Friday, March 27, 2015

The Cutting Edge of the Mundane

Accenture has been buying up companies recently, quite a few of them in the digital marketing space. A cynical interpretation is that this is merely an example of a big fat company trying to use M&A to show that it is keeping up with the times, like an old guy on a scooter. But we know that the major players in corporate IT all watch each other's moves closely. If IBM, Cognizant, and Oracle see Accenture adding digital marketing capability, they are not going to ignore that.

The big IT consultancies always try to offer a complete service package, so that their clients never have to call another company to order something. That is a very big deal to them. The next obvious step for digital marketing at the capability level is to integrate it with corporate technology systems, so that DM becomes an organic blend of marketing, product development, and operations. For a large company with an existing corporate IT vendor, the ability to integrate marketing systems into their existing (complex) technological structure would be a godsend. Then they can just call their guy at Accenture instead of trying to remember which oddly named startup it is that handles that part of their marketing stack.

As digital marketing moves into the realm of the large corporate IT vendors, parts of it will become standardized and commoditized, and a significant amount of effort will be spent not on disruptively innovating the next big thing but on not rocking the boat. That will be a huge cultural transition for practioners who enjoy the current entrepreneurial climate, and it will be interesting to see how the industry communicates between its startup wing and its mega-IT wing.

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