Imagine a time when marketing department headcounts are drastically reduced. The head of marketing turns to a consultant who brings in a few experts. They help with a bit of strategy, some research, the brand values, PR, the database and a bit of customer retention. The client loves it because he is in control of costs, limited overheads. He gets the expertise and people who do or will understand his business very well. And importantly their ambitions are aligned to his, no one to say behind his back to what extent he has got it all wrong.
And then when it all picks up, which it will i am just not sure about the timing, this team helps him run pitches for advertising projects, direct mail, web build. The purist communications agencies fighting it out on a project by project basis, best one wins.
But there again it sounds like a really interesting agency model.