News of IPG's 2.3 billion dollar acquisition of Acxiom a year ago saw in a spree of holding company mega-acquisitions as data became a key ingredient of the industry’s future plans. Now, the added expertise as well as technical firepower has resulted in a handful of new business wins, says IPG.

This is according to Digiday, which reported comments by IPG’s Chief Strategy Officer, Philippe Krakowsky in which he discussed how the company was keeping its $2.3bn subsidiary focused on its core business while working on proofs of concept. “[W]e are being very thoughtful about how and when we engage them,” he explained.

Still, the acquisition has caught the eye of a number of new clients. “Acxiom people and capabilities have played an important part in some significant new business wins,” Krakowsky wrote in an email, though he declined to elaborate.

In particular, he noted how clients have been attracted by an increased interest in data-management expertise. “When it comes to data privacy, and the ways in which companies need to approach data in an age of increased scrutiny and regulation, we can also now bring [an] expertise and credibility that would have been more challenging without a company with Acxiom’s pedigree.”

Meanwhile, the company is also working to integrate Acxiom’s capabilities across its media agencies at a senior level, including UM, Initiative, Cadreon and Reprise; its digital and CRM capabilities and healthcare shops, comprising FCB and McCann’s Health practices, R/GA, MRM, and Huge. IPG has been working to train senior-level employees to explore how better to collaborate across disciplines.

However, the question of how an advanced data capability will fit in with the group’s creative agencies remains. As Krakowsky notes, these relationships will “vary widely”, from using audience data to enhancing the messaging and more. Analysts suggest that this will be the real challenge.

But it is a challenge that all of the major holding groups are thinking about. Aside from the high-profile WPP sale of Kantar, which seemed to go the other way, and Omnicom’s resistance to the idea, the biggest news have come out of Publicis Groupe when it spent $4.4 billion on Epsilon. The deal, similar to IPG’s, brought the company not only a vast hoard of data, but an army of data scientists to deal with it and overlay other sources to fulfil the client need.

Krakowsky agrees: “What we feel very strongly about is that owning the highest level of capability and expertise in data management is a significant, and increasingly necessary, asset in today’s world.”

Sourced from Digiday, WARC