Accenture wins Maserati as first global experience agency client

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Accenture Interactive is to be the global experience agency of record for Maserati with an all-encompassing role covering customer experience, brand, creative, content and programmatic media.

Maserati, the Italian-owned luxury car brand, is the first client to appoint Accenture Interactive as global experience agency of record.

Karmarama, the London ad agency which Accenture Interactive bought a year ago, will be the lead creative shop on the global account.

Consulting giant Accenture has tried to position Accenture Interactive as an experience agency that can manage every "touchpoint" of the customer experience.

It is part of Accenture’s strategy of expanding into marketing services and challenging the traditional role of ad agencies.

Maserati wants Accenture Interactive "to help enhance the full Maserati customer experience across all digital channels", to "expand global sales" and to "extend Maserati’s brand equity around the world".

Accenture Interactive "will be responsible for digital brand strategy, digital advertising, digital content production, campaign management and analytics services", the company said.

"Among its goals are maximising Maserati’s investments in supporting and enhancing the end-to-end customer journey while maintaining the sophistication, elegance and style of the Maserati brand."

Jacob Nyborg, the head of marketing at Maserati, said the car company needed a global agency because it has grown from a niche high-end manufacturer that sold only a few thousand cars a year into a bigger-selling luxury brand that sells 50,000 vehicles annually.

"This is a fairly new thing," Nyborg said, explaining why Maserati previously did not have a global creative agency and why it now made sense to team up with an agency with worldwide scale.

Accenture Interactive has "the capabilities to manage our customer touchpoints holistically so we can deliver great experiences," he said.

The agency will develop a global strategy and then implement it locally in what Nyborg called a "scissors" approach.

It will focus on Maserati’s eight leading markets, which include the US, China, Germany, the UK and the Middle East. Those markets account for about 85% of its global sales.

Accenture has coined the term "experience agency of record" and Nyborg said using "experience" is "not a bad word" to describe its role because Maserati needs a joined-up approach, particularly in digital which is "our primary battlefield".

He said it was important to take what he described as a horizontal approach, rather than just think about vertical stages, when managing the customer journey.

"There are so many value propositions within digital and marketing," he said. "In a very vertical world, one [marketing] vertical can produce phenomenal results [in terms of return on investment]. But the customer is not vertical. The customer sees the world as horizontal."

Maserati is not increasing its marketing spend. Nyborg, who declined to reveal the size of his budget, said: "We have taken the resources we spend across the globe and collected them in one pot. 

"We will be much better at understanding data and consumer behaviour. We will understand the data and act on the data. We will create much better content across the customer journey."

He went on: "I hope there will be an immediate impact on the customer experience."

Maserati will do programmatic in-house with Accenture Interactive’s help – again something that is "relatively new", Nyborg said.

Publicis Media will continue to handle traditional media-buying, after Starcom won most of the global media account for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the parent company of Maserati, a year ago.

Interpublic’s UM holds the media-buying account in the US and Cohn & Wolfe handles Maserati’s social media globally.

Nyborg said it was important that Accenture Interactive, Starcom and Cohn & Wolfe work closely "as one single team" and some staff will be located together. Maserati is based in Modena, Italy.

Anatoly Roytman, managing director of Accenture Interactive in Europe, Africa and Latin America, told Campaign in September that it wanted to be the experience agency of record.

"In our role as Maserati’s experience agency, we will move beyond the historical silos of business and marketing to create a horizontal and connected approach to creativity and develop remarkable customer experiences that drive business growth," he said, describing how it is creating "a comprehensive marketing strategy" for the client.

"What’s interesting is that it will go beyond manufacturing. It will include dealer engagment and after-sales. It will be full circle."