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10 Truths You Should Know About Search Marketing Part 3

By Paul Miller
October 30, 2008

In a session at the Search Marketing Expo East conference held Oct. 6-8 in New York, a five-member panel explored "The Ten Truths Every CMO Must Know About Search Marketing." So far, we have recapped the group's first seven truths. This week we look into the final three.

8. Tools simplify everything. "I don't think we could do our jobs without all the tools we have at our disposal," said Willie Fernandez, director of marketing for World Travel Holdings, a Woburn, Mass.-based travel distributor. "For us, if we didn't have these tools, we'd have continued to believe that our full-page newspaper ads ran in about 26 markets and were profitable for us. But with tools, we found newspapers were [drawing] fewer customers, people were spending less time with them, and were now going online."

If WTH didn't have long-tail keywords, for example, "we wouldn't know which to bid on," Fernandez said. "These tools make us better marketers at a much more reasonable cost than we would have three or four years ago."

Sometimes, building new online tools can take some time for development and programmers. "But it makes us keep current and makes things easier for us," said Jennifer Doss, e-commerce marketing manager at Hat World & Lids, an Indianapolis-based online seller of sports-themed head gear. "So by looking at what you do on a daily or weekly basis, and thinking what you might be able to develop to simplify things in the long run, you may find that you don't have resources in-house and may have to partner with a firm that can help you simplify things."

9. Don't bid solely on branded terms. If you do, you run the risk of benefiting your competitors. "Think of someone searching on a nonbranded term," said Michelle Stern, client services director for Watertown, Mass.-based search engine marketing firm iProspect. "They're not committed to a brand yet — they're just researching, and odds are, they'll find your competitors."

Jen Miller, manager of's onsite content and marketing unit, pointed out that bids on brand names "mostly as a defensive move. We don't have content on every single destination we go to," she said. "We bid on those unbranded terms to convert to a ticket we wouldn't have otherwise gotten."

Doss noted that about half of Hat World & Lids' paid revenue comes from nonbranded terms. "We know that sports fans search by their teams, leagues and maybe even by different vendors," she said. "So we do pay very close attention to those terms."

As Chris Sherman, executive editor of Search Engine Land and moderator of the session, pointed out, in tough economic times there's more of a move away from brands.

10. You must set goals. Goals keep everyone focused. "At least it's a point to work toward," said Jill Nortman, SEO and Web analytics specialist for Allegis Group, a Hanover, Md.-based staffing and recruitment firm. But she added that companies must get creative with their goals. "If you're selling a product or service, explore other opportunities off the site, such as social media," she said.

Then, on social sites, monitor the number of friends you acquire each month. Allegis has had a series of videos online for more than a year. Each month the company gets a 25 percent lift in view, Nortman said.

(For Part 1 with truths 1-3, click here. For Part 2 with truths 4-7, click here.)

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