RealTime IT News

Search Engine Marketing Forces Unite

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A consortium of more than 300 search engine marketing firms launched a new industry association Wednesday. Their goal: to increase awareness and promote the value of search engine marketing services.

Under the umbrella name of the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization -- or SEMPO -- the group says it wants to galvanize current and future industry standards of search-related marketing campaigns, including Web site optimization, keyword advertising and paid inclusion programs.

The newly formed group is holding its inaugural meeting at the Search Engine Strategies 2003 Conference & Expo here. SEMPO president and CEO of WebMama.com Barbara Coll said search is an integral part of all marketing campaigns for online businesses.

"SEMPO will inform marketing executives worldwide that search engine marketing programs are highly effective, cost-efficient ways of generating high-quality sales leads and customers for their businesses," Coll said.

Joining Coll on the board of directors include search marketing luminaries including Noel McMichael (Marketleap vice president); Jessie Chase-Stricchiola (Alchemist Media); Kevin Lee (Did-it.com); Christine Churchill (KeyRelevance); Brett Tabke (WebMasterWorld); Fredrick Marckini (iProspect); and Dana Todd (SiteLab).

The group is expected to work with other advertising member bodies such as the Internet Advertising Bureau as it ties together other related groups such as the Association of Internet Marketing Professionals, SEM List, SEO Consultants, eMarketing Association, SEO List, TopSEO and the World Association of Internet Marketers.

"Search engines are an incredibly valuable way to reach consumers, and there's a thriving group of marketers that know how to tap into this important traffic," said Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineWatch.com. It's great to have SEMPO launched to help spread the word about search engine marketing in general and to help those within the industry that specialize in this type of advertising."

The group is timely in its formation. Recent reports by Jupiter Research and US Bancorp Piper Jaffray show search marketing will continue to be the hottest segment of online marketing into 2004.

For example, Jupiter Research found that 76 percent of surveyed marketing executives who have used search engine marketing rate it as more successful than banner-style advertising. Conversely, the analysts found 64 percent of those surveyed plan on increasing their spending.

"This reinforces what I wrote earlier this year in BtoB, the magazine for marketing strategists: 'This is the year of search engine marketing,'" iProspect CEO and SEMPO board member Fredrick Marckini said.

"The search market has become the Holy Grail of Internet advertising and continues to grow faster than our expectations," U.S. Bancorp Piper analyst Safa Rashtchy said. "We believe search is actually gaining some market share from other types of online marketing. Our initial estimate of $7 billion by 2007 is most likely to be too conservative and we believe that we are still at the early stages of an expanding and large market."

The SearchEngine Strategy show is produced by Jupitermedia, parent company of this Web site.