Readers fear incursion of IBM, other consultants

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IBM is the latest corporate management consultant to nudge its way into the advertising business. While some view the trend as an inevitable shift in an industry that needs redefining, others say the marketing world should be wary of these consultants. The majority of voters in Advertising Age's online poll said the consultants' movement into the ad industry could be dangerous.

Rodney Northern, managing partner of Nucleus Group, said the ad world may have a few things to learn from the consultants, but that doesn't mean they should get free rein. "Any help to make business more efficient would be helpful, but you cannot say you're a marketing consultant without experience and proven models," he said.

"Consultants who are not experienced advertising professionals cannot remotely understand the nuances and intricacies of an art form such as marketing and advertising-which ultimately is all about human behavior," said Rick Pike, senior VP-media director of Inter/Media Advertising.

Franklin Grippe, senior marketing designer, Prescolite, said the management consultants' involvement is inevitable unless marketing companies can take a cue from them. "Perhaps now the industry will develop its cross-functional competency from the inside-out, instead of waiting for the new entrants to challenge its position with a skill set that is not only well-respected, but in demand, forcing change from the outside-in," he said. "By not encouraging insiders to learn, apply and communicate what these consultants would bring to the table, the industry has made its own bed."

What you say: 72% of voters think the marketing world should be wary of the entry of consultants like IBM and McKinsey, saying consultants lack the creative background and experience. The other 28% say the ad industry must learn from how consultants go about transforming the industry.
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