Search, Paid And SEO, Rank Higher As CMOs Seek New Agency Partners

CMOs are searching for new agencies more frequently with the Agencies of Record (AOR) changing every three to 3 and 3.5 years -- down from 3.75 in 2012 and 7.2 years in 1984.

The CMO and AOR are often tied together -- meaning that when one leaves so does the other, according to the latest trends report from Agency Spotter, a database of agencies aimed at assisting brands find agency partners.

The fourth edition of Agency Spotter's 2018 Marketing Trends Report shows that companies have more AORs today than in the past, mainly because of the numerous digital media buys required for national brands -- digital media buys and ad creation for display, video, mobile, search, social, CRM and branding.

Some 61% of those who make the decisions say they are ready to hire a search partner within three months, and 29% of those decision makers are at the director level or higher. More are searching on mobile devices to find an agency. This year's report shows that mobile use rose significantly.

Not surprisingly, the top 10 cities in 13 countries worldwide where brands search most for agencies on Agency Spotter's site include New York, Chicago, London, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Austin, San Jose, Portland, San Diego, and Seattle.

The top agency searches for Europe grew 36% in 2017, with UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Poland, Russia and Sweden taking the lead. Northern European held the No. 1 spot for the most searches at 48%, followed by Western Europe followed with 20.2%, then Eastern Europe with 16.4% and Southern Europe with 15.3%.

Advertising was the No. 1 searched-for service in 2017. Direct marketing came in at No. 2 in 2017 -- up from No. 3 in 2016 -- which pushed web services to No. 3 from No. 2, respectively. Digital strategy and social media held steady at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively. Branding rose to No. 6 from No. 8.

The big news on the list, search — paid and search engine optimization — took the biggest jump in 2017, rising to No. 7 from No. 17 in 2016.

Where is the budget going? Some 26% said they put the funds into traditional media advertising, followed by 12% who put budget into website and ecommerce, 11% into search advertising, 10% into social and another 10% into brand publishing, 9% into digital video and another 9% into influencer marketing, and finally 9% into environment.  

The five biggest services trending upward include direction marketing, email marketing, SEO and paid search, inbound marketing, and healthcare marketing. 

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