Deloitte buys Magnetic's AI marketing business

11 September 2018

Deloitte Digital has added the artificial intelligence platform business of Magnetic Media Online. The AI platform will help deliver smarter targeting and insights, which Deloitte can then turn into action via its creative capabilities and software alliances. The deal will see Magnetic’s product and engineering employees join the consultancy’s Experience Services group.

It’s no secret that traditional consultancies are deep into the advertising game, looking to deliver a holistic marketing journey that spans consumer research, creative, ad buying, smart targeting, and customized consumer experience. The attractive offering also provides an opportunity to cross-sell the rest of their full suite of professional services.

Consulting firm heavyweights like Deloitte Digital and Accenture Interactive have snapped up marketing firms and creative agencies at a feverish pace, investing more than $1.2 billion into agency acquisitions in 2017. Deloitte, Accenture, IBM, and PwC already make up four of the ten largest providers of advertising services in the world.

The marketing and advertising competencies the firms have built up have a distinctively digital focus, as that’s where the ad money and consumers are increasingly heading. Joining the marketing game in the last decade, they can skip the old methods (untargeted mass media campaigns) and media focus (radio, print, TV), not unlike how less-industrialized countries can look to skip a couple steps and build Industry 4.0 factories from the get-go.Deloitte buys Magnetic's AI marketing businessIn order to create more relevant ad content and a better total customer experience, Deloitte has acquired the artificial intelligence platform of New York-based martech firm Magnetic Media Online. Founded in 2008, Magnetic’s machine learning technology determines optimal channel, timing, message, and content for every consumer interaction. The AI platform can analyze 350 million live user profiles alongside inventory and bid opportunities to deliver better performing marketing campaigns.

Marketing, like many other industries, is being reshaped by AI. A survey from Deloitte reveals that marketers expect their AI use to grow more than 50% over the next two years – driving better targeted campaigns, smarter personalization, and higher returns on investment.

"People's expectations for how brands should interact with them are higher than ever. They expect companies to provide interactions that are both personalized and have real-time relevancy in every channel," said Scott Mager, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and leader of Deloitte Digital's advertising, marketing and commerce practice. "We're helping our clients make the shift from siloed advertising and marketing to real-time cross-channel experiences that are consistent across media, web, mobile, social and in the call center, with a store associate, or at the register."

Combining Magnetic’s AI-informed smart targeting with Deloitte’s existing marketing and customer data capabilities – as well as its world-class creative and design offerings – means that the firm can deliver the right content to the right people, at the right time, across all channels.

As part of the deal, Magnetic’s product and engineering employees will join Deloitte Digital’s Experience Service group across a range of offices. “We know our unique machine learning expertise will help take customer engagement for marketers to a whole new level," remarked Corey Ferengul, executive chairman and CEO, Magnetic. “Together, we will build on this commitment by helping brands of all sizes engage more effectively with their consumers and create positive, profitable, long-lasting customer relationships.”


OneDigital buys Northwestern Benefit in company's largest acquisition yet

11 April 2019

Human resources and benefits consultancy OneDigital Health and Benefits has acquired Northwestern Benefit, the largest privately held benefits broker in Georgia.

Atlanta-based OneDigital has carried out an aggressive acquisition strategy in past years, completing 28 deals in 2018, as well as five in 2019 thus far. Its recent acquisitions have included consulting firms Paradigm Group, Cherry Creek Benefits, and Veritas Risk Services. OneDigital’s rapid expansion last year boosted annual revenue by $100 million in 2018, reaching $400 million.

OneDigital’s core offerings include strategic benefit advisory services, analytics, compliance support, human resources management technology, and insurance broking. The firm has more than 80 offices in the United States.

The consulting firm has continued its accelerated growth strategy with the purchase of benefits and HR consultancy Northwestern Benefit, which is also based in Atlanta. “This represents an exciting milestone for OneDigital, where our largest acquisition to date is also located right here in our home state of Georgia,” Adam Bruckman, CEO of OneDigital, said. “Northwestern lets us compete in the Atlanta benefits marketplace in an entirely new way.”OneDigital buys Northwestern Benefit in company's largest acquisition yetThe acquired firm was founded in 1996, and provides benefits, HR, compliance, wellness, education, and workforce planning advisory services to clients in George and across the US. Northwestern Benefit’s 150 employees will join OneDigital, bringing the firm’s headcount to over 1,600 employees, and its employer client count to approximately 50,000.

OneDigital’s chief growth officer, Mike Sullivan, highlighted Northwestern’s excellent sales culture and client service models as factors in the deal, while noting that the deal will significantly expand the firm’s middle market scale and capabilities. Sullivan expects more deals on the horizon, as OneDigital seeks to scale up further. “We expect north of 25 acquisitions again this year to bring us over the $500 million revenue threshold,” he said.

David Asbury, CEO of Northwestern Benefit, will join OneDigital as a senior managing principal. “As the benefits space continued to consolidate and we considered acquirers, it was incredibly important to me to find the right partner,” he said. “With OneDigital’s scale, reach and long-term vision, we knew our organizations would fit together and be stronger together right off the bat.”

As employment levels remain at record highs, employers are increasingly turning to effective and comprehensive benefits packages in order to attract and retain a dwindling pool of talent. HR and benefits firms help employers strategize the ideal benefits and compensation packages to get the talent they need, while doing so in the most cost-effective manner. “In a rapidly changing economy, an employer’s ability to attract and retain talent is often directly tied to the benefits they can provide, and OneDigital ensures we’re supplying our clients with the most robust health, wealth, and HR advisory services,” Bruckman said.