Over the past five years, digital has defined “what’s new” from agencies, and marketers have moved substantial budgets to social, mobile, and CRM to the tune of $50 billion in digital ad spend in the US alone. But what were new practice areas for agencies in 2008 are now table stakes for firms that want to compete for a strategic slice of large company marketing budgets. So what’s the next big thing that can distinguish agencies in the CMO’s eye? In a new Forrester report, Vice President and Research Director David Cooperstein outlines why successful agencies will redefine their core competencies to help brands center on customer obsession. In doing so, three clear areas of focus will emerge:

Innovation agencies (think T3, RoundarchIsobar, RG/A) will focus on marketing over advertising, helping to develop transformational new products, insights, or experiences. They will work best for CMOs attempting radical business or product development.

Integration agencies (JWT, Starcom, Saatchi) will create cohesion across all points of customer interaction, using analytics to support marketing assumptions. Traditional marketers aiming to integrate messages across disparate channels will embrace this focus.

Implementation agencies (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture) will be system-integrator types. They will act as a bridge between marketing and technology, working to build or implement business technology like eCommerce systems, loyalty, and CRM platforms or marketing analytics applications.

For CMOs looking to simplify their agency roster, making the right selection will depend on whether innovation, integration, or implementation tops the priority list.

To learn more about this research, visit Forrester’s CMO blog here.