Are Integrated Agency Relationships The Way Of The Future?

Many indicators point to “yes.”

CMOs Want Integration

Intrigued by the potential lift from integrated marketing solutions, CMOs are changing the nature of their agency relationships to be more connected and improve marketing impact. Our research shows that nearly two in five CMOs will restructure their agencies to increase marketing effectiveness and that nearly a third plan to integrate creative and media assignments for more effective marketing.

Media Is Integrated

This leap toward integration alters the role of media as a capability. A marketing capability that used to be just planning and buying paid advertising now also comprises technology partnerships, content development, data enrichment, identity, customer privacy, innovation, company reputation, sales, and commerce. Media has become the flywheel for marketing regarding audiences, data, activation, message, and attribution: Data is the oil, content is the vessel, and media is the engine that propels them all.

Agencies Are Integrating

Over the last 18 months, we’ve observed several structural changes in most major advertising holding companies’ media groups, including consolidations such as Vizeum into iProspect at Dentsu; the creation of Stagwell Media Network; GroupM’s launch of Nexus as a tech and data spine; Publicis Media’s retail media M&A; or Omnicom’s interoperability of third-party data sources. The role of the group media company as an agent of integration and growth has never been more evident.

To assist our clients in understanding these trends and the role that integration can play in partner selection for media assignments, we assessed holding-company-level media resources in The Forrester Wave™: Global Media Management Services, Q3 2022. And through this evaluation, we determined several important factors that CMOs and heads of media should consider when selecting a marketing partner. The best media management providers help their clients integrate when they:

  • Connect the precision of performance with the persuasion of brand. The concept of standalone “performance” or “brand” media campaigns, each with discrete budgets, objectives, and agency partners, is fading fast. And with it fades the notion of performance marketing agency and brand media agency. You want a partner that takes a holistic marketing approach, treating persuasion (brand) and precision (performance) as a single marketing strategy.
  • Design audience-led campaigns, content, and experiences. All great marketing leverages great ideas. Idea-led campaign development, however, is past its prime. Successful marketing starts (and ends) with an understanding of what makes the audience tick and catering to those preferences.
  • Spawn new commercial frontiers from the collision of media and commerce. The spike in digital consumer behaviors over the past two years created opportunities for innovation in entertainment, shopping, and communication. Media and commerce are colliding in nearly every industry, and marketers need experts to guide them through the rise of commerce marketing, Web 3.0, and retail marketplace media.

The Forrester Wave™: Global Media Management Services, Q3 2022 is one of several agency services evaluations that Forrester is publishing this year. To help enterprise CMOs understand the evolving, integrated marketing services landscape, we have also produced The Forrester Wave™: Global Digital Experience Services, Q2 2022 and The Forrester Wave™: Consumer Data Strategy And Activation Services, Q2 2022.

Click here to set up a guidance session or advisory with me for agency services. For questions about digital experience services, email; for data strategy and activation services, email; and for media, email

Be on the lookout for future Wave evaluations: On July 25, 2022, we’ll publish The Forrester Wave™: Marketing Creative And Content Services, Q2 2022, and in August, we’ll publish The Forrester Wave™: Global Marketing Services, Q3 2022. Both are new for this year. Sign up for reminders of publication dates.