakeholder is.

For many years I taught a business school class on CRM, and one of my observations was that the center of gravity for successful entrepreneurial companies was always the customer. No customer value, no company. But as firms got larger, the center of gravity gradually moved internal because of the many pressing organizational needs. Mergers and acquisitions are particularly distracting, to the point that many corporate managers never even interact with customers.

All one needs to do is look at other industries – airlines, telecom, consumer electronics, banking – to see that bigger through acquisition isn’t always better for the customer.

Rather than speculate on the next logical merger, we should refocus our deal fervor energy towards sorting out the real problems of helping our customers with their communication challenges. Especially in healthcare where the needs are myriad. My guess is that is what Omnicom and Publicis account teams are working on this morning…


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