Search Engine Guide: Seeking Marketing Talent With Left-Brain Minds

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Depending on what analyst report you read, search engine marketing will continue to grow rapidly for the next three to five years. A recent Forrester Research report said 84 percent of the marketers surveyed plan to increase their online budgets this year, spending 36 percent on search. This makes search the leading online marketing tactic.

It's Showtime

Ask any top athlete - staying on top is much tougher than making the climb. The pressures can be overwhelming, and getting caught up in the hype can be detrimental.

Being No. 1 means search engine marketing has become the show-me industry. To stay on top, marketers must quickly demonstrate results to justify spending, not just to managers, but to the C-suite. Do you have the expertise and talent to deliver a higher ROI?

Not sure? You're not alone. More than half of marketers surveyed in another Forrester report struggle to define marketing ROI. Many more are unable to react quickly to marketing results not delivered in a timely fashion.

More Geek, Less Chic

Effective search campaigns require a long list of keywords. Managing these record levels of keywords being purchased will require a serious left-brain makeover in your marketing department.

Companies are expanding campaigns from thousands to tens of thousands of keywords. In a recent Webinar, Jupiter indicated that 27 percent of marketers surveyed are increasing their keywords significantly. Our company alone manages more than 10 million keywords daily for more than 40 of the top SEM advertisers.

Now consider the potentially astronomical variable of bids on keywords. Take a common 4,000-keyword campaign on Google. If you have six positions, you now have 6 to the 4000th of possibilities to determine the optimal bid. If you have 10,000 keywords, you have 6 raised to the 10000th power of possibilities. Get my drift?

Paid search always has been more about analytics than traditional advertising glitz and glam. With the upsurge of players entering the market and increases in budget, it's becoming even more complex and data driven. The solution: left-brain thinkers, folks who understand algorithms, statistics and predictive modeling to manage search campaigns for effective ROI.

Skills Needed

Executing and measuring a campaign's effectiveness on multiple search engines and the extended traffic from affiliate partners can be daunting. Marketers must use sophisticated analytical techniques every step of the way:

· The data. Effective paid search marketing gets the consumer to act immediately by clicking on your link, resulting in precious real-time data from search traffic including clicks, registrations and CPAs that help determine what is driving results.

· The bid. Managing bids on just the handful of core keywords is a struggle and can be misleading to your overall campaign's ROI. Companies are moving to bid management solutions that manage keywords as a single portfolio.

Similar to Wall Street analytics, this approach applies mathematical algorithms to predict the expected return on all variations of keywords and automatically selects the optimal mix, position and price to achieve a higher rate of return relative to overall marketing budget spend.

· The measurement. Many marketing departments have multiple business goals, including increased traffic, registration and sales. Paid search marketers need to analyze the performance data, compare the variables and make a clear business choice based on solid data points, including the lifetime value of the customer relative to budget spend.

No Hunch to Crunch

Marketing organizations must maximize spend across all of their SEM campaigns and prove to the top brass that they are driving sales. There is no "hunch" involved - the data are available and can be analyzed quickly.

To succeed, you need to move from Excel spreadsheets to technology solutions that can manage and measure paid search campaigns more effectively.

Does your company have the left-brain talent to pull it off and have successful number-crunching sessions with the CFO?

For more articles from The Direct Marketer's Essential Guide to Search Engine Marketing, visit .

A PDF of the guide is available at:

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