According to AdForum.com, searches for agencies with corporate communications expertise were up 77% in 2004 over 2003. Searches for agencies with brand and product development services were up 56%.
Searches for agencies with package and design expertise were up 18%, and searches for event and sponsorship agencies were up 16%.
While search activity for specialized agency services increased in 2004, searches for full-service agencies declined by 11%.
"We continue to see a much larger increase in specialized services than for full-service agencies," said Christopher Wynne, president-CEO of AdForum.com.
The report was based on more than 83,000 agency searches conducted on AdForum.com in 2004.
The trend of seeking specialization continues this year, Wynne added.
In February, the top searches were for agencies providing sales promotions and point of sales services (up 78% over February 2003); followed by media buying and planning (up 35%); and corporate communications (up 31%).
In November, AdForum.com held a summit for agency search consultants, during which it met with the largest ad agencies to discuss trends in agency searches and service requirements from clients.
"There is no question that there was more of a theme of how to handle the strategic aspects of the relationship," Wynne said. "Agencies really see themselves as strategic partners with clients."