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FEATURE7 August 2018

Managing expectations

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Do management consultancies represent a threat, an opportunity, or simply a wake-up call to the market research industry? Katie McQuater takes a look.

The march of the management consultancies has been observed throughout marketing industries in recent years, and research is no exception. With their scale and C-suite level client relationships, these relatively new entrants to the insight space are, undoubtedly, making their mark on the industry – and whether agencies see them as a threat is a matter of some debate.

Consultancies have been conducting various forms of research for a while – McKinsey, for instance, has been funding management research since the 1950s. Recently, however – as client marketing budgets become stretched and marketers need to justify every penny of spend, while simultaneously attempting to understand more about what customers want – consultancies such as Accenture, KPMG and Deloitte have gradually taken on more of the work traditionally done by agencies. 

The most tangible evidence of the trend is consulting firms acquiring agencies, mirroring their attempts to bolster their expertise in the advertising industry by buying ...