Gord: 1. Search is 2% of all media budget. Big agencies aren't incented to "get" search. 2. To agencies, search is DR and should be relegated to a DR silo and judged on DR metrics. 3. Search is granular (lots of pushing little levers.) That's not what big agencies do best. 4. Agencies exist to persuade people to buy something when they weren't considering it. Search is "multiple choice" giving people a list of things to choose from when they're already in the consideration phase.
Mike: 1. The agencies that Gord and other search firms work with probably don't "get" search (which is why the client is using a search firm in the first place.) So Gord's outlook may be skewed by his experience. Many big agencies (such as RPA do get search.) 2. An agency's job is performance - period. It doesn't matter what channel. It will lose biz if they don't drive performance. So they have to get search. 3. There's a difference between search strategy and execution. Big agencies will (eventually) all have someone internally who gets search and can be an internal champion for search integration. That doesn't mean they have to execute the program. They can outsource that to a search firm or leverage a technology. 4. As search continues to grow both in budget and as the primary way to connect with consumers, big agencies will have to get search. They'll have no choice.