After about 8 weeks of research (some of which occurred from China while I was overseas for a client project!) I am very pleased to announce that Forrester’s latest Wave evaluating search marketing agencies is now live on our site. 

I would encourage you to access the full report for a detailed exploration of each of 7 vendors: 360i, icrossing, iProspect, IMPAQT, OneUpWeb, Razorfish, and Reprise Media.  Here are a few snapshots from my analysis:

This study found search vendors deliberate in their strategy and technology developments, more secure in their definition from competitors, and outlining a future vision that aligns with changing consumer behavior and marketer needs.  This is a startk contrast to the immature landscape we evaluated at the end of 2006.

We also found that since our last evaluation of this space, even more search marketing vendors have emerged. So Forrester began its evaluation by screening a broader set of agencies. As in years past, we then honed in on the few firms that most closely match the range of search marketing services that our clients request. Vendors included in this study are: US-based, agencies that provide both paid search and SEO, focused on the enterprise, bigger.

The results? iProspect leads the study again, this time because of its strategy and corporate leadership. iCrossing takes top honors for both its paid search and SEO current offering. It and 360i round out the Leader category because of their research-based approaches to keyword development and highly automated execution. IMPAQT, Razorfish, and Reprise Media are all Strong Performers — IMPAQT because of its analytics prowess, Razorfish for how well it integrates search with other online media, and Reprise for its open platform and social media competence. Oneupweb lands as a Contender because it lacks the automation needed to scale enterprise marketer programs. However, its work ethic and consulting-based approach scores high with client references.


Please note: This evaluation of search marketing agencies is based on the criteria we deem to be most critical to the market at this time. It is a starting point only. We encourage readers to view detailed product evaluations and adapt the criteria weightings to fit their individual needs through the Forrester Wave Excel-based vendor comparison tool.

Let’s keep the conversation going.  As Jeremiah Owyang mentioned in his recent post about his wave on Community Platforms, our Waves are snapshots in time.  While extremely detailed and as comprehensive as possible, they cannot accommodate vendor changes which occur after the research is complete.  So, I’d welcome an ongoing dialog about this research, these firms, your own vendor selection, other vendors that you have worked with.  And if you are a search vendor (in this study or no, I’d love to hear your voice here as well).

For you process wonks out there, here is a link to some additional detail about Forrester’s Wave product and methodology.