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Accenture’s pitch to CMOs: we can save your job

Accenture Interactive offered an intriguing glimpse of its sales pitch to clients at ISBA’s annual conference yesterday.

Anatoly Roytman (above), the consultancy’s managing director for Europe, Africa and Latin America, demonstrated some of the tactics that won him Fiat Chrysler’s Maserati business from under the ad agencies’ noses last November.

Roytman warned the ISBA audience, “Marketers have to go beyond advertising and also think about the growth and the business. This makes the job much more complicated, which is why the life expectancy of the CMO is going down.. So we are trying to help CMOs to keep their job.”

After sounding the alarm bells, Roytman offered advice. He said, “We think CMOs are now in the best possible position, if only they go beyond what they have done for the last 70 years. They need to think about consumers and their experience, and this is a golden opportunity for CMOs to become a much more important part of the organisation than they have been.”

Naturally, Accenture Interactive has an “experience agency” to help. Roytman coined the term “cagency” to sum up Accenture’s marriage of consultancy and advertising, but as it sounds more like prison than partnership, it seems unlikely to catch on.

ISBA’s title for the event was “The Age of Accountability,” but “Take Back Control” quickly became the mantra of the day – despite the fact that Brexit barely got a mention.

A line-up of senior clients – including P&G’s Marc Pritchard, Walgreen Boots Alliance’s Elizabeth Fagan, RBS’s David Wheldon and Alex Aiken, the government’s executive director for communications – all spoke about the need to reclaim greater power and responsibility for every link in the supply chain.

Pritchard regretted “ceding power to the algorithms” and said it was “time to take back control,” in the same speech he gave to the US Association of National Advertisers last week.

Barclays marketers admitted they had spent 12 months working out how to take back control during an extended media pitch last year (won by Omnicom), during which they created a new blueprint for agency relationships that has no place for the commission model.

Agencies face tough times as their clients start to take more services in-house, and to demand greater transparency around the services they outsource. But the marketers admitted that they have just as much work to do as their agencies in breaking down silos and changing the system.

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