Did-it's Kevin Lee talks search

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There are a couple of keys to pay-per-click search optimization: buying the right clicks at the right price and then maximizing the return on each click.

This point was made at a recent lunch meeting with Kevin Lee, founder of Did-it Search Marketing, and Mark Simon, the company's vice president of industry relations.

"Direct marketing best practices in segmentation modeling and experimental design have become invaluable to us at Did-it and any marketer that feels the pressure of rising keyword prices had better put in place an action plan that reflects the need for segmentation and optimal click purchasing," Mr. Lee said.

Mr. Lee said direct marketing professionals should consider a move to search engine marketing and auction media markets.

"There are two kinds of advertisers at the top of the paid listings: brilliant marketers who know how to work the system, putting relevant ads in front of their target audience, and crazy marketers who just throw money at the problem of escalating prices," he said.

Mr. Lee said direct marketing skills are going to continue to be extremely valuable as the search engines expand their reach to include other media types.

"Marketers are struggling to evaluate the value of search and media campaigns beyond the immediate direct response measurable return on investment," Mr. Lee said. "They know that search media touches early buy-cycle prospects, but can't decide how to measure its effectiveness."

Some marketers are merging direct response metrics to measure the value that interaction or exposure to a site has for a potential customer, he said.

Equally important, there is a heightened importance around understanding one's competitors and the values of clicks.

"With Yahoo joining Google and Microsoft in running more opaque PPC search marketplaces, it is becoming more important that marketers understand the way competitors react to their bids, as well as the true value of every click before they buy it," Mr. Lee said.

The notion that SEM is important is widely accepted by marketers, as seen by their search marketing budgets.

"Increasingly, [search] budgets are coming from offline media," Mr. Lee said. "Search is getting the respect it deserves, but we still have far to go."

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