PwC appoints AANA's Gloster and Foxtel's Buckman to CMO Advisory board

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 13 March 2017
Mark Buckman and Sunita Gloster,

PwC will consult Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) CEO Sunita Goster and Foxtel MD of customer and retail Mark Buckman to help guide the firm on its new consulting business to marketers.

The pair will join a six-member CMO Advisory board as non-executive directors and the move won't affect their existing roles. 

They join PwC's chief creative officer Russel Howcroft; PwC CMO Mike McGrath; PwC Australia’s Entertainment and Media Outlook editor Megan Brownlow and PwC partner of The Difference, Lawrence Goldstone.

Howcroft says Gloster and Buckman's appointment would “turbocharge” and better connect the CMO advisory offering to the everyday concerns of marketers.

“Having industry leaders such as Mark and Sunita joining our CMO advisory board is a critical part of our growth strategy for this new practice,” he said.

“Since announcing our plans in December, we have been overwhelmed by the response from organisations who are looking for trusted, transparent and independent advice across a range of marketing and brand activities. When combined with our own internal experts, we are confident that the service we are offering is not only highly relevant, but also represents the very best thinking in the brand and marketing space.”

PwC pulled off a major coup when it convinced Ten Melbourne GM Howcroft to join the new business in December.

PwC's foray into the marketing advisory space aims to draw on the firm's expertise with numbers and data analysis to provide CMOs with strategic advice on how they should spend creative and media budgets, assess media peformance as well as marketing strategy.

The practice will have six areas of expertise including brand strategy, marketing strategy, market insights, marketing performance and analytics, marketing structure and operations and creative solutions.

While PwC's offering covers the broad scope of marketing, parts of these services, such as media planning and strategy encroaches on services traditionally provided by media agencies. Consultancies have increasingly been eyeing parts of this space as business advisors in recent years. They promise independent third-party marketing advice to help CMOs design more effective and cost-efficient marketing strategies that they can then share with agency partners.

The professional services Big Four - Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and E&Y - have so far focused on management consultancy advisory services for CMOs, more along the lines of media and marketing planning and strategy, rather than execution piece. PwC tells AdNews it has no interest in expanding into the execution of plans, including media buying. 

Accenture, a pure management consulting firm with a history of growing its service offering through acquisitions, is going further and looking to build a full service offering with the recent acquisition of one of the UK's largest independent ad agencies Karmarama.

This option isn't so attractive to professional services firms. Margins in traditional media are already lean and professional services firms with huge global audit arms couldn't use non-transparent programmatic trading or other shady practices to claw back margins. 

In the past decade, PwC, E&Y, KPMG and Deloitte have been rapidly building management consulting businesses to provide services to new industry sectors and functions of business to grow their businesses beyond the saturated audit market.

Conversely, media agencies and holding groups are looking to build their service offerings into areas that are typically the domain of global professional services firms, using data analytics across media planning, execution and analysis.

Although it's early days, it will be interesting to see how CMO advisory services grow and whether they alter the role and influence of media agency's in planning and strategy.

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