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Brief Description Of Pricewaterhousecoopers

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 3526 words Published: 16th May 2017

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PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is a global network of 153 member firms (partnerships) each of which is an independent legal entity. PwC belongs to the professional services industry and provides assurance (audit), tax and advisory (consulting) services to both public and private clients with the significant majority of our relationships are business to business. For the purpose of this assignment, analysis will be performed on PwC Consulting who provide management consulting to clients that enable them to improve their performance.

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PwC Consulting’s vision is to be ‘a world class management consulting practice’. While our value proposition is ‘exceptional people helping businesses do exceptional things’, research as part of this assignment has unveiled 72 separate mission statements including the latest: making lasting change happen. It is therefore apparent that our purpose is unclear and marketing strategy somewhat ‘beige’ which is contributing to our lack of differentiation discussed later in this paper.

PwC Consulting has a marketing orientation which can be defined as where the achievement of the organisations’ goals are dependent on determining the needs and wants of target markets and delivering the desired satisfactions more effectively and efficiently than competitors (AGSM, 2010). However, an alternative to this would be a Relationship Orientation which McKenna (1991) describes as where “relationships are key (and form) the basis of customer choice and business adaptation”. This is evidenced through PwC’s client relationship management model which drives our consultants to have conversations with clients’ to identify their specific needs in order to delivering value-based solutions.

As described by Kotler et al (2004) a product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need. Applying this definition to PwC Consulting would suggest that our offer to the market is advice and knowledge that our clients use to address their needs – commonly issues impacting their performance, competitiveness or growth aspirations. As a people-based service, the advice is provided by our consultants who could also be argued to be ‘the product’. Four attributes that differentiate our service offering from a product offering include that our service is intangible, inseparable by our clients, variable and perishable (AGSM, 2010). Advice however can come in various tangible forms such as reports.

Due to the intangible nature of our market offering, the role of the brand is highly important in our marketing strategy, especially in winning work, with physical evidence, process, people and price as part of the 7Ps marketing mix being crucial in how we communicate our expertise in handling complex business issues and our track record in successful execution. Recent research by IDC found that while our brand recognition was high, the PwC brand stood primarily for PwC’s audit services which flagged that the market isn’t aware of PwC Consulting’s offering. Research also found that the market was unable to differentiate PwC Consulting against our competitors which meant that from their perspective, PwC has no real competitive advantage. In response, there has been significant effort to shift PwC Consulting’s brand positioning and improve our brand equity. Firstly, the marketing strategy has been to improve and create a unique experience when clients work with our management consultants. We have sought to achieve this by training our teams to put themselves in their clients’ shoes, share and collaborate, invest in relationships and focus on client value. The second marketing tactic has been an internal and external brand campaign ‘What would you like to change?’ with the objective of trying to reach the customers of our clients so that we can learn insights from them for taking back to our clients in a way that adds value to our relationships and positions the firm as having a market offering beyond audit services.

Issue 2: 5Cs Analysis

a. Company

This C has been analysed through the below SWOT analysis:



People – highly skilled and experienced

Client – extensive portfolio of ASX and global players who continue to re-engage the firm for repeat work

Reputation as a firm for quality and competence

Intellectual Property (IP) – Established and maintained IP and global thought leadership

Global scale – capability in almost every dimension somewhere in the firm plus global links and opportunities for our people and clients

Lack of IT capability

Less mature than established consulting houses

Little perceived differentiation in client’s mind against competitors

Bad at connecting with other Asiapac PwC firms to share opportunities

Lack of depth of industry knowledge

Lack of investment in local competitor analysis compared to the PwC global firm



Forecast Australian Consulting market growth of 9% by 2013 (CAGR).

End to credit crunch resulting increased demand for consulting advice to assist with new projects New service offering – outsource provider given client’s need to reduce costs

Greater use of collaborators for competitor, client, industry and market insights

Federal election – reduced spend by the public sector in consultancy spending pre-election

Engagement by clients of external contractors instead of PwC consultants

Skills shortage – recruitment and retention issues placing capability and capacity at risk

Further increases in the cost of borrowing

b. Customers

PwC Consulting clients are Australian organisations, the majority of who are government agencies, privately held or top ASX250 listed. As the needs of PwC’s clients vary, so to does their buying behaviour although the purchase decision making process still applies with problem recognition (either by management, executive teams or a board) being the first part of the process which ultimately results in our appointment. Public sector clients typically require a tender and group decision making process before awarding work whereas buying decisions within the private sector are more commonly centralised to one ‘Decider’ (Kotler at al, 2001) influenced by an ‘Approver’. A client’s behaviour may also vary depending on the urgency of their business need. Typically, clients engage PwC’s services when they don’t have time, the internal expertise or capacity to resolve an issue.

Outside our key targets (addressed later in issue 4), PwC takes a reactive approach to selling and responds when approached by a client with a need. As recognised by Shoebridge (1993), “the most influential sources of information during purchase decisions are previous experience with the product (service)”. This is evidenced in our client’s behaviour, especially in times of crisis as they tend to call the individuals within PwC whom they have a pre-existing trust based relationship.

c. Collaborators

PwC’s core principle is of independence limits the number of formal alliances in place to co-deliver work. By comparison however, PwC consulting has a mature model when is comes to partnering with suppliers to win work. Examples of out collaborators include:

Analysts (Kennedy, IDC and Gartner, AMR and Forrester) – Analysts are an excellent source of insight for us on industry and market trends, innovations and buyer behaviours. By giving them insight into what we do and how we do it, we also seek to influence how they position us in their reports.

WilliamsLea – As a graphic design house, WilliamsLea collaborates with our sales teams to develop document themes and formats that deliver appropriate messaging. They also play a role in maintaining compliance with the firms brand strategy.

External Coaches – To ensure our proposing teams are adequately prepared for pitches, external sales coaches are more commonly being engaged for up to a week to develop key messages and to improve the presentation skills of the team.

d. Competitors

PwC Consulting’s main competitors in the consulting space are IBM, Deloitte, E&Y, Accenture, Capgemini, McKinsey, Bain, and BCG. In general, existing competitors are starting to broaden their service offerings e.g. niche strategy houses are becoming more involved within business transformation projects. Another recent threat to PwC’s consulting practice is the substitution by clients of consulting firms with independent contractors to reduce project costs. Many of these contractors are often ex employees of consulting firms thus it is difficult to differentiate ourselves.

e. Context

As with all organisations, PwC needs to adapt to political, economical and macro-environmental factors which influence both our organisation and those of our client’s. An example of this adaption would be PwC’s offering during the global financial crisis whereby we developed a ‘Catalyst’ solution which involved working with our client’s senior management teams to expedite the identification of cost reduction opportunities in their organisations through 3 day workshops.

A final significant factor that impacts the consulting practice is being part of a larger firm that delivers audit services. This constrains the client’s we are able to target such as Westpac, CBA, IBM, Ford, and Rio Tinto and the services we can offer.

Issue 3: Collecting about the 5Cs

In order to develop and implement successful marketing strategies, the global firm has a marketing information system (AGSM, 2010) that collects information on market analysis and competitor intelligence and internal information. When it comes to collecting information about clients wants we do this first by gathering information from our existing client base whereby client liaison partners meet with deciders, users and approvers (Kotler et al, 2001) at least quarterly to ask them about their needs and issues, our strengths and weaknesses, and gather intelligence on who else the client is interacting with. A second source of information is our client feedback program, where clients are asked to provide feedback by describing their experience with PwC. Through this process we identify opportunities for improvement as well as identifying our high performing consultants. From July the program will incorporate the net promoter score principles.

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Regarding competitor intelligence, PwC Consulting Australia does not invest in dedicated competitor analysis and instead relies on analyst reports and leverages outputs from the PwC global Analyst Relationship based in New York. This team holds access rights to the key analyst firms allowing us to request telephone enquiry calls with the analysts where we are able to request a general update or ask for the analyst to answer specific questions.

Recognising the importance of industry knowledge, in order to meet the firm’s objective of having a differentiated market position, the firm have appointed senior partners as sector leaders across all industries – for example, Financial Services, Retail & Consumer, Mining, Healthcare, etc. Each has partner key performance indicators associated with measuring their performance in maintaining the firms depth of industry knowledge for sharing with the staff and clients.

While PwC sources much information from through existing relationships with clients and analysts, the weakest link in PwC’s collection of information is the role of collaborators as in the absence any of formal alliances, this is an opportunity that the firm could derive more value from. The only exception to this however is the conferences that vendors often invite us to attend where they demonstrate their latest technology but also often have guest speakers from industry.

Issue 4: Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning strategy

As a result of the economic downturn experienced in 2009 and with aspirations to double the current the practice’s revenue by 2013, PwC Consulting has recently adopted a go to market model focused on client issues and accounts. This strategy reflects segmentation, targeting and position principles as follows:

Segmentation – All Australian based organisations have been clustered into three segments, referred to internally as ‘horizons’. The segments are based on annual revenue of the clients to the consulting practice (i.e. $10-15m, $3-10m, $1-3m) and intended to drive the amount of time that we invest in winning and delivering engagements to clients in these segments. The segments are also intended to drive PwC Consulting’s concentrated marketing mix for example, annually we release our 3 Outlook publications (Retail & Consumer, Media & Entertainment and Financial Services) each of which includes a launch event where we invite clients and prospects from industry to a breakfast to hear our perspectives and to position ourselves as industry thought leaders.

Targeting – Within each segment, specific clients have been identified to be targeted based on being ‘homogenous within (AGSM, 2010) based on their revenue potential to the firm, issues they will engage us on, and the strength of our existing relationships with them. The selection of targets aligns with the industries that the broader PwC firm wishes to pursue, namely Financial Services, Government, Health and Energy & Resources, plus strategic accounts e.g. Telstra, Wesfarmers and Vodafone. Selection of these industries has been based on their anticipated growth in Australia over the next 5 years based on economic forecasts. I believe that this targeting approach is successful given that markets are demassifying (AGSM, 2010) and our clients want to feel that we are offering unique solutions to their issues which will drive their competitive advantage and in turn position us as being different to our competitors. The only risk to this STP strategy however is if we too narrowly segment the market which will drive our marketing costs up – something that PwC Consulting UK has recently experienced by shifting their focus from 5 to 14 industry segments.

Positioning – In July 2009, PwC globally commission IDC to perform a competitive positing and sizing review of the global business consulting market. While the review valued the total market at $2.09bn, IDC also identified PwC Consulting Australia to have 11.6% market share, second to Deloitte at 12.1% based on IDC’s 2008 competitor share analysis. A further finding was that there was little perceived differentiation in clients’ minds between PwC and our competitors and that not all clients considered PwC as a provider beyond audit and tax services. As a result, significant investment has been made over the last 12 months on strategic marketing initiatives both with existing clients and the market to reposition PwC and make it ‘stand out’. The perceptual map/positioning map shows where PwC was identified to be and the opportunity open to PwC Consulting which we are hoping to realise

through marketing tactics including internal training to improving how our consultants interact and work with clients supplemented with a brand campaign (What would you Like to change?) which is seeking to position

the practice as having world class capabilities and market leadership.

Issue 5: PwC’s Marketing Strategy

Based on my understanding of marketing from the EMBA program to date, I would rate PwC Consulting’s marketing strategy as ‘developing’. In completing this assignment I identified that this year will be the first year in which we will have a marketing plan and external campaign. I believe that PwC’s marketing orientation is appropriate given that success for our organisation requires client focus to be at centre of everything we do. Recent market research has suggested that the perception of our clients experience of working with us is undifferentiated but that they associate the word ‘relationships’ with PwC Consulting which further supports our marketing orientation.

As a global firm, I believe that PwC is good at monitoring, collecting and analysing data related to the 5C’s, especially with regards to market and industry analysis as well as competitor intelligence. Locally however, I feel that PwC are not leveraging the most of opportunities to collect and analyse data on the 5C’s. For example, we have recently hired people from competitors but not approached them to ask if they would be willing to share insights into what marketing strategies our competitors are taking in terms of market growth. Similarly, I work with numerous clients during the course of a year but am never get asked to share my learnings as to what strategies the clients are pursuing. Finally, in the absence of formal alliances we only tend to call on collaborators to fulfil roles related to client specific engagements as opposed to the business development of our own organisation and in turn theirs.

With regards to monitoring and analysing information about PwC Consulting’s marketing strategy, I feel that there is huge room for improvement. The first change I would recommend is based on the principles of an integrated marketing communications plan and that all interactions are marketing tactics in themselves. For this reason I would ensure that all ranks of our staff are made fully aware of our marketing strategy as opposed to it being something only shared with our Partners and Directors which has traditionally been the case. Further, even before promulgating the marketing strategy, I would engage the practice in it’s development so that they can share their insights into what they learn from being out daily at client sites, from having friends in competing firms and providing their perspectives especially with regards to perceptual mapping and positioning opportunities.

Given PwC’s marketing orientation, this is executed through relationships which are leveraged off the PwC brand. The relationships which are developed by partners are instrumental in winning work with clients. I believe however that sometimes the strength of our brand confuses clients about our offering confirmed by recent market research which found the word PricewaterhouseCoopers to equal ‘Auditing’. However, it is not only clients who have this misperception but our own staff as well as I often hear staff from the tax and audit practices say “I wasn’t aware we did that” which concerns me as their misunderstanding is likely to also be contributing to their clients lack of knowledge of our services. I recognise however that significant effort and investment in the recent ‘What would you like to change?’ brand campaign is directed at addressing this misunderstanding both internally and externally in order to reposition PwC Consulting as a real management consulting contender in the market place.

While effort has been expended into identifying segments and target clients for PwC Consulting to focus on, I believe the strategy’s effectiveness is threatened by lack of compliance. For example, in times when the practice is behind budget I have witnessed partners and directors often actively pursue all opportunities that present themselves regardless of whether the client is ‘on strategy’ or not. Further, I question the real analysis that is behind the selection of segments and clients as I have experienced that clients that are part of our sales pipeline at the time of annually agreeing the Segments and target are often named as ‘priorities’ as opposed to genuinely meeting the criteria for inclusion in a segment. I also believe that the exclusion of consumer products and retail as a targeted segment is an error given the service nature of the Australian economy and estimated by IBIS to grow by 12% over the next 5 years. In closing, a final weakness of our STP strategy that I will reflect on is that we struggle in being able to articulate to the client what being a ‘priority’ means i.e. what they can expect and will experience as a result of being part of horizon 1 or 2. As a management consultant I feel that all my clients receive the same high level of service regardless of whether they have been segmented by senior management as a priority target or a client we are solely reactive to.


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