Marketers Want to Learn Search Process Themselves, Exec Says at SES

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CHICAGO -- The attendance at this week's Search Engine Strategies show is really what Oneupweb CEO Lisa Wehr expected.

But the Lake Leelanau, MI-based interactive marketing executive has seen a huge shift in this year's event from last year.

"I think there are less businesses looking for vendors and more trying to learn the process themselves," Wehr said yesterday.

Oneupweb has just the perfect thing for them: a "SEO Survival Guide" booklet it is distributing for free from its entrance-facing booth in the SES Chicago exhibit hall. The 48-page, BlackBerry-sized publication has an exhaustive glossary of search terms, like contextual link inventory, meta tags, paid placement, SEM and title tags.

More than 1,800 executives are said to have registered for the Dec. 5-8 event. For Oneupweb, the decision to exhibit at the Chicago show has an element of sentiment, too.

"It's our back yard," Wehr said. "We feel like we need to have a presence here, that it is a brand awareness initiative for us and it gives us a chance to meet up with a lot of our Chicago clientele."

The agency serves clients like 1-800-GOT JUNK, loyalty firm Maritz and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which is based in Chicago.

Each year, companies like Oneupweb make the rounds of several interactive-focused trade shows. What makes SES different from ad:tech, one of the most popular interactive marketing conferences around?

"I think ad:tech has more than agency attendance," Wehr said. "We certainly have agencies attending this event, but I think companies that are attending this one are small businesses and those doing search inhouse. On the flip side, at ad:tech the agencies are trying to build the search piece inhouse. Everyone's trying to get a piece of the search pie."

Oneupweb is transforming itself, too. In the next quarter, the company will expand its service offerings beyond its search competence.

"We've developed a lot of expertise in online marketing, in general, and it's our goal to be more full service to our clients in the coming year," Wehr said.

Another change on the horizon has to do with SES Chicago next year.

"This show has changed so much as a good event to prospect or meet with prospects," Wehr said. "We're going to evaluate whether we're going to be back."

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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