Forrester just completed its (semi?) annual assessment of Interactive Agencies. Attached are some takeaways. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on some of the things that bigger, leading agencies are concerned about. To be considered for their evaluation they required a minimum of 150 employees and revenue of $50 million.

Key takeaways:

  • “The biggest challenge — and necessity — facing interactive agencies is to cultivate the needed skills and gravitas to serve as the strategic marketing advisor to their clients.” This includes providing measurement and analysis of analytics, audience research with personas and ethnographic studies, and effectively using emerging media like blogs, video and rss.
  • “The interactive agencies included in this evaluation are all perfectly capable of helping clients achieve their interactive marketing goals today. But they have yet to demonstrate an ability to lead broader marketing and brand strategy. As a result, clients will continue to relegate them to implementing the brand strategies of larger agencies — at least until interactive takes a much higher percentage of overall marketing spending.”

There are then specific articles on each agency and compares them in terms of analytics capabilities, research techniques, emerging media channels, strategy, cost, vision, strength of management teams and more.

Ave A / Razorfish:

  • “We are quickly approaching an era when companies will look to their agencies — including interactive ones — for more cohesive, cross-channel marketing strategies. Avenue A | Razorfish’s road map doesn’t take it in this direction, which could mean that it will miss out on opportunities to lead strategy and thus deepen its client relationships.”
  • Avenue A | Razorfish … believes that ”the future of digital marketing is tapping into the immersive and social power of the Web. It’s invested into R&D like the Living Labs and Smartpox (exploring new uses of mobile phones for marketing purposes), both of which study how consumers interact with emerging media. It believes that interactive video is the most important to its (and its clients’) future. Its work increasingly employs interactive video. For example, it created interactive video advertisements for Levi’s iPod-ready blue jeans and the marketing microsite www.mercedes-amg.com.” (this Mercedes site would be much cooler if it was faster, but gives an idea of where they are going).

Digitas:

  • Has more than 170 analytics staff members with deep quantitative skills. Its expertise includes campaign analysis, experimental test design, etc..

OgilvyInteractive:

“OgilvyInteractive is engaged in four primary initiatives:

  • A full-service mobile marketing offering, including mobile media planning, campaign/messaging, WAP, and application development.
  • A digital influence and social media practice, including brand reputation management, advocacy, microcasting, viral marketing, digital PR, and content syndication.
  • Branded content and multiplatform digital communications, including original content production and distribution across the Web, digital TV, IPTV, and mobile channel.
  • Emerging channels such as video gaming, digital displays/signage, location-based targeting, and RSS.”

Some things to think about….

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