FCB expands capabilities in areas like marketing automation, CRM with FCB/SIX Consulting

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Jacob Ciesielski, SVP Data and Technology and FCB/SIX president Andrea Cook.

FCB, one of the world’s largest global ad agency networks, says it will respond to the demand from its clients for more assistance with CRM, marketing automation and cloud-based service tools by launching a consulting arm that will run alongside itself digital specialist division.

The company has already been running FCB/SIX, which handles creative digital creative work, for about four years. The new division, FCB/SIX consulting, will focus exclusively on technologies that tend to represent the back-end infrastructure that supports digital and data-driven marketing. FCB/SIX Consulting will be based out of Toronto but will work with clients across North America, the company said.

Andrea Cook, the president of FCB/SIX who will oversee both groups, likened the technology that’s been deployed in many marketing departments to spaghetti, which FCB/SIX Consulting can now help them untangle.

“What we really found was just that there’s this fear among a lot of clients that they’re not going to make the right decisions” with technologies such as marketing automation and CRM, Cook told B2B News Network. “We joke about the fact that every client thinks their data is the worst.”

Cook said FCB believes it can offer a unique differentiator because there are already many agencies that focus on creativity and some boutique firms that focus technology, but few have expertise in both areas. FCB/SIX Consulting will remain vendor- and platform-agnostic, she said, given the high rate of change among the most popular tools that CMOs and their teams come to depend upon.

FCB/SIX’s existing clientele is about 35 per cent B2B, Cook said, or “B2B2C,” such as pharmaceutical firms whose products eventually make their way to consumers. Whereas FCB/SIX’s creative team might be at work on various marketing campaigns, the consulting division will most likely work on projects to source a CRM system or implementing Adobe’s tech stack, she said. Rather than walk away afterwards and leave marketing teams to deal with problems after the fact, however, FCB/SIX Consulting will also work with clients on a retainer structure where it makes sense.

“The question of in-house (vs) out of house is a game we play with a lot of clients. They’re always interested in understanding what they can manage and what they can’t,” she said. “We can bring in systems, but the truth is that a lot of times we never leave. We continue the relationship.”

Though the demand for some marketing and sales technology skills is high, Cook said the nature of the FCB group could prove highly attractive to job-seekers.

“One of our most valuable assets is the ability to have the most dedicated of tech developers who are still inspired by being part of a creative environment,” she said. “And it works the other way, too — having a communications group that’s inspired and influenced by a technology-oriented way of thinking is very powerful as well.”

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.