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2019 Trends: Mergers, Acquisitions And The Melding Of Traditional And Nontraditional Marketing

Over the last few years, companies and agencies that define the digital marketing space have experienced significant growth via mergers and acquisitions. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, we saw 100 agency-related deals worth a collective $4.6 billion, up from only 94 deals valuing $2 billion over the first three months of 2017.

More notably, these acquisitions are increasingly initiated by buyers with nontraditional marketing services backgrounds, evidencing the rise of digital-first and niche online solutions to the top of the industry. We are witnessing the gap between traditional and nontraditional strategies shrink as companies with disparate backgrounds merge to provide both specialty and scale of marketing services.

Building Out Your PESO Model

There is a growing expectation in the market that working with an agency can and should be a one-stop solution for all your marketing needs. The renowned PESO model (paid, earned, shared and owned media) is being implemented in its full scope more and more frequently, as agencies seek to best serve and retain clients. Combining strategies like the long-standing credibility of earned media and the customization and scalability of digital advertising platforms produces brand alignment across all channels. Moreover, an integrated approach recognizes the quality of content that today’s marketplace demands.

We are in an era of intense quality assurance; we desire real news from accredited sources, we search for answers with an expectation of finding the truth, and we want to trust what we consume online. With this attitude from consumers, the industry shifts to accommodate, such as media outlets combating misinformation and Google’s constant updates to promote a higher standard of content.

The insistence on content of the highest credentialed caliber highlights the necessity of an integrated approach even more. As a result, companies must create a marketing stack that not only includes but excels in each strategic area. As companies and brands create their marketing stacks, they must take measures to optimize across digital channels or risk falling behind.

Mergers And Acquisitions To Marry Techniques

What was once revered as revolutionary — the marriage of classic techniques like PR and earned media with newer platforms and technologies — is now compulsory. My company’s recent acquisition of SpeakerBox, an acclaimed PR firm, underscores this strategy to find both scale and capability through the integration of traditional and technological media services.

In recent years, we have made it a goal to build out our comprehensive PESO model. As a full-service digital marketing company specializing in brand strategy, reputation and advocacy, this acquisition enhances our expertise in traditional approaches, such as media relations, editorial content and thought leadership, rounding out our comprehensive suite of solutions at the intersection of search and social media marketing.

Combining traditional and nontraditional marketing tactics adds distinct and contributory value to a company’s marketing stack. The sum of each of these parts is a multiplier, not simply additive. Equally, agencies need to balance both the quality and quantity of services they provide, as expansion and consolidation continue to define our industry. In 2019, we will undoubtedly continue to see agency growth by mergers and acquisitions, as we all aim to identify and implement the perfect mix of solutions and deliver the highest value to our clients.


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