Acquisitions are turning IBM into an ad tech powerhouse

Dive Brief:

  • Four acquisitions in the last few months – European interactive agencies Aperto and ecx.io, creative shop Resource/Ammirati, and The Weather Company’s digital properties and all the data that comes with them – give IBM a ready-made stronghold in digital marketing.
  • The moves added to IBM’s two-year-old in-house digital ad agency, iX, which hit $1.9 billion in revenue last year, Digiday reports.
  • The new agency acquisitions will add 800 new designers to the organization according to Fortune. Before the deals IBM expressed an intention to increase the number of its digital design professionals.

Dive Insight:

About the deals, Matt Candy, vp of the European division of IBM Interactive Experience, told Adweek, "The one-plus-one will certainly equal more than two," and added, "The synergies can be executed globally."

And speaking to Adweek, Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser called IBM a “sleeping giant” in brand marketing services, although with the new talent additions to iX it seems likely IBM is waking up. If nothing else it has grabbed the attention of the marketing and ad tech space.

Meanwhile, Forrester senior analyst Anjali Yakkundi told Digiday integrating these new acquisitions might be a challenge for IBM iX. “They may struggle with turnover or lose some brand credibility in the market. Time will tell how IBM iX is able to take these acquisitions and integrate them into their existing capabilities, and whether they are able to build momentum around these firms. If they successfully avoid these pitfalls, these acquisitions could position them well against other large services firms especially in Europe," Yakkundi said.

Recommended Reading

Adweek: Why IBM Won't Be Ad Tech's Sleeping Giant for Much Longer
Digiday: Inside IBM's $1.9 billion digital ad agency, iX
Fortune: Another Day, Another IBM Digital Acquisition
Marketing Dive: IBM scoops up digital marketing agency Resource/Ammirati
Marketing Dive: Kia looks to social media influencers for its Super Bowl marketing


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