Accenture Interactive has made a sport of snapping up digital agencies and folding them into its organization, a strategy which has turned it into the largest digital agency group in the world, with revenues north of $4.4 billion.
On Thursday, Accenture Interactive revealed it acquired MXM, the digital and CRM agency owned by magazine publisher Meredith Corp. for 46 years. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
MXM, which has long-term relationships with clients such as Kraft, Volkswagen and NBC, was looking for a new home as Meredith ingests its $1.85 billion acquisition of Time Inc., said Georgine Anton, president of MXM. The publisher has been undergoing a massive restructure, resulting in layoffs and the sale of iconic Time Inc. titles.
“This lets Meredith focus on the acquisition they’re swallowing and gives us a chance to expand,” said Anton, who will remain president of MXM. “This is all about growth.”
MXM’s expertise in CRM and digital content marketing jibes with capabilities Accenture Interactive wants to scale, said Jeannine Falcone, marketing lead in North America for Accenture Interactive.
“I understand the complexities of having strategy, analytics, marketing and data work together,” she said. “MXM has that part figured out.”
One area where MXM will bolster Accenture Interactive’s offering is B2C CRM. Accenture Interactive last year acquired Wire Stone, a digital marketing agency focused on B2B CRM, but that’s a very different market, Falcone said.
MXM will retain its clients as part of Accenture Interactive. But one of the agency’s defining value props was its ownership by Meredith, which has more than 800 points of consumer trend data per household on its 110 million paying subscribers. Access to that data keeps MXM on the bleeding edge of food and lifestyle trends, which align well with its client roster.
Given that relationship, MXM and Meredith have created a long-term transition plan that will continue providing the agency with access to consumer trend data as it gains a better idea of what it can leverage within Accenture Interactive.
“The thing we’ve really backed into over the years is consumer insights,” Anton said. “We’ll still be able to do that in the near term, and then we’ll build out similar stuff in the longer term.”
Meanwhile, Accenture Interactive has strong digital content capabilities that could bolster MXM’s work, Anton said.
MXM and its more than 500 employees across North America will eventually become part of the Accenture Interactive brand, working on cross-discipline teams with other Accenture-owned agencies such as Fjord and Karmarama.
Because Accenture Interactive operates under a single P&L, overlapping or competitive capabilities aren’t issues like they can be under a holding company model, Falcone said.
“We do not have competing agencies,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of acquisitions and everyone has a heritage, but now it’s all about capabilities. We will pull in the best resources to deliver the best experiences for our clients.”