SEM industry staffing data


Just read this at MarketingSherpa - intersting stuff:

Apparently we're not a "cottage industry" anymore...LOL Didn' think we were, since this IS my dayjob...



They are correct in saying it's not a 'cottage industry' by my personal view.. we are sort of Ad Agency 2.0 but that is just my opinion. I am saying that because the vast majority of our clients are Ad Agencies.

They are outsourcing this to us because Print Media, TV Media and others are in serious decline, while SEO and SEM are booming..

Not only that... in an SEO's ever quest to get link bait.. we have in ourselves turned into a quasi-Marketing-Agency ... everything from funny video's to loaded blog posts to get links are making us more and more like a marketing agency on steroids..

Marketing Sherpa

This data seems highly suspect and doesn't correspond with what I am observing in the field. It looks like they are pushing propaganda.


Sometimes I feel like the divide between the Threadwatch crowd, and the big SEM agencies, is about 100,000 miles wide...

Also interesting...

... the Sherpa report states only 27% of the 3000 surveyed marketers currently outsource their paid search to an agency. The report editors then highly encourage hiring an outside consultant to manage SEM. Interesting to me because Jupiter's Agency Constellation Report indicated that only 12% of 109 surveyed marketers spending $50K-$1MM on paid search who were working with an outside agency, were satisfied enough to continue with that agency. OK, so marketers are dissatisfied w/ their agencies, yet Sherpa is saying that marketers should go outsource their paid search?

I like Sherpa and their reports, but it does seem to be a little bit of propaganda here. Still, the report is useful, with many trending charts & data, and has good info on the profiled agencies. (though supplied by the agencies themselves, so a grain of salt should be taken.) ;-)

Who are these "Sherpa"

Who are these "Sherpa" people and who pays their bills?

They've been around

Sherpa's pretty old-school when it comes to watching the SEO industry. Their first buyer's guide came out in something like '99 or '00, and in the first edition (or maybe first few), they actually gave editorial ratings to SEO firms. This led to threat of legal action (or actual legal action, can't remember) from firms who rated poorly, which resulted in subsequent editions' content being supplied entirely by agencies.

They make their $ primarily, I think, by selling full studies and reports of various niches in this business. Sort of a mini Forrester or Jupiter.

The divide... shrinking by the day.

We are ad agency 2.0, but the gap is still HUGE (okay maybe like ad agency 6.0).

3 reasons for the gap (though there are probably many more):
1. We realize most consumers aren't COMPLETE idiots - and speak to them as such (viva la cluetrain)
2. We appreciate the need for technology that enables optimal search findability
3. We know what a link is worth - and branding is a bonus

We need an understanding ofprint, TV, and radio - just like they need an understanding of search, but both sides are dumping dollars slowly and reluctantly to bridge the divide imo.


Man, I have been at this, (Biz Dev/marketing) for nearly 20 years now and SEO/SEM is still a baby in the crib.

So, while so many are chatting in forums and at conventions, touting the wonders of SEO and the internet in general, there is a massive segment of business population that is quickly becoming ‘disillusioned’ with the SEO industry and the providers thereof. This SHOULD be of concern for the SEO professional. Economies turn, over and over. We are in good times my friends, when the next down turn comes and investment dollars (business development and marketing) start to dry up, where will the axe fall first?

Take a guess?

and Propoganda? Come on..they give U a $150 price break and the report is only $250 ...weeeeeee

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