WeedsOver the past 5-7 years digital firms, mobile firms, SEO firms, and social firms have been springing up like the weeds in my beds during Spring.

There are two classes of these agencies that are being birthed every day.

The first is those that specialize and are laser focused on their platform.

For these firms, there is risk…as what may have once been a unique offering or service is now more of a commodity – it’s just another mechanism to deliver a message.

The question is: Will these digital-only firms survive?

Marketers tend to think not.

79% believe that the future of digital-only shops are in danger if they don’t offer traditional services.

There are also firms that operate with a much bigger view of the media space and while they may believe digital to be the epicenter, they know how to integrate across platforms and operate in a broader context.

Right now, Marketers view these kinds of firms as a pretty meaningful threat to full service agencies.  92% of Marketers believe that the digital firm that plays in the full service space is a threat to full service firms.

At some point, the lines will blur and the “integrated digital” agency and the “full service agency” will look the same – but will approach their worlds in slightly different ways.

Bottom line: Consumers are in control!Consumers in control

Marketing today is more than just a platform – it’s a communication continuum across a variety of touch points.  Consumers determine where and how, and how often they go to get the information they need.

Agencies that don’t get this – or insist on playing in only one platform had better be pretty damn good at it.  They had better be very sophisticated in how they operate and how they deliver content and how they measure performance.

Digital (or mobile or SEO or Social) firms will survive.  There will always be a place for them, but it will only be the higher rollers with the deeper pockets that have the ability to use the uber-creative and uber-technologically advanced firms that will have a need for them.

Best in class will mostly mean best in how they integrate and ultimately deliver results.

So what does this all mean for you, the marketer?

Means you need to ask yourself what you really need and how unique your presence needs to be n the digital space.  Does the manner in which you deliver define your brand or does your message and your creative and your positioning ultimately set you apart – regardless of the platform.

If the former, finding best in class platform experts might be the way to go.

If the latter, finding highly creative, highly strategic, and highly integrated agencies is going to be the best in the end for you.