Agencies seeking to raid consultancies for data 'unicorns'

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 6 July 2015

They've been called the unicorns of the media industry, with data analytics and performance talent hard to find. Media agencies however, are increasingly eyeing up consultancies such as PwC and Accenture as fertile hunting grounds.

Speaking during a wide-ranging discussion on finding digital talent, both GroupM agency MEC and independent shop Bohemia Group told AdNews that they were increasingly talking to digital talent within the consultancy landscape about making the switch to the media industry.

“I think in data and performance the good ones are a rarity these days,” partner and head of digital at Bohemia Group James Collier told AdNews recently.

“We still start in the current media industry to see if there's anybody we want to have a conversation with, but we broaden our horizons.

“We're looking publisher-side as well, into their analytics teams...and we've also started to look at consultancies like PwC, Deloitte, and are starting to have conversations with those people.”

Collier is in a good place to judge what sort of digital talent is needed to run a great digitally focused agency, after all, it took out AdNews Agency of the Year on the back of its strength in digital.

MEC chief executive Peter Vogel also told AdNews that he was also looking at consultancies for analytics talent.

“The analytics and insights I think, is what more and more media agencies are looking for beyond other media agencies. They're again coming from different industries, maybe even consulting businesses such as Accenture,” Vogel said.

“They might come from an accounting background, or they could have a mathematical background and we start getting them into algorithms.

“They are a lot more focused on being able to able to work with large sets of data and be able to pick out trends. That is outside of our industry, definitely.”

MEC recently revealed to AdNews that it had reworked to put structure to put digital at the heart of its upper management. The re-structure focuses on the five pillars of strategy, trading, performance, analytics and insight, and content production.

At the head of these will be people who live and breathe digital, so Vogel's been on a recruitment drive.

Other media buyers speaking on background said they were looking for digital talent outside of agency land, with consultancies seen as one of the more fertile grounds for talent.

The fight for talent comes as consultancies such as Deloitte eye up the media space, launching bespoke digital and strategy products to try and prise ad dollars away from agency land.

In May, Isobar CEO Konrad Spilva told AdNews that it was increasingly coming up against consultancies, particularly in the digital space.

“Every week or two we’re competing against Deloitte, Accenture, PwC and BCG. More around these digital transformation briefs and organisational redesign briefs. Some are our existing clients and some are new business opportunities,” he said.

Keep your eyes peeled on AdNews for more on digital talent later this week.

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