1.31.2012

What Forrester's Research About Digital Agencies Doesn't Tell Us

Forrester Research just published a report titled "The Forrester Wave™: US Digital Agencies — Mobile Marketing Strategy And Execution, Q1 2012." The report's Executive Summary states, "In Forrester's 37-criteria evaluation of US digital agencies with mobile marketing services, we identified the nine significant agencies in this category and researched, analyzed, and scored them. This report details our findings about how each agency measures up and plots where they stand in relation to each other, to help interactive marketers select the right partner for their mobile marketing efforts."

While the report's goal is to help marketers weed out and select an agency for their mobile marketing activity, what I find more telling is the fact that, of the nine agencies featured in the report, only four have a true mobile website/platform. (Note: I Googled each agency on my mobile phone and touched on the company's link in the search results to determine if there was, in fact, a mobile site.)

Here's the breakdown:
AKQA - No
iCrossing - Yes
Ogilvy - No (frankly, I don't know what to make of their website)
Possible Worldwide - Yes
Razorfish - Yes
Rosetta - No
SapientNitro - No
TribalDDB - No
VML - Yes

My question to Forrester, how can an agency be considered one of the best if they themselves don't even have a mobile presence? My question to each of the non-mobile agencies listed above, how can you advise, create and develop on behalf of your client if you yourself don't have a mobile presence?  Do you not believe in what you market and sell?

Over the past couple of months, I have come across a number of digital, interactive, mobile, call them what you will, agencies and many of them fail to have their own mobile website. Shouldn't this be some sort of tip off?

I welcome any comments or explanations from the five non-mobile agencies listed above, and thank you in advance for writing.

8 comments:

  1. Bizarre, isn't it? I've mentioned this to colleagues a few times when they've used some of these big names whilst discussing the topic of good mobile marketing. Would I hire a copywriter who's website has very little copy and no blog? Or even worse, is poorly written?

    I think you're being too kind to some of those who do have a mobile presence though. Possible Worldwide's is not a great mobile experience...

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  2. Steve:

    As always, thank you for the comment/support.

    Yes, some of the mobile sites are not the best, but at least they are there.

    Good thing I am not holding my breath to hear from any of the non-mobile agencies after having Tweeted them earlier today. I guess they either don't read their Tweets, selectively answer Tweets or just don't care how their company might be talked about in the marketplace - good, bad or indifferent. What does that tell a prospective client?

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    1. From experience it tends to be a, "Who are you to be telling us?" attitude. There are plenty of cliques in business, one of the design cliques being those who have worked on a project for [insert multinational company] and those who haven't. But let's see if you get any response today, you never know.

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  3. Disclaimer: I work for one of the non mobile-friendly agencies listed above so I'm playing a bit of devils advocate, but...

    The product we sell as agencies is very different than the product most of our clients are selling. We are in the business of selling services, which typically cost upwards of six figures. As a result, we have a fairly narrow target of who we seek as clients and this is what determines how we market our agency (including our website).

    On the flipside, our clients are generally consumer brands selling tangible goods to a mass consumer market. These consumers want to access information about the brand and their products via mobile and will actually make purchase decisions based on this.

    In my experience, what our clients and prospects want when making an agency decision are actual examples of work we've done with brands like theirs, for projects like theirs. They want to meet our teams. They want to hear us think about their brands and its goals. I can pretty confidently say our target clients won't exclude us from a project because they couldn't learn about us through a quick search on their iPhone.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for "Practicing what you preach", but I would argue that as agencies we ARE actually applying the methodologies we apply to our clients and some agencies have determined that their internal marketing dollars are better spent elsewhere like r&d and building more thorough case studies, places that will have a greater impact on their customers buying cycle.

    As an agency employee I do appreciate the candid feedback as well as your ongoing expertise shared in the 2D barcode/QR world. Keep it up.

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    1. Thank you for the comment. While I agree with some of what you say I don't buy all of it.

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  4. Flashback to 1998 and I'm sure agencies were making the same argument about this crazy new world wide web thing...mobile web access is about to surpass pc access; it should be expected an agency have a mobile division and presence at this point.

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  5. Great point Roger, and you have raised one of the most talked about but never actioned issues in the agency world...do agencies eat their own dogfood ? rarely and the reason ?

    scarcity of resources: The agency business is fighting a losing game (atleast so far) with thinning margins and a hyper competitive market, the best talent (or any available talent) is always stretched on existing business and pitches...and making a decent marketing strategy or a presence on mobile/web/social for their own brands is more or less an important but not urgent criteria on their roadmap...

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  6. Thank you for sharing this. I enjoyed reading it and I understand your point. I somehow agree on you.

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