At first glance at Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Global Digital Marketing Agencies, marketers might see a mix of traditional media Mad Men classic ad agencies along with web development and technology implementation/professional services companies. These traditionally different competency areas may even appear to be mature. However, all of the providers in this year’s Magic Quadrant have been in transition to embrace the growing demand for digital marketing and to combine these areas to meet the needs of marketers. The Global Digital Marketing Agencies MQ represents the market’s journey into offering a full service scalable agency with creative and strategic services, along with digital marketing technology, analytics, implementation capability and performance metrics.
Although there are six identified leaders in this year’s Magic Quadrant, overall, Gartner sees this as a growing market which is still transitioning. There is plenty of additional work to do for all. However, we saw three main characteristics in the making of a leading agency:
1. Global resource management: Leading agency characteristics showed the ability to mobilize resources across the world, creating cross discipline teams. Leading agencies were able to utilize the right mix of talent for the right engagement. We looked and noted how well an agency dealt with staffing up/staffing down and their ability to run a predictable business.
2. Lifecycle Marketing vs. one-offs: Leading agency characteristics helped prepare organizations for scale and multiple projects including help with production ideation and product development vs. many one-off solutions (such as a flash based web page for a product launch or a mobile coupon promotion). We looked for and noted how well an agency helped integrate emerging digital marketing technology into an organization’s larger plan vs building a “one-off app”.
3. Left Brain creativity: Leading agency characteristics showed the capability for strong creative services along with analytics and the optimization of the marketing mix. We looked for and noted thought leadership of agencies with big ideas (including their own R&D budget for innovation rather than the clients) backed by performance metrics and technology implementation to execute them.