Ad holding giant IPG has roped in a former Deloitte Digital exec and invested $5 million to launch a new consulting firm geared at CMOs

  • Ad holding company Interpublic Group has launched a new consulting firm called Black Glass under former Deloitte Digital principal Katie Klumper to cater to chief marketing officers.
  • Black Glass draws on IPG's data hub Acxiom and other data sources, financial modeling, and internal and external specialists.
  • IPG is trying to compete with consulting giants like Accenture and a growing number of firms offering consulting services.
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Ad holding company Interpublic Group has launched a new consulting firm to help CMOs scrambling to navigate the pandemic and fend off giant consulting companies that are increasingly moving in on ad agencies' turf.

Black Glass is trying to capitalize on the growing role of data in marketing; marketing's expansion to nontraditional tactics; and the shift to project work. Its pitch is that it can help clients make fast business decisions using IPG's data hub Acxiom among other outside data sources, financial modeling and a network of internal and external experts. One client it named, BMW, said it's using Black Glass to tweak its 2021 advertising budget and save money on agency fees. 

Founder and CEO Katie Klumper said she believes her consulting and agency experience (she was a principal at Deloitte Digital and president at agency KBS) positions Black Glass well to understand brands' needs.

One of those is the shift to project work. While traditional consulting firms are known to charge hourly rates for months-long projects, Black Glass has a tiered membership model is designed to do projects lasting six to eight weeks, Klumpler said.

"Marketers have been talking about being consumer-centric for a long time, but I truly believe that there is no CMO-centric solution out there that is purpose-built for them," Klumper told Business Insider. "While this has been a pressing need for years, the pandemic has really brought home just how important it is for brands to respond rigorously and rapidly to changing marketplace conditions."

IPG's move comes as consulting giants like Accenture and Deloitte are trying to do more traditional ad agency work while other ad agencies like Omnicom and Dentsu Aegis Network-owned 360i  and other startups are pitching consulting businesses.

To that end, agencies have also scooped up consulting execs in recent months, such as Ogilvy, which named Andy Main, the former head of Deloitte Digital, as its global CEO this summer.

Black Glass also expands IPG's offerings at a time of economic uncertainty. IPG's third-quarter net revenue declined 5.2% year over year to $1.95 billion.  

"The CMO has become more of a business-oriented leader where marketing is just one of the domains, so it's an appropriate move for agencies to look to help their CMO clients beyond the marketing campaigns," Forrester consultant Jay Pattisall said. "One of the biggest problems plaguing agencies is that they come too late in the process. This is a good move that gives them the opportunity to have more of a strategic voice upstream and not be pigeonholed into just executing marketing campaigns."

IPG has invested close to $5 million into the consulting group, and plans to grow that over time, company spokesman Tom Cunningham told Business Insider. 

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