Accenture's next move: in-house trading desks

Accenture Interactive's move to help brands set up in-house media trading desks is "a big disruption" that potentially threatens media agencies, according to Pippa Dunn, the former chief marketing officer of EE.

Dunn: media agencies face ‘big disruption’
Dunn: media agencies face ‘big disruption’

She was speaking at a Campaign breakfast briefing where Joy Bhattacharya,  managing director and UK and Ireland lead at Accenture Interactive, revealed that the digital arm of the consulting giant was having "discussions" with clients about how it "can set up in-house trading desks" for them

He said: "We’ll set it up for them, we’ll help our clients man it and do whatever that is required."

Bhattacharya said brands were particularly focused on programmatic ad buying following problems with transparency in the digital media supply chain.

He maintained Accenture Interactive, which has rapidly expanded in the field of digital marketing by buying ten agencies, including Karmarama and Fjord, in the past five years, did not want to move into media buying.

"That’s a space we think our clients should own," Bhattacharya said. "We would like to help our clients build that capability in-house and drive complete transparency in that process."

While Accenture Interactive does not want brands to hand their media buying to the consulting firm, it is happy to do "everything else" because brands want increasingly to give consumers a joined-up and connected experience, according to Bhattacharya, who was speaking alongside Ben Bilboul, chief executive of Karmarama.

Dunn, who recently founded Broody, a company that invests in businesses and brands, said the in-sourcing of media buying brought major implications.

"I do think that’s a big disruption for the media agencies – and for clients as well because I don’t think we have necessarily the capabilities to do that," she said.

Dunn pointed out that it would require "quite a big organisational transition" for a brand to take media in-house.

Tristan Rice, partner at M&A company SI Partners, said the invasion of the consultants into marketing services was a growing trend that has driven up valuations for independent agencies with skills in design and user experience.

But he added: "It would be foolish to think the marketing world is going to sit on their hands while the consultants eat their lunch."

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