Last year we announced in our report about tools and technology for content marketing that:

Marketers must mix service providers and software solutions to serve their needs . . . vendors bifurcate into service partners and software solutions.

Increasingly, we’re seeing those two camps – the service providers, usually agencies, and software tools – merge in the market. Last year, WPP took a small, strategic stake in Percolate to “strengthen its capabilities in fast-growing sectors.” Then, yesterday, Havas Media announced a strategic partnership with Newscred thus:

NewsCred’s cloud-based software, combined with Havas Media Group’s expertise and data analytics, gives clients access to an unrivalled and fully integrated management tool covering the complete content marketing value chain across all platforms: from content strategy and planning to production and validation through to content curation and publication. 

I spoke with Newscred’s CEO, Shafqat Islam, to cut through some of the jargon and tell me what this means. The two will elevate an informal relationship into a specific go-to-market strategy where Havas provides strategy, creative and paid media/analytics, while Newscred’s in for the content technology backbone and its licensed and original content offerings.

The two have already taken the proposition to market with two major global industrial brands signing recent six-figure USD deals, where Havas was the official contracting party, and Newscred an integrated part of the delivery.

Shafqat told me he’s seeing more and more RFPs that want the whole content marketing enchilada, tech and services combined. And, from his perspective, he’s of course delighted to gain new brand logos through the agency channel.

The Newscred, Percolates and their peers of the world have one mission in mind: Become the Engagement Operating System for leading brands. And the deeper they’re able to work their way into marketing execution, via marketers or agencies or both, the greater their odds. A key part of the agreement between Newscred and Havas Media seems to be the training and incorporation of Newscred deep into Havas' teams and workflows.

While some marketers drive the integration of technology and services, others will get it by default. For the latter: Be advised you’ll often be buying content marketing technology when you select an agency for content marketing, whether that’s made explicit or not. And note that that tech just may end up staying onboard longer than the agency.

The pipes remain after the plumber’s left.

** It’s worth noting that, on the same day that Havas announced its play with Newscred, Publicis Group announced its acquisition of Paris-based Relaxnews, an online content creator, for $17+ million. Relaxnews will become part of Publicis’ ZenithOptimedia offering. This is not a technology play, but rather acquisition of a product akin to Newscred’s licensed and original content network offering.