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Agencies and Consultancies Collide

A few days ago, Jeremy Owyang engaged a lot of folks from traditional and boutique agencies when he reported that social boutiques are quickly taking a lot of business away from traditional agencies, and while his assessment is correct, his comparison would be complete if he added management consultancies.
click chart to enlarge
boutique-versus-agency-revenues

Every strategy firm and systems integrator is investing heavily to market themselves as savvy in the ways of social business transformation, but the social boutiques are winning in the market against management consultancies in many of the same ways that you describe in this blog post.

Yes, the traditional firms have the relationships, but, ultimately, relationships alone will not win this space. Success in this space requires a blend of skills and expertise from agencies and consultancies, and, in 2010, the consultancies started to hire experienced people away from the agencies.

Even so, expecting agencies and consultancies to blend the required skills is like asking a black horse and a white horse to each transform themselves into zebras; and they have to do it on their own unless we see an agency merge with a systems integrator or management consultancy.

I joined Converseon precisely because I believe that a new breed of consultancy is required to help global brands achieve significant business outcomes through social media -- a breed that did not exist 2 years ago, and a breed that must develop organically through intense focus on social media and the internal, operational transformation that it requires a brand to undergo.

As Jeremiah described, such organically developed firms may choose to join the family of an established firm that brings relationships and resources to the table, or such a firm may choose to continue in the market alone. In either case, each of the major agencies and consultancies will ultimately look outside themselves and their hiring pipelines to embed the required capabilities throughout their organizations.



FREE BOOK PREVIEW: Read a free chapter preview from The Social Media Management Handbook, just published by Wiley & Sons.
 

Email Chris Boudreaux

(415) 692-1250

@cboudreaux

Chris Boudreaux leads the Management Consulting practice at Converseon, where he helps leading brands to harness the power of social media to meet business objectives through his 17 years of experience in business process design, data integration, and governance. His work has been featured by industry researchers and journalists including Forrester and Gartner, and he founded SocialMediaGovernance.com, the foremost resource on governance in social media. Chris is co-author of The Social Media Management Handbook, and he has helped leading global corporations including Bank of America, Boeing, eBay, IBM, Kodak and Microsoft.

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