Number of Digital Marketing Agencies Set to Double

Posted by Dan Verhaeghe

Google’s recent acquisition of social marketer Wildfire for $350 million is going to allow the tech giant to further round out their marketing solutions for thousands of companies across Canada and the world. Wildfire is best known as a popular and effective series of third-party social media marketing solutions for gaining brands larger social media presences.

Despite the recent news, CEO Rob Eleveld of Seattle-based B2B inbound marketing software provider Optify believes that the majority of North American businesses in the small to mid-enterprise category are two to four years behind in terms of trying to sort out where to put very limited marketing resources.

In fact, Eleveld expects the number of digital marketing agencies to double in the coming years.

“The digital marketing agency growth is strong across the board because digital marketing is growing so fast that even fairly large and sophisticated marketing departments need help in certain campaigns or areas of expertise," he explains. "But we see it growing much more strongly in the long tail of small digital marketing agencies, those that serve local and metro area clients that are small and mid-size businesses. We see it especially in places like Lincoln, Nebraska or St. Petersburg, Florida, where these businesses are overwhelmed with what to do to gain some online marketing presence, and they don't have the resources or knowledge to keep up with the latest trends." 

Canada’s major cities that have a competitive marketing services landscape like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver may be able to keep up with the speed of change just like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. However, western Canada cities like Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, and Edmonton may still present tremendous opportunities for digital marketing entrepreneurs.

Optify, alongside other leading edge agencies are more focused on 360 degree marketing solutions that in this particular company's case includes SEO, search marketing software, IPA, social media campaign software, email marketing software, sales enablement software, visitor tracking software and analytics, CMS plugins, and Salesforce integrations.

“In a big picture sense, the Wildfire acquisition by Google is another indicator of just how fast the world of digital marketing and online marketing is moving," said Rob Eleveld. “I was a lot less surprised by this one than I was with the Salesforce acquisition of Buddy Media. Could you imagine two years ago that Salesforce would jump into the social marketing space with a $689 million dollar acquisition?”

Buddy Media was definitively acquired by Salesforce in early June.  The company touted itself as the world’s leading social media marketing platform as used by brands and advertisers for large companies such as Ford, HP, L’Oreal, and more. Techvibes has seen Salesforce acquire four Canadian companies, since 2010, adding to their 20+ worldwide acquisitions in the last few years.

I further profiled Order Dynamics last month who are using many different third-party integrations to help Canadian retailers such as Walking on a Cloud realize social media goals. Leading edge digital marketing agencies or providers of digital marketing solutions across the board are offering many variations of bundled solutions.

“Social media has caused the biggest transformation in marketing since the Mad Men era, causing CMOs to completely re-think their strategies,” said Marcel LeBrun, SVP of Salesforce Radian6 on the Buddy Media merger. “By bringing together market leaders Radian6 and Buddy Media, we are doubling down on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud to provide CMOs with the ability to manage the entire social marketing lifecycle.”

Still, if you look around the tech industry in Toronto, there are many doubters of social media. Executives wonder what social media could really do for their respective companies. Optify's CEO believes those doubters are becoming believers, though.

The digital marketing world is changing and has been changing for the last three to five years, but we are getting to an inflection point where even the laggers, the vast majority of the market, are joining. As you know, laggers typically like to have their 'new' products and innovation s packaged and bundled so they can get it at a lower price and with short adoption curve.

If Eleveld’s prediction holds true that the number of digital marketing agencies will double, Google and Salesforce might have a hard time staying on top. After all, there are an increasing number of ways that marketing companies can be unique with so much technological change.

In “Understanding Michael Porter," author Joan Magretta says: “Competition to be unique, Porter’s work teaches, can make life better across all fields of human endeavor—but only if managers understand that their choices will influence the kind of competition that prevails in their industry. These are choices with enormously high stakes.”

The stakes have never been higher as digital marketing is speeding up, not slowing down. There already have been and will continue to be multiple winners beyond two kingpins known as Salesforce and Google. One just has to look no further than those companies that manage a wide array of marketing services for companies to see the tremendous growth potential.

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Dan Verhaeghe

Dan Verhaeghe

Dan Verhaeghe focuses on marketing, mobile, major technology players, entertainment, and new media. Dan has a dozen years of online experience that dates back to the turn of the millennium where he dominated a now non-existent online RPG game for a couple of years at the age of 15. He would eventually become a Toronto Blue Jays blogger who earned his way into Toronto's CP24 studios six years... more



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