Being Enfatico!

“What’ss an Enfatico?” you might ask.

It’s the custom, built-to-order  global advertising agency that WPP created and dedicated to servicing all of the needs of Dell.

The big marketing news today?  The agreement is being unwound and Enfatico is becoming part of Y&R.

When Enfatico was first announced many people applauded it as the future of advertising.  It was going to solve the problems of turf wars between agencies, duplication of work and lack of coordination.  Not to mention offering cost savings. In retrospect it represented a “Back to the Future” model where most companies had their own internal advertising departments (some still do). 

If coordination of multi-platform branding is the big challenge for companies now, then using one agency which integrates across all media should solve the problem easily.  Enfatico.  Problem solved! 

Turns out that the promise of Enfatico seems to have been more promising than the reality.  

Our own research study into CMOs (conducted by Forrester) gives us a different perspective into the story.   Only 16% of CMOs are seeking a single agency partner to handle all of their advertising needs.  The complete, end-to-end, fully integrated advertising agency is simply not what companies desire.  It’s good for the agencies — greater share of the CMO’s wallet.  But it takes away the flexibility that CMOs need.  It locks them into a rigid structure when they are looking for new ideas anywhere they can be found, from any agency who can provide them.

This is the new reality.  Or as Kotler/Caslione’s book Chaotics calls it, “the new normal”.  Marketing in these turbulent times requires new techniques, new approaches, and new perspectives.  The risk of moving to a new model of marketing is now lower then the risk of doing business as usual.

So Dell and WPP are to be applauded for making a bold experiment to solve the problems that CMOs are facing today.  They took a risk.  Learn the right lessons from the failure.  We can only hope that they will continue to experiment and continue to take risks until a new way, a better way, is created.  

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