Most of the postings on my Blog have been clips from articles I thought my clients would like to read.  As a slight change of pace, I’d like to share my thoughts on a topic that I feel strongly about. 


I’d like to give you some background on this topic before I appear to sound off against ad agencies.  In my prior career, I sold an ad serving technology primarily to traditional and interactive agencies.  As I trained these agencies on how to leverage the technology, I became increasingly frustrated with their lack of interest or desire to implement best practices for campaign optimization.  What I learned was that the agencies just didn’t have the resources necessary to effectively monitor and optimize these campaigns.


Fortunately for me, I have moved on to a company that manages interactive marketing campaigns for our clients.  So now I can see things from the agency perspective but the difference is that my company actually works hard to optimize and manage our client’s interactive campaigns.  This happens to be one of the major reasons why we have done so well for our clients in the search engine marketing space. 


OK, so what’s my point?  If you are following the industry news, you will be aware that paid placement search marketing is growing at an amazing pace.  The IAB has recently announced that as much as 40% of the interactive budgets are being spent on paid placement.  So who is going to plan, implement and optimize these campaigns?  Yes, the ad agency, and the worst part is that are going to treat it like an ordinary media buy.  “Hey Google, here is $60K, buy some keywords for me will ya!” For those of you lucky enough to be on the inside of the Google IPO, that is just fine with you.  But for the rest of us, that just won’t cut it.  Want to know the worst part?  Compared to other interactive advertising previously provided by this agency, this search campaign will still do well.  That is the power of search. 


What the advertiser will never know is just how good this campaign could have been.  At some point, like all other online advertising vehicles, the competition will catch up and if you want to be successful, you’ll have to do it right.


So here is my plea to the agencies.  Please don’t try and do this internally.  This is not banner advertising.   This is not buying the first position on Google regardless of price.  This is not about writing a few generic titles & descriptions and using them for 2000 keywords.  Paid placement search engine marketing is about doing the dirty work.  It is about daily ROI tracking and being so in tune with your client’s marketing objectives that you know exactly how to bid on keywords.  Paid placement search engine marketing requires technology, expertise, market intelligence and most of all; it takes a commitment to truly be successful.  Most agencies are just not set up to do this right.  It is time to find a partner and make them an extension of your agency.  Don’t be tempted to get in this game.  You will protect the ownership of your client by making sure that this critical piece of the interactive mix is cared for properly.  If you embrace this relationship with your SEM partner, the rest of your campaign will benefit as well.  The independent research shows that all interactive programs need to compliment each other. 


Thank you for reading and I truly hope you comment on my thoughts.  APZ