Leonardo da Vinci said, “To develop a complete mind, study the science of art. Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” This couldn’t be more profound in an era of marketing, advertising, and digital experience, where the distinction between a brand’s promise, how it’s communicated, and the products and experiences delivering that promise cannot be separated. To refuse this to be true would be like denying that everything connects to everything else and not seeing it at all.

This includes the current landscape of marketing services providers (agencies and consultancies alike) that provide the services brands need to deliver on this connected truth. There are thousands of agencies, with nearly 60% of those that we surveyed reporting having all or most of the same capabilities ranging from creative to digital transformation. This is inevitable because every CMO reports always needing to orchestrate not one, but many combinations of services: creative, content, media, data, digital experience, and — where scale is imperative — a global partner.

Digital Is The Fabric Of All Marketing Services

This convergence is the result of “digital” — once seen as a distinct identification for specific channels or media, now the fabric of everything. Hence, all agencies are digital agencies. This does not mean there’s no differentiation left to be had. It simply means that what distinguished some agencies before is no longer relevant today. Much like the identity of consultancy versus agency or modifiers like experience or performance to the agency label, it runs its course. It’s time for an “agency services reset,” which, at its best, will reshape the industry to reflect the realities and complexity of our clients’ businesses and, at its worst, will fade away the extraneous and inflexible.

To begin the process, a team of Forrester analysts kicked off five crucial Forrester Wave evaluations to reestablish the agency services landscape as it is shaped today:

  1. Global Marketing Services (Jay Pattisall, principal analyst)
  2. Marketing Creative And Content Services (Jay Pattisall, principal analyst)
  3. Global Media Management Services (Jay Pattisall, principal analyst)
  4. Consumer Data Strategy And Activation Services (Stephanie Liu, analyst)
  5. Digital Experience (DX) Services (Ted Schadler, VP, principal analyst)

These Forrester Wave evaluations will lay out a comprehensive picture of the top global firms, with their parent companies setting a strong foundation for relevant future Forrester Wave reports. We recognize that there are many more markets to build from these foundational categories (and we’ll continue to evaluate them).

Beginning in June of 2022, we will sequentially publish the five Forrester Wave evaluations: Digital Experience (DX) Services, Consumer Data Strategy And Activation Services, Global Media Management Services, Marketing Creative And Content Services, and, finally, Global Marketing Services.

Until then, please send me any thoughts or inquiries.