M&A: How Marketing Can Gain a Strategic Role in the Process

Marketing and Advertising Media | Diane L. Walsh | Oct 15, 2019

The business world is rapidly evolving. Industries across the globe are experiencing increased competition, aging workforces, and regulatory shifts that are leading to consolidation. Many of these consolidations occur through mergers and acquisitions. On the surface, it may look like marketers do not and should not participate in this process. However, owning a seat on the merger team is actually one of the most important responsibilities a marketer can have. The strategic perspective that marketers bring to the discussion table is critical to a successful venture.

So, how do marketers get a seat at that table? It starts with a fundamentally basic, but difficult task: asking to be included. Marketers keep an eye on the pulse of the business landscape, and that insight proves vital in determining whether an M&A transaction makes sense. Does the venture provide company growth in a geographical location? Are there potential leadership candidates that would be joining the firm? Does the candidate firm possess expertise in an industry or service line that the firm would benefit from? These are just a few questions that marketers think about daily and should be considered at the beginning of the M&A process.

Once a place at the table has been secured, it’s essential for marketing to explore the cultural impact of the deal. Why do these two firms want to join forces? Are they culturally compatible? What does each side consider the key to a successful merger? And, most importantly, what goals and objectives does each side have that marketing can help them achieve.

The third aspect of having a seat at the table is execution. Whether the companies are blending together, or one is essentially absorbing the other, the process takes time. The typical marketing integration period is two years, and the earlier that marketing is involved in the transaction and transition, the more time they will be able to spend on strengthening the brand of the firm.