The recent acquisition of creative agency Droga5 by Accenture really did set tongues waging in the marketplace.
Are consulting firms really a better fit than advertising agencies? Are we really seeing the demise of creative agencies from being the real decision makers?
According to DigiDay, it’s probably still a long way off. The publication recently interviewed three global media directors and their comments certainly offered some food for thought.
They felt consulting firms were good at telling marketers what they are doing wrong with their media budgets, while agencies were good at turning those deficiencies into realistic action points.
In one case, the advice from a consulting firm was ‘questionable’ at best, and the recommendations were ‘shallow’.
Since the consulting firm had better relationships with the C-suite personalities, their arrogance was always plain to see.
Unfortunately, the respondents told the publication that most of these consulting firms do not have the expertise to ‘bridge the chasm between strategy and media activation’.
Smaller consultancies are often roped in to pick up the slack.
However, since strategic-level thought leadership and strategic counsel continues to be how one gets a foot in the door, there will definitely be a blurring of lines between consulting firms and advertising agencies as we go along.
At the same time, not all marketers are disillusioned with consulting firms as well.
The head of media at a technology business, believes they can successfully close that disconnect between strategy and execution.
In this case, Accenture Interactive helped the advertiser overhaul the way it devises media strategies for its agencies to buy.
“My experience with Accenture was positive as they offered a good strategy and understanding of what our issues were,” said the head of media.
Of course, the consulting firm wanted to play a more active role in how it spent its media budgets. This where it gets tricky.
The media director at the communications advertiser believes there is “an inherent conflict in the consultancies auditing and buying media.
This is because consulting firms like Accenture Interactive and Deloitte Digital are openly aligned with the technology giants such as Google and Facebook.
Kees de Jong, co-founder of ad tech consultancy Uncommon People, says that since these firms have partner programs with these technology giants, they will receive compensation as they are effectively resellers.
Ultimately, many advertisers aren’t aware of these relationships or don’t know how to ask, and that is the real danger to the marketplace as a whole.