Earlier this morning, Procurian announced that it had acquired Media IQ, a boutique software, services and information firm and one of the leading North American specialists in media auditing, measurement and benchmarking. Media IQ competed with Accenture (Accenture Media Management, formed from the 2005 acquisition of Media Audits), Ebiquity, Cortex Media and Media Management in a rather cottage industry of boutique specialist media audit, measurement and benchmarking providers (each who attempts to differentiate based on several methods -- geography, reach, benchmarking, analytics, etc.).
We'll feature our full coverage of the acquisition, including customer and competitive BPO implications on Spend Matters PRO in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, competitors should take note of this deal, as it makes Procurian the only procurement BPO provider with a significant claim on end-to-end category management of marketing spend, including benchmarking, auditing and measurement.
Granted, while Accenture has a group that carries out similar auditing as Media IQ gained through acquisition as well, it is not closely integrated with their broader procurement BPO offering -- nor is their broader marketing services offering directly comparable on a solution basis. Moreover, Infosys, Genpact, Proxima, IBM and others will be at a competitive disadvantage without a similar asset.
The Media IQ team was small but expert -- some dozen employees serving 25 customers (with minimal overlap with Procurian). Here's the specific on what Media IQ does from the announcement: "Media IQ quantifies and tracks the dimensions that drive media advantage. By leveraging a single scoring system, Media IQ helps marketers pinpoint where media value has been lost, provides wider marketplace context, and recommend course-correcting action. Ongoing benchmarks ensure that positive value trends can be reinforced while negative value trends can be quickly identified and resolved."
Procurian's marketing spin on the news suggests a formidable practice in marketing category management for companies: "With this addition, Procurian now offers unmatched spend optimization solutions for marketers, with more than 70 specialists actively managing approximately $7 billion of spend each year, across 40 blue-chip clients ... The combination of Procurian and Media IQ delivers a truly end-to-end marketing spend solution on a global basis that includes sourcing, management and measurement."
We'll save our analysis of the acquisition for a more detailed review of what Media IQ actually does -- and how it fits into an outsourced marketing practice like what Procurian delivers to clients. But in short, by focusing now on what's known as "above the line marketing spend" with Media IQ (i.e., spending on actual media campaigns, not agency fees, printing, or commercial production), Procurian is aiming to deliver something substantially different, deeper and more valuable than its procurement peers that just focus on "below the line" marketing procurement activities. If they succeed with Media IQ, Procurian will be able to claim that they don't just save marketing dollars for clients but rather improve measureable overall effectiveness of agency of record and campaign spend.
Stay tuned as our coverage continues.