As agencies and management consulting firms adapt to the digital environment, brands face a complex array of options. Agencies founded on the basis of 30-second TV ads often struggle to develop digital products, while those creating top-notch websites might be unable to reach consumers on other media platforms.

L2’s Marketing Agencies report guides brands through the major types of agencies and offers insight into their respective strengths and weaknesses.

Types of agencies

Brand Agencies

Examples: Siegel + Gale, Brand Union

For brands that: Need help with well-defined traditional marketing services

Core competency: Defining a brand. Some clients work with one of these agencies to establish their brand identity and then partner with other agencies for execution-focused work.

Weak spot: Technology.

Methodologies and deliverables: Mature and predictable. Firms working with new clients might entertain initial engagements from $100,000 to $250,000. Even large-scale, global brand strategy engagements aren’t likely to exceed $1.5 million.


Specialty Agencies

Examples: Ignite Social Media, Targetbase 

For brands that: Need help with something specific

Core competency: Discrete services. Examples: SEO/SEM, social media strategy and management, digital analytics, platform-specific technology services.

Weak spot: Client services.

Methodologies and deliverables: Project sizes vary widely. In general, a specialty firm will consider individual scopes of work that have budgets as low as $150,000. However, contracts above $3 to $5 million could be challenging for them.


Transformative Agencies

Examples: Deloitte Digital, Huge

For brands that: Are global enterprises looking to completely transform their business model, brand, market position, technology infrastructure, and product lines

Core competency: Technology talent and sophistication 

Weak spot: Traditional marketing services

Methodologies and deliverables: These firms are best suited to help with engagements, or at least annual relationships, that have a portfolio of projects ranging between $3 million and $20 million. Small brands with budgets less than $1 million should be cautious about working with these agencies, as they will struggle to deliver small, nimble projects.


Integrated Agencies

Examples: J Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather

For brands that: Want to connect to consumers through TV ads, billboards, direct marketing efforts, or branded content

Core competency: Storytelling

Weak spot: Account management due to use of network partners 

Methodologies and deliverables: Projects often include both media budgets and advertising budgets and range from $3 million to more than $10 million.

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