IESE Insight
WPP and the Globalization of Marketing Services
Fecha: 30/07/2013
Autor / es: Ghemawat, Pankaj; Altman, Steven; Strauss, Robert
Tipo de documento: Case
Colaborador / es: Cátedra Anselmo Rubiralta de Estrategia y Globalización
Áreas: Marketing; Strategy
Departamento: Strategic Management
Sector: Marketing services
Idiomas: English
Año de los hechos: 1986 to 2013
Referencia: SM-1600-E

This case examines the globalization of marketing and marketing services from the unique vantage point of one of its prime movers over the past three decades, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell. By analyzing an industry that combines very high demands for local responsiveness (99% of advertising space is purchased locally) with substantial globalization (the top six global agency groups, of which WPP is the largest, place half of the world's advertising), students are challenged to think through how global firms add value (relative to local competitors) while responding effectively to the diversity of consumers and marketing practices around the world. The data presented in the case also permit students to compare the accuracy of different perspectives on globalization, particularly globalization of consumers and marketing. The rise of "digital" marketing and the shift to emerging markets insert dynamism and uncertainty around themes of technological and economic change that have analogues across many industries. Broad coverage is provided across different types of marketing services (advertising and media buying, direct and specialist communications, market research), and along the chain from end-consumers to B2C companies (clients) to B2B companies (marketing services firms). WPP is examined in some detail at the company level, with particular focus on four present strategic priorities: new markets, coordination across the business ("horizontality"), new media, and new technology. Extended quotations from WPP's senior executives permit students to compare and contrast perspectives on globalization across the group's leadership team. WPP is an ideal focal company as it has been more aggressive than its main competitors both on following the migration of demand from advanced to emerging markets and on integrating across its globally dispersed operations. WPP has also been at the forefront of experimentation with new organizational and inter-organizational relationships to support its integration agenda.


Objetivo pedagógico

Teaching Note available

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