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Accenture Buys Digital Marketing Agency For Technical, Creative Skill Set

Services giant Accenture announced this week that it has acquired Wire Stone, a 200-person agency that excelled in marketing projects that combine strategy, design and technology.

Accenture, aiming to enhance its creative marketing prowess and talent, has acquired Wire Stone, a 200-person Boise, Idaho marketing agency whose client list includes several big IT firms, including Microsoft, HPE and HP Inc.

The Dublin-based professional services giant said Wire Stone's strategy, design, and technology expertise would help, particularly when it comes providing integrated campaigns, data-fueled insight and immersive digital customer experiences to big companies.

The two companies met through mutual colleagues, they said, and Accenture soon became familiar with the work Wire Stone had done with shared clients.

[Related: Accenture Acquires 200-Person Solution Provider To Boost Search, Content Analytics Capabilities]

"We realized it would be a very good fit to bring in what they have in terms of marketing creativity and their technology and the way they help CMOs solve their business challenges," said Jeannine Falcone, the practice leader for Accenture Interactive's marketing segment in North America. "We had a need to accelerate growth in that area."

Accenture, No. 2 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, said it will keep Wire Stone completely intact, with CEO Dan Lynch continuing to run the agency within the Interactive division. Wire Stone will continue working with its existing clients while also focusing on scaling its operations in order to take advantage of Accenture's widespread business relationships.

Both sides will work with Accenture's common client services team throughout as Wire Stone begins integrating with its new parent company.

"Accenture likes us for who we are, wants to help us build and doesn't want to break us up," Lynch said. "A lot of acquisitions in this category find themselves in a situation where they have to dismantle the agency or do something in the complete opposite direction."

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

What Accenture saw in Wire Stone was a well-rounded agency, one that could combine traditional marketing practices with creative uses of technology. Wire Stone's EVP of Technology, Jon Baker, said that his firm's skill set allows it to implement technology tools that can provide analytics and data-driven insights that help enhance the creative projects, like user interface design, and provide a better overall experience. "That's not always natural for technical people," Baker said.

Baker anticipates that highly technical tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning will soon be commonplace in sales and marketing. With Accenture's resources and Wire Stone's existing technical expertise, he thinks the agency can push even deeper into the digital side of marketing, where it has been working to develop solutions fueled by augmented reality virtual reality.

"It's all about what I call getting on the train. The train is going to be moving very, very fast," Baker said. "That goes all from standard things, like campaigns, all the way up to AR- and VR-type solutions we've been working on, where we're getting over a tech [learning] curve and over the initial understanding. Now we're taking that to the next level and figuring how some of these more advanced marketing techniques can even apply to technology of that sort."

Wire Stone marks the 14th acquisition made by Accenture Interactive in the last five years. Earlier this month, the Interactive division purchased Clearhead, a 70-person digital optimization firm based in Austin, Texas, with eyes on strengthening its $600 million personalization business.

For Wire Stone, founded in 2000, the acquisition lines up well with industry trends and the CEO's goals for his firm. "We felt we were ready for the next level because we have built a foundation that was stable, but also capable of doing much, much more," Lynch said.

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