Griffin CEO: Acosta Acquisition Creates Plenty of Opportunity

Carrie Shea Griffin Strategic Advisors LLC, a Chicago-based strategy and operations firm, announced earlier this month that it had been acquired by Acosta Sales & Marketing, a sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry.

Griffin, who has been doing consulting work for Acosta for years, will join with Acosta’s Marketing Group to form AMG Strategic Advisors, a new business unit led by Griffin’s CEO Carrie Shea. Shea will serve as President of the new AMG Strategic Advisors, which—when combined with Griffin—will have 48 consultants and more than 60 FTEs, including industry experts and specialists.

The deal, which will unite Griffin’s strategic prowess with Acosta’s insights and data analysis capabilities, has the potential to be “transformative for the consulting industry,” Shea says. “I think this is going to shake up the entire consulting industry, and I think it needs to be shaken up, honestly. We’re excited to be a first mover in helping do that.”

The reason, says Shea, is that the AMG entity will be “able to build a strong competency around leveraging Acosta’s data and insights and converting that into strategy and then—and this is the really exciting part—measuring the impact of those strategies at the store level.”

Acosta has some 22,000 associates in retail stores every day and those people will be able to provide feedback on what’s working and what’s not. “I’m not aware of any consulting firm out there that can go from data analytics and consumer shopper insight through strategy, through in-store execution and into measurement. That full closed-loop system is why this is so powerful,” she says. “I’m not sure how other purely consulting firms are getting that type of end-to-end feedback, but I think it truly differentiates us.”

Shea says she feels that end-to-end solution is what has been sorely lacking in all consulting, but particularly in CPG.

“I think that it’s very difficult to be a great strategy consultant in consumer products and retail without having really great data and analytics capabilities,” she says.“Now more than ever, it’s important to measure the impact you’re having at the store level.”

The deal also brings with it access to the entire Acosta client base, which is made up of about 60 percent of the No. 1 or No. 2 brands in the CPG space in the U.S. market.

Shea wouldn’t commit to specific revenue or growth numbers, but she did say she sees “tremendous opportunities to bring our services to those Acosta clients” and AMG Strategic Advisors has “very aggressive growth plans.”

The Griffin name, however, will not go away entirely. The firm will continue to use the brand for non-CPG clients, including consumer durables, healthcare and education.

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