LONDON: The onward march of consultancies into the traditional territory of agencies continues with the head of Accenture’s digital marketing arm outlining a focus on the brand experience.

Anatoly Roytman, managing director of Accenture Interactive for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, noted that the disruption of digital means that brands’ needs are no longer centred around advertising and marketing but embrace all the touchpoints that make up the customer experience – and more.

Speaking to Campaign, he suggested that Accenture Interactive was leading the way towards a new type of agency – the experience agency of record, with capabilities ranging from design to user experience, data and analytics to customer relationship management, content to advertising and programmatic.

“We are close to being able to do the entire spectrum,” he said. “We want to partner our clients and become the custodian of the brand experience.”

Six months ago, Michael Roth, CEO of Interpublic Group, dismissed the threat posed by consulting businesses like Accenture, arguing “they can't offer the depth of resources that we offer – the creative capabilities that we have.

“The other part of it is: we bring in media, we bring in PR, we bring in experiential, we bring in digital, all working together. They just have the digital piece.”

But Roytman’s US colleague Glen Hartman warned that the traditional agency-client model was out of date and cited the example of Accenture's relationship with an auto manufacturer. (For more, read WARC’s report: Agencies and consultancies compete for minds of marketers.)

“It's a three-year project. We have a thousand people (working on it),” he said. “They're outsourcing all their marketing to us, in every way. We get paid on net new cars sold only – no time and materials, no fixed bid, none of the normal definitions of that.”

Hartman argued that such a relationship empowers a CMO, since it ties marketing to a measurable sales metric.

As consultancies encroach onto agencies’ terrain, the latter are looking at how they can do the opposite, according to Roytman. “The holding companies are trying to become more like us,” he said. “They’re trying to become a mixture of consulting plus creativity.”

But he added that they faced “a big, big challenge” which could only be tackled by some serious internal restructuring.

“To ensure you have the correct set-up, when you have so many [agency] brands that are not collaborating, that are not integrated, it’s very difficult,” he said. “They have to collapse themselves and create one P&L.”

Data sourced from Campaign; additional content by WARC staff