We outsource a lot of stuff we don’t consider to be our ‘core competence’, as management speak has it. The Influence Scorecard and those activities critical to executing our influence strategy must be core, and we’ve needed to bring some of our public relations, customer service and analytics activities in-house. And customer service and internal communications are public relations so we’ve joined these teams together, physically and digitally. While marketing is run separately, we’ve tried not to clump everyone together by discipline.
A new vista on media has helped. The ‘paid, owned, earned’ way to categorize media appears to have emerged from old silos and reinforces such divisions, so we’re trying to think in terms of something called ‘the influence view of content’. Basically, an influence professional must seek to understand what influenced the creation of relevant content, and might then influence it in future, and what influence its author intended it to have.
Deciding where stuff gets done, externally or internally, wasn’t wholly an either-or choice. We’ve worked closely with one supplier to test a hybrid whereby their people work with ours on our premises. We’ve done this kind of thing before in IT but never in marketing and PR. We want to amalgamate the best of both worlds – “full-time immersion at the Attenzi water-cooler” as Michelle puts it, pun intended, while maintaining continued access to the supplier’s particular know-how and resources.
The idea of Attenzi being a network that extends beyond its payroll isn’t yet fully established. There remains a clear delineation in people’s minds with respect to the person’s employer. In fact, I just wrote, “their people work with ours”. Such things will take a long time to blur, and won’t happen at all I’m sure without appropriate policy, process and determination.
We’re exploring ways to combine B2B post-sales service with production, based on the product-as-a-service concept. We’re on the third iteration of this revised structure, and at the time of writing we’re ten weeks from launching our first commercial product that will include the sensors and communications gadgetry to keep us connected to it 24/7. We have some ideas for how we might wield this data, but we’re aware that some applications will emerge with time and use.
We’ll be collecting and managing the data to begin with, but with the clear promise to customers that we consider ourselves custodians working on their behalf as well as our own until such time we can feed the data into their chosen service.