A couple of weeks ago, Ad Age highlighted the activities of management consultancies in the ad business. Considering the engagements that IBM, McKinsey, and Accenture are undertaking, process and left-brain thinking seem to be the focus. Which means that right-brain thinking, i.e. creative, remains untouched, right? Wrong.
Today’s consulting engagements may focus on operational efficiency, or the expense side of the equation. Going forward, more measurement projects will happen and their learnings will circle back to customer strategy – driving right-brain decisions focused on demand generation and revenue. Don’t expect your consultants to storyboard the next long-form ad or define next year’s colour palette – but these companies are closer to creative than you think. They just don’t publicize their behind-the-scenes work that leads to pencils, lions, and gold stars.
The businesses most directly at risk from this? Measurement companies – within holdcos and independents. The scale of consultancies will be hard to match and independents in particular will need to find a niche focus.
The benefits? Ad planning gets more efficient. Creative becomes more relevant. Clutter is reduced. These are things that are happening already, but greater competition in the services mix serves as a catalyst in the process.
Disclosure: Elana previously worked at Accenture and I worked at PwC.
By the way, you may have also noticed that we haven’t blogged for a few weeks. We’re following one of Forrester’s best practice blogging rules: "don’t blog unless you have something to say."