Why Consultancy entering the Marcom industry is not a threat (but a Gift from Heaven)

By Wilmar Tax, 18 May 2020

A while ago I saw a Cannes Lions talk, presented by Warc: “The Future of Strategy”. Warc did an extensive piece of research amongst strategists (N=800). One of the results showed strategist see consultants entering the (traditional) Marcom industry as the biggest threat to the industry. What a shocker! And I don’t mean the fact that consultants enter the industry, but that strategists see it as a threat. I would expect the industries conscience to be a bit more open minded.

Ok, I understand businesswise the threat is real as “(...) four consultancies have cracked Ad Age's ranking of the ten largest agency companies in the world. (...) [T]he marketing services units of Accenture, PwC, IBM and Deloitte sit just below WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, Interpublic and Dentsu” (Source: AdAge), but strategists should view it from a strategic perspective right, and not let the business numbers fog their view too much.

However, we are all consultants right? “Someone who advises people on a particular subject” sounds a lot like what my job as a strategist is. Whether you are in media, comms, branding, digital or pr: we advise our clients what choices they should make.

And even if we do feel we are different from consultants: isn’t it part of our role within agencies, but also towards clients to get infused by various perspectives? And if you agree with that, wouldn’t you also agree a more business or overall marketing perspective actually enriches the view we ourselves have on the client’s challenge? When I worked in communications I was always interested in the media perspective of things; when I worked in branding I wanted to know what the PR perspective was. Strategists should be the ones that lead clients and their own agencies teams out of the tunnel vision and into the broader perspective of things.

I say let’s embrace the new perspective big consultancy firms bring to the table and make magic together. Let’s see where and how we can learn from each other. Let’s hope people move from one type of agency to the other and further grow and make the industry as a whole better. After all we’re all here to help clients grow their brands and business.

Wilmar Alex Tax

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Photo by Hessam Hojati on Unsplash.