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Search marketers need to get scrappy: SES Conference & Expo

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If a marketing department were the Notre Dame football team, would that make search marketers Rudy? That was the question I came away wondering after listening to the panelists at today's “Best Practices and Experiences with SEM in the Financial Services Vertical” session as part of the SES Conference & Expo in New York.

It's not as though they implied that search marketers need their social, mobile, etc. teammates to chant repeatedly for the senior executives to give search marketers a jersey (read: slice of the budget), but a friendly groundskeeper in the form of stats might help.

Decker Marquis, director of interactive marketing at Citizens Financial Group, said that search marketers need to be able to present their companies' senior executives with data to prove the importance of search. “There are figures that are out there that they will start to notice, but sometimes you have to dig for the data,” said Marquis.

Problem is, search can influence results across channels, but it's hard to measure that influence. Making things worse, said Jason Tabeling, associate partner of search and media at Rosetta, is that perception plays a large role in how budgets are allotted. To influence that perception, Tabeling said Rosetta has worked with its financial services clients to “show them that we can not only drive the lowest cost-per-quote but also influence customer quality because that is something that had been perceived in the organization to be negative from search.”

Nationwide Insurance's director of digital promotions Chris Cotton summed the session up nicely, saying that search marketers need to promote the brand value of search in addition to its monetizable value—just as Rudy proved that not only could he run the ball but he could also block.

Author's note: Sorry for stretching the Rudy conceit at the end there. If it was a notch too cheesy, consider it a stylistic gimmick to mirror the film's ending. Yes, that sounds about right.

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