The North American SEM industry grew from $9.4 billion in 2006 to $12.2 billion in 2007, exceeding earlier projections of $11.5 billion for 2007 and marketers are finding more search dollars by poaching budget from print magazine spending, website development, direct mail and other marketing programs.
The SEMPO study released today offered some good news for Agencies, as 53% of advertisers outsource their organic SEO because it is to hard to stay up-to-date with best practices in-house. 37% say they don’t have the right tools, and 33% say they get more bang for their buck with an outside provider.
But overall, a trend to in-house these efforts is still strong. Forrester research shows least two-thirds of U.S. businesses prefer to keep SEM in-house. In-house training and education efforts will probably continue to improve and drive performance gains.
If you operate an agency, it is clear that conferences such as SMX Advanced, staying in touch with each other online, and participating in groups such as Social Media Club and Sphinn are not only good for networking, but also staying relevant. From the study It is also becoming clear that relationships will become more team-like and less “guru-handoffs” as clients become more savvy and use more advanced in-house tools.
Budget windfalls created by shifting funds in traditional marketing efforts must first pass the scrutiny of decision makers with pressure to develop the SEM function in-house. Agencies must understand these concerns and bring unique propositions and innovation to the table as a part of a team. Development and transfer of skills such as
- Organic SEO Best Practices Proficiency
- Paid Search Campaign Development, Testing
- Analytics and Metrics Mastery
- Experiment Design Proficiency
- CMS and Blog Development Proficiency
- Behavioral Marketing Awareness and Proficiency
- Project Management Skills
- Sociographic, Segmentation, and Engagement driven site execution.
- Copy writing, Link-bait abilities
- Social Media Marketing expertise
- Intimate awareness of Social Bookmarking environments and “culture”
- Link Building Mastery
- Ability to Educate Clients and Departmental Groups (patience)
…will play a major part in the decision process and the way teams are formed.
Agencies will need to plan by mastering skills in unique, innovative ways while working with a growing contingent of in-house talent in the search effort. In this way, we can all share in the strong spending growth – getting the best of both worlds.
Postscript: SEMPO is holding a webinar on in-house vs. agency SEM on June 26 at 12PM ET