LONDON: Accenture’s acquisition of Karmarama in November last year sparked a flurry of debate about the role of consultancies in the marketing sector, but the chairman of the creative agency has “definitely no regrets” about the move.
At a time when the major agency networks, including Interpublic, Publicis and WPP, have reported disappointing financial results, Karmarama has grown “about 30%” according to Jon Wilkins.
“If we had gone in and become part of a network, knowing how they’re faring – with a lot of downward pressure, budget cuts, and challenges they’re facing – it’s quite nice to be riding something going the other way,” he told City A.M.
One of the reasons for that direction is the removal of one particular time-consuming and expensive agency task.
“They said if you don’t want to competitively pitch ever again, you don’t need to,” Wilkins said explaining that the consultancy had “all these doors open” and the agency could focus on simply pitching ideas.
“So a vast majority of our growth has come from non-competitive pitching to their existing clients, off a foundation of work where they’re already deeply embedded.”
Plus there’s the fact that those clients tend to be of the sizeable sort that agencies like to work with: Accenture already works with three quarters of the top 100 companies in the UK and the top 500 in the world, so “there’s clearly synergy”.
The consultancy’s global reach has also opened new doors in other ways. “Budgets aren’t going up but we’re being asked to produce more content,” Wilkins noted – but Accenture “can produce thousands upon thousands of high quality pieces of content in places like Mumbai at a hundredth of the cost of an ad network.
“They’ve got a lot of advantages built into their model.”
And while Karmarama has been able to tap into the consultancy’s links, there seems to have been little transfer of the new owner’s ways of doing things in the opposite direction.
“They’re very aware that the culture is all we’ve got,” Wilkins explained, “So, if anything, they’re almost scared of our culture. If we say there’s a problem they’ll sort of back off.
“I don’t think we’ve even started to really capitalise on the potential,” he added. “And I think our offer in some ways is ahead of our clients’ ability to purchase.”
Sourced from City A.M.; additional content by WARC staff