WPP CEO Mark Read promised a while back that the ad giant was back on the M&A trail and he’s been as good as his word, today snapping up Edinburgh-based mobile technology provider NN4M.
NN4M will be rolled into Wunderman Thompson Commerce. NN4M specialises in ecommerce using mobile and in-store channels. It employs 50 people and clients include Selfridges & Co, Nestlé and River Island.
Read’s approach differs from rivals Publicis and Interpublic who have both spent big on Sapient and Epsilon (Publicis) and Acxiom (IPG.) Dentsu completed its major purchase of US CRM firm Merkle early last year. Read, who sold a majority stake in research arm Kantar to Bain soon after the taking the reins, seems to be avoiding big data bets, preferring to add specific extra resources to his existing properties.
The Wunderman element of Wunderman Thompson has been a direct marketing leader for decades.
Like others, WPP has clearly decided that its traditional offerings – advertising and media buying – will only thrive if it can provide all the other elements of digital business (specifically ecommerce) which have hitherto mostly been the preserve of the big consultants.