Barbara Coll welcomed us, well there are not too many of us here. She started with SFO Regions (Search/Find/Obtain) is just starting, search is really early in the stage. She explains that Search marketing, to be taken to the next level requires education of corporations, consumers and channels. SEMPO has educated the media publishers, the press, the members, and the advertisers. SEMPO does it providing a “huge” amount of materials on the site. Recognition for search marketing this year was huge; Google IPO, MSN Investment, Large Agency Adoption, Advertisers expected to spend 39% more on search marketing in 2005. SEMPO Recognition; large membership, worldwide participation, representation at key industry events, elite SEMPO Advisory Board, volunteer activism, partnerships with associations, key sponsorships, key partnerships, relationship with key industry analysts. Future of SEMPO in 2005, expanded influence, SEMPO.org the destination for selling material for search, more interaction between members and sponsors, expanded member communications & Support, and a more mature stable SEMPO.
Rick Bruner and his primary research report. The objectives of the project were; understand the size of the search marketing industry, understand where marketer spending is going, identify key industry trends, and identify key industry issues SEMPO should address. The research methodology included extensive secondary research, conducted detailed interviews with 31 leading industry experts and did a very detailed survey filled out by 288 people. 2/3rds were agencies. 69% were US based, 8% UK. The bottom line is that over 4 billion dollars was the $ amount of spend by advertisers. (this is live at SEMPO’s Web site). He broke out the figures by paid placement, paid inclusion, organize and SEM technology. Nacho tells me the data looks a bit skewed, I agree and so does Greg Jarobe who is nodding his head in front of me based on Nacho’s statement. Key Research Highlights include brand awareness is advertiser’s top objective, ROI is outpacing inflation, SEM is poaching budget, Senior executives consider SEM a high business priority, Advertisers plan to increase their SEM spending 39% and most advertisers plan to manage the majority of their SEM spending in house. Some really good slides were shown next, but I can’t type that fast, if your a member, I guess you can get those reports (should be a 122 page report). Key research conclusions include; inventory of keywords is not yet a critical problem, most advertisers are replying on both paid and organic search, and SEO abuse seen as more of a problem then click fraud.
Dana Todd was next up, she is discussing the committee reports. Marketing committee goals; drive industry growth overall, increase market demand for professional SEM services, increase SEMPO membership base. Education Committee Goals; provide support materials for site visitors, and education of general public via web site, press release, research and events. Marketing Committee; 1st phase of ad campaign completed, SEMPO event activity with ad tech, WMW, SES and Kelsey Group, Promotions, and New ad campaign will kick off in Q1. Education Committee; web site gets 4,000 uniques a week, new materials posted weekly, great new research and case studies, and need more business support documents.
Next up was Neg Norton, President of Yellow Pages Association a non profit member based organization and represents a 14 billion dollar industry and a SEMPO Advisory Board Member. He spoke shortly and I have the press release in my email if your interested. There is a free directory in the www.localsearchguide.org Web site.
New management team is coming in, Virtual Inc will be taking over the company. This company manages 15 other non profit organizations. So this company will take over the management of SEMPO. They updated lots of governance documents on the site. Member communication and benefits. Only 55% open the emails they sent. They have member benefits; growing in numbers and subscriptions, tools, events, and papers. Board elections are up, and 5 of the current board members are on the list and she listed other people up for election. 13 open positions, you vote probably in January and by proxy (email). She then thanked those board members who are stepping down.
Mike Grehan asked for his SEMPO calculator, he was denied, sorry Mike. Dan Theis asked who took the survey, we do not know for sure. Mike then asked, “should I tell my customer that they spend for branding?” The results of the report showed that most people show that brand building was the most important thing. Of course, you and I would think that lead generation and sales were the most important areas. But again, the sample collected is not certain.
Laura asked why are the leads on the SEMPO web site so poor. Why should she rejoin at the $2,000 level if these are the types of leads? Barbara said the membership levels need to be redefined and Virtual will do that. You really signed up to contribute, and lead generation is secondary. But as the Web site improves, you can expect more leads for you. Noel adds that promoting SEMPO as a lead generation tool is against the law, for a non profit organization.