Integration is a double-edged sword

As marketing and communications disciplines continue to merge, holding companies are tweaking their agency service offerings accordingly - but this will open up opportunities for small to mid-sized firms.

There are more and more holding company pitches and there is more consolidation of single-discipline individual brands under new structures designed to address this trend.

Last week, Ogilvy announced it is subsuming all its agencies under a single P&L, including its Ogilvy PR unit.

And, this week, PRWeek’s sister brand MM&M reported that WPP has merged its health offerings including Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, ghg, and Sudler & Hennessy under a single brand called WPP Health & Wellness.

In December 2015, Publicis broke down its disciplines and restructured into four solutions hubs, with each client being led by a chief client officer.

In this integrated world where the mix of paid, earned, shared, and owned media is more connected than ever, these moves make a lot of sense.

But there are still some issues to be aware of.

The increased integration will lead to more client conflicts and the new combined structures will have less freedom to work with more than one client in any given sector.

And these more unwieldy large organizations will struggle to fulfill smaller client briefs in the $1-5 million per year billing bracket, so opportunities will open up for firms that are better equipped, or more willing, to handle such business.

So, while the increased integration makes a lot of sense, and many clients are asking for this, it will also leave some business on the table for more nimble outfits where a $3 million a year contract is not chickenfeed.

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