How to Lose an SEM Account

Share this content:

Last week, a colleague at a media services firm described the incredible experience of winning a paid search marketing account away from, yes, a search engine marketing agency. The incumbent was one of the first formal search agencies, with a strong reputation. Like most SEMs, its proprietary technology could slice and dice data beyond most normal human expectations. So what went wrong?

Simply put, no one paid attention to the data that came out. My colleague relayed how after winning the search account, she was in awe of the incumbent's "absolutely gorgeous" reports. She was also stunned that an SEM with such sophisticated reporting technology could completely fail its client. "All the data was there," she said. "They simply needed to surface meaning."

There is a belief in the search industry that if one builds the über bid management and tracking tools, the job is done. Set your rules (or portfolio expectations) and voilà, instant happy client.

Unfortunately, client service does not stop at beautiful reports. As with any other marketing effort, only a critical human eye can both surface deep data and associate meaning from even the most comprehensive automated report.

This reminded me of a panel I participated in at SES San Jose 2005: "Ad Management: Do Humans Matter?"

Well, of course, humans matter. The shiny tool is only as good as the humans who use it, just as the carpenter with the best hammer will not always build the best cabinet.

While technology is key to our business (and often secures the higher multiple when it comes exit time), we have found ourselves in a dangerous game. Instead of focusing on the ability to churn out as much data as possible, the most meaningful data should be wielded to solve the greater marketing problem.


Next Article in Digital Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

PAN Communications is an award-winning integrated marketing and public relations agency for B2B technology and healthcare brands. PAN's data-driven approach allows the firm to specialize in public relations, social media, content and influencer marketing, and data and analytics. PAN partners with brands to create unique, integrated campaigns that captivate audiences and drive measurable results. PAN services clients out of the firm's four offices: Boston, San Francisco, New York City and Orlando.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above