Matrix Monday: Walmart, P&G, Unilever Learn from Their Mistakes

literature on matrix management, matrix structuresOur Matrix Monday series which summarizes some of the limited available literature on the matrix, continues today with the slightly less academic, but no less valuable, Walmart, P&G, Unilever Learn from their Mistakes: Yielding to Lure of ‘Sexy’ Undeveloped Markets Can Be Bad for Business, by Jack Neff, Advertising Age, June 15, 2009.

Deciding what should be global and what local is a perennial challenge. Paul Polman is the only senior executive to have worked at each of three of the biggest consumer-product marketers of the past five years – Procter & Gamble, Nestle, and Unilever. He’s therefore seen various approaches to running global marketing in matrixed organizations.

In this short article he concludes that no single solution will work universally, even within the same company.

The article is interesting for examination of global/local split and how highly nuanced that can be, and it’s look at trends towards and away from centralization. Although written in 2009, there’s also more than a passing nod to the way that the internet and social media present a global -local quandary that marketers have yet to quite fully solve.

The three companies, along with Reckitt Benckiser, share their approaches, learning, and some of their tactics for managing the split, including moving people around.

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