Stagwell Enlists Google Marketing Cloud to Accelerate Generative AI Bets


The deal follows a difficult period for the challenger agency network, which saw revenue slide 7% in Q3.

The agency category continues to invest heavily in generative AI, viewing the technology as a means to transform marketing services functions from creative to market research. Stagwell is enlisting the help of Google Marketing Cloud, one of the biggest players in the tech space, to accelerate the development of SMC products powered by generative AI and quickly launch those offerings into the marketplace. Among some projects brewing is a proprietary LLM, Stagwell’s answer to software like OpenAI’s ChatGPT.   

The pact could help Stagwell keep pace as other agency networks ramp up their generative AI launches heading into 2024, setting the stage for a tightly competitive battleground. The researcher Forrester forecasts that AI will become permanently embedded in several areas of agency operations next year and prove disruptive to the industry, imperiling digital agencies in particular.

“This partnership gets market-shifting technology to our client partners faster than ever,” said Stagwell CEO Mark Penn in a press statement. “As we work to lead the AI-based marketing transformation, we’re excited to partner with Google Cloud and SADA to chart the future on AI.”

Stagwell unveiled its marketing cloud at CES in 2022 and has expanded the unit as cloud computing becomes a key piece of marketing’s shift toward first-party data. This space has received a deluge of interest ahead of the deprecation of cookies next year. SMC’s deal with Google Cloud and SADA aims to help “multiply the value” of first-party data for clients, including using Google’s Vertex AI, which is targeted at machine-learning engineering workflows. 

The collaboration will also spruce up go-to-market campaign strategies with generative AI, initially focusing on SMC’s Media Studio Audience Identification, PRophet Monitor and public relations arms. According to the release, SMC will broaden the scope of the AI work to eventually affect all of its products. 

A stronger positioning around generative AI could help Stagwell secure new business and attract bigger spending from existing clients following a difficult period. The company’s revenue has declined this year, dropping 7% in Q3. The agency conglomerate, which bills itself as a “challenger network,” has remained active on the deal-making front, acquiring the social-first agency Movers+Shakers earlier in November.