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PwC accelerates SaaS strategy as latest round of solutions aim to solve marketers’ business challenges

In a series of conversations with PwC leaders during the past quarter, TBR learned more about the company’s growing products portfolio, including PwC Customer Link and PwC Media Intelligence, in addition to receiving an update on PwC’s CMO advisory practice. TBR spoke with Brian Morris, Customer Analytics and Marketing lead overseeing PwC Customer Link, and Derek Baker, CMO Advisory lead overseeing PwC Media Intelligence. While each capability serves a specific client need, a common approach and business models suggest PwC is accelerating its portfolio transformation without losing sight of the need to deliver outcomes.

Productizing knowledge while relying on trust expands PwC’s addressable market opportunities with the marketing department and beyond

As PwC continues to evolve its business model, the firm’s push into selling products not only expands PwC’s addressable market opportunities but also elevates its brand, compelling software incumbents to pay closer attention. Both the PwC Customer Link and PwC Media Intelligence solutions are part of the PwC Products catalog and support the firm’s goal of driving SaaS and managed services sales. While both products enable marketing departments’ transformation discussions, each also bolsters PwC’s value proposition with noncore buyers, including chief digital officers and chief data officers, as well as internal audit departments in the case of PwC Media Intelligence.

Relying heavily on its PwC CMO Advisory practice, as well as other areas of the firm, such as its network of Experience Centers, as the medium to introduce these offerings helps PwC drive conversations for cross-selling and upselling services. Solving complex issues around managing customer data is an ever-challenging task for clients. Productizing knowledge through the development of pointed solutions helps PwC address client pain points and close business technology gaps. As PwC continues to build client use cases by selling, deploying and managing these solutions, we expect the firm to continue to approach clients through its fundamental lens: helping marketers solve business challenges.  

Solution overview

PwC Customer Link differentiates on its ability to not only connect offline and online data but also to integrate third-party data and provide analytics around it, as the solution uses various data depositories. Key features include Data Manager that handles first-party and all digital data; Insights Manager that allows PwC to perform better analytics segmentation down to the audience level; and Orchestration Manager that supports buyers’ omnichannel campaigns. Additional features include PwC’s ability to work through a technology-agnostic lens and offer supplemental capabilities with cloud data providers such as Salesforce and Adobe.

As COVID-19 pressures DMS opportunities, vendors seek alternative channels to increase brand stickiness

Key insights

While marketing and advertising initiatives take a back seat, at least temporarily, digital transformation programs continue to mature as enterprises explore new connection points made possible by emerging technologies that help them embark on initiatives beyond discrete process areas.

The 19 vendors benchmarked by TBR in our Digital Transformation: Digital Marketing Services report felt the impact of the pandemic as their average digital marketing services (DMS) revenues grew just 3.3% year-to-year in 2Q20, a drastic decline from 20.1%  five years ago.

Buyers’ patience seems to be wearing thin as vendors have failed to deliver on the promise of digital on their marketing campaigns and respective ROI.

TBR’s Digital Transformation: Digital Marketing Services Benchmark addresses changes in leading digital transformation vendors’ strategies and performances as well as their investments and go-to-market positions within marketing and advertising segments. The report includes use cases; analysis of agencies’, IT services’ and consultancies’ management of their technology partnerships and acquisitions; and a forward-looking view around key market trends, implications to customers and vendors, vendor performance, and associated technologies enabling digital transformation opportunities. Region-specific market trends are also highlighted in the report.

DMS market will return to growth in 2021 as vendors explore new ways to engage audiences

After a major slowdown in 2020, largely due to vendors’ inability to conduct face-to-face workshops and buyers’ hesitation to invest in new proof-of-concept areas, demand for strategy services will gradually rebound. Growth will come from two primary areas. First, buyers will continue to orient any advisory spend toward brand awareness, as creating business value that addresses brand health challenges and/or helps brands integrate digital into offline experiences remains a critical connection, especially as COVID-19 widens the gap between brands and consumers. Second, buyers that are further along the digital transformation maturity continuum will seek guidance to implement customer experience (CX) frameworks enabled by emerging technologies, including AI and machine learning, to optimize their back-office and supply chain operations. Vendors with broad-based relationships across the C-Suite will be positioned to win as long as they can overcome internal politics, particularly around data sharing.

While creative services, like strategy, will face initial headwinds, in the long run it will remain the fastest-growing service line. Marketers will remain true to their core and constantly test new ways to provide personalized, human-centric messaging. While the trend is nascent, we believe creating short documentaries will overtake traditional advertising and marketing campaigns. Connecting human experiences through a short story while incorporating behavioral, professional, purchasing and social data will become a way to generate brand awareness without sounding like a traditional ad.

TBR’s Digital Transformation: Digital Marketing Services Benchmark addresses changes in leading digital transformation vendors’ strategies and performances as well as their investments and go-to-market positions within marketing and advertising segments. The report includes use cases; analysis of agencies’, IT services’ and consultancies’ management of their technology partnerships and acquisitions; and a forward-looking view around key market trends, implications to customers and vendors, vendor performance, and associated technologies enabling digital transformation opportunities. Region-specific market trends are also highlighted in the report.

The 4 P’s of marketing – people, process, partners and platforms – emerge behind AI and compel vendors to adopt S-centric frameworks

 

digital marketing services infographic, 4 P's marketing

Market dynamics will evolve in the next 5 years, with voice and video the core conduits for trusted and tangible AI-based marketing campaigns

The digital marketing services (DMS) market will grow at a CAGR of 16.2% from 2017 to 2022, reaching $125 billion, as organizations across geographies adopt artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled, customer experience-based voice and video solutions to run outcome-based campaigns addressing business pain points beyond brand awareness. Marketing in the moment frameworks will continue to dictate the shift toward hyper-personalization as consumers’ attention becomes the new currency and creates opportunities in areas such as omnichannel delivery and intelligent operations.

The shift from brand awareness to activation and support results in four new P’s of marketing — people, process, partners and platforms — leading to data management issues and opportunities. Winning vendors can adopt “S”-centric frameworks that emphasize closing skills gaps, delivering at scale and being in sync with partners’ visions, and addressing customer data silos through the development of interoperable and secure solutions.

Portfolio and go-to-market transformation and AI solution integration will be among the levers vendors can use to capitalize on a growing DMS market. Feeding the hype of AI could be a double-edged sword if technology and services vendors cannot deliver on the promise to shift the perception of marketing from a cost center to a business value driver.

AI-based voice and video platforms will increasingly take center stage as enablers for delivering campaigns in hybrid marketing environments, helping brands better connect consumers’ offline and online professional, purchasing and social behavior data. Technology partnerships and expertise in integrating platforms such as IBM Watson, Google and Adobe Sensei in the business-to-business segment and Amazon Echo and Google Home in the business-to-consumer segment will be key to services vendors’ success. The inability of vendors to recruit and retain talent with skills in these technologies might hinder market share as vendors are unable to address tasks at speed. Lastly, within the next two years, the broad-based adoption of AI across omnichannel platforms will reduce the need for multiple vendors to support engagements, and will also result in new opportunities in intelligent marketing operations.

For more information, contact Senior Analyst Bozhidar Hristov ([email protected]).