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The Influencers

Why Are Consultancies Snapping Up So Many Agencies?

INFLUENCER: &ROSÀS’ Kirsten Haack on Accenture’s latest acquisitions of Droga5, Shackleton, and why other agencies should be afraid

Why Are Consultancies Snapping Up So Many Agencies?

The purchase by Accenture Interactive of Shackleton, one of the biggest independent agencies in the Spanish market, confirmed the appetite of the big consultancy firms for advertising agencies (if it wasn’t confirmed already).

It was not the first, and it won’t be the last. Since its creation in 2009, Accenture’s digital marketing division has bought more than 20 specialist design, e-commerce and virtual and augmented reality businesses. And just the other week, it announced that it was buying Droga5.

The reason for this interest? In part, it’s because marketing today is much more than just making good advertising. In fact, today everything is in the communication business. The big consultancy firms have seen the chance to close the circle with their traditional services of financial, tax, legal, logistical, strategic and innovation advice… by adding marketing and communication services to the mix.

We must acknowledge the intelligence of Accenture Interactive – and of other consultancy firms who are also buying their way into the advertising world – in entering the market at the exact moment of the paradigm shift that we are now going through. And the big communication groups, with their networks of agencies, are going to find themselves struggling against this change in the advertising landscape. They will need to adapt, react and find new solutions for the needs of their clients

This resistance to change is due to having no vision of how to approach the future - the emergence and insurgence of the big digital platforms like Facebook, Google and Amazon have destroyed their main source of income. All the while they are restructuring their business models and reducing the costs in their dinosaur organisations to end the flow of red ink running over their share prices.

When going through massive change, it is much easier and much less painful to start from zero than to try and change the course of these enormous tankers. Witness the departure of Martin Sorrell from the leadership of WPP a year ago. He left to build from nothing a new agency that could find a better response to the needs of advertisers. All the signs point to very turbulent waters ahead for the world of marketing.



Kirsten Haack is head of business at &Rosàs

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