During an interview with Forbes India, WPP’s Martin Sorrell was asked a number of questions about Enfatico and why it didn’t work. His responses were pretty finger-pointy, especially when he was asked about the one-off agency’s demise:
Q: Why didn’t Enfatico work then?
Sorrell: Because it’s an extremely difficult thing to do. And the two prime movers behind it left Dell.
The two prime movers are of course former Dell CMO Mark Jarvis and Casey Jones, Dell’s vp of global marketing.
We reported on both departures. Recall that Jarvis was allegedly put on probation just months before leaving the company. Jones was a major player from the get go, but blamed a lack of communication for the failure. He too was replaced — in his case Andy Lark took over. Erin Nelson filled in for Jarvis.
Before directing the failure to the now long-gone Jarvis and Jones, Sorrell was asked “What went wrong?”
“The prime movers of the Enfatico experiment, the Dell CMO [chief marketing officer, Mark Jarvis] and Casey Jones [Dell's V-P of Global Marketing] who reported to him, both left Dell. So a lot of the impetus from those two obviously went with them. On the other hand, Erin Nelson, Dell’s current CMO, and others certainly saw the benefits from a dedicated agency. The concept itself, which is an agency tailored to the needs of a specific client, I think is still very relevant and in fact is going to become more relevant. And what clients want is the best resources working on their business, so if you can either from your existing resources or new resources fashion an agency that responds to their specific needs… I mean just think about it logically — it would be better to design an organisation for a client from scratch than to give them something from off the shelf.”
Well in Dell’s case exactly the opposite seems to be true. Y&R swooped in to reorganize, leaving CEO Torrence Boone in charge of day-to-day operations, but with creative prowess in Y&R’s hands. Boone cited “capability gaps” as part of the agency’s problem, which is not unexpected given the large task placed on his unformed agency’s shoulders. Clearly, an off-the-shelf agency with its feet firmly planted would have been better than the sapling-like Enfatico — no matter how driven they were to succeed.