How to Lose an SEM Account

Share this article:

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.

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.

Next Article in Digital Marketing

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

Featured Listings

More in Digital Marketing

Epsilon Rebrands as End-to-End Marketing Solution

Epsilon Rebrands as End-to-End Marketing Solution

The goal is to flame the perception that technology and creativity live under one roof at the company, says President Andy Frawley.

Mobile Spend Vaults 76 Percent in First Half, IAB Reports

Mobile Spend Vaults 76 Percent in First Half, ...

Overall Internet ad revenues escalate by 15% to $23 billion, also fueled by increased activity in social media and video.

Top 20 Percent Is Twice as Good at Converting as the Rest

Top 20 Percent Is Twice as Good at ...

There are five reasons elite marketers trounce the competition: testing, targeting, spending, mobilizing, and democratizing.