Last week, Clearwater International announced that it had advised eCRM specialist Creator on a sale to marketing services business Inspired Thinking Group (ITG) which is backed by Bridgepoint Development Capital. Creator specialises in eCRM and works with customers including Virgin Media and TUI.
The transaction highlights two of the key trends in most marketing services groups’ M&A strategies today – data analytics and digital. Creator’s services help its clients to more effectively harness their customer data in order to build highly bespoke digital communication strategies. As ITG CEO Simon Ward commented:
“Marketers increasingly rely on timely, relevant and personalised communications as they engage with customers across multiple channels. Providing the detailed customer intelligence to support marketers in developing their communications strategy is at the core of what Creator does. The acquisition of Creator appreciably extends our proposition in the era of big data and the company’s expertise perfectly complements the marketing services we currently deliver to our clients.”
It’s been a busy week in the marketing services world. The day before the acquisition of Creator was announced, US agency Merkle announced the acquisition of UK business dbg, an agency which specialises in the optimisation of client data, and Dentsu Aegis continued its European charge with the acquisition of Dutch creative digital agency Achtung. UK-listed agency Tangent Communications has also been the subject of a bid from consolidator Writtle Holdings this week which may trump the offer from its own management team – the offer values the business at €9.75m (£7.6m).
The industry has always been one characterised by a high volume of M&A but as the major agencies try to fill in gaps in their data and digital propositions, 2016 looks to be busier than ever.