There was a lively discussion today between Gord Hotchkiss and Mike Margolin about whether big agencies "get" search. I say no, no, and not usually. One quote from Gord "Search is granular (lots of pushing little levers.) That’s not what big agencies do best."
Okay, so big agencies are great at, creating beautiful, brand boasting, psychographically accurate and artistically impressive advertising. No doubt large agencies house some of the most creative minds out there. The disappointment is the lack of connection between these brilliant tactical right brainers and the left brainers that run the details of search campaigns every day. Did the copy writer know that the customer uses the word "pretty red car" and not "pretty red vehicle"? With that small change the connection of the ad to the real live consumer would be transformed, increased, more effective, more revenue producing? Consumers respond to what they can relate to, right? Why not use terms that they use on a search bar in the advertising that attempts to grab their attention? Why not take advantage of this gold mine of detailed knowledge about the very consumer the ads are created for… at the time the very expensive ads are being designed? Just connections that need to be made. People that stare at these search accounts just need a few invitations to ground level strategy meetings.
Agencies that don’t do this type of integration well, will eventually be run over by agencies that do this integration well. I have worked with both those who "get search" and those that don’t, and I would hands down hire the integrated strategic firm over a brand only agency that just "sort of" talked to their SEM team. And your 2 cents?