Last week, Accenture Interactive launched a new media service called Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services. The new service will include programmatic consulting services for in-housing media, media strategy, planning and implementation, and advertising technology services. It’s the first “official” foray into media from a consultancy. The marketing and advertising trade press label the move another effort to compete for marketing budgets that customarily reside with media agencies. The Wall Street Journal writes:

Headlines about new competition and agency anxiety attract eyeballs, but they distract from crucial questions marketers should be asking.

Why Would A Consultancy Enter A Commoditized Category Like Media Buying?

One reason is to deepen relationships among customers (consumers) and clients. Offering media services helps Accenture Interactive meet its mission to deepen the experiences it creates for customers. Media services also helps Accenture Interactive deepen its own relationships with clients as it pursues technology dollars migrating from CIO budgets to CMO budgets.

A second reason is lack of transparency on behalf of agencies. According to Scott Tieman, Accenture’s global head of programmatic services, Accenture Interactive formalized its programmatic offering in reaction to its clients’ continued concerns over opaque fee and compensation structures from their media agencies.

Who Should CMOs Trust For Programmatic Media?

CMOs should be leery of conflicts between marketing procurement auditing and media buying. The same organization that provides recommendations for marketing budget allocations and efficiencies should not also manage the media budget — much in the same way that the agency that creates the campaign should not be in charge of testing its effectiveness. Given that Accenture works for 95% of the world’s Fortune 500, Accenture Interactive must demonstrate clear protections and firewalls to avoid conflicts.

CMOs should look to multiple partners to ensure transparency and effectiveness of media, including media agencies for buying power and expertise, consultancies for oversight, and in-house teams for continuity. CMOs should blend their in-house teams with their external partners, whether an agency or a consultancy.

For more information about how to blend your agency resources, see my report, “Make Your In-House Agency Your Digital Agency,” or email me at