<< by on October 6th, 2009
Here at SMX East on Tuesday, Oct 6th one of the first sessions of the day was “When An Agency Just Won’t Do,” – The session addressed the topic of PPC challenges that some agencies may not be able to address properly. This session targets agencies themselves as well as companies who are considering setting up internal SEM management. Discussing how to build an internal competency and scalable technology infrastructure to service thousands of small and midsize businesses was the Moderator for the session, Sara Holoubek, Consultant, Columnist, SEMPO President. Speakers for the session were Clay Cazier, Director, Web Services, LexisNexis; Peter Chun, Senior Director, Enterprise Solutions, Clickable; Marshall D. Simmonds, Chief Search Strategist, New York Times Company/About.com
Clay Cazier kicked off the presentation discussing the various needs of a client compared to those of an agency and then discussed the various internal growth / development options an agency has:
- Pros: complete control, product development matches the need
- Cons: system support, time to market
- Pros: reduced time to market, inherit a working model
- Cons: imprecise match, corporate confusion, initial cost
- Pros: can be less expensive, can “dial up/down” according to need
- Cons: loss of control, less client experience, robotic metrics
Partnership: (The model Clay chose) Allows more control over performance and profitability.
Here are the important steps Clay outlines for an agency to maintain control over performance and profitability:
- Establish meaningful ROI
- Revise product definition and communicate effectively to the client
- Weekly conference calls with the client = accountability
- Improve messaging to clients
- Shore up internal resources
Potential problems facing agencies:
- Getting service-level requirements in writing
- Sacrificing some control through partnerships (i.e.- the time it takes for reports to be returned)
- Communication failures
The second presenter, Peter Thiel, discussed small businesses (SMBs) which he defined as having a spend level of $2,500 or less per month and the problems they face today. SMBs often do not have the time or resources to really test and figure out the details of being successful at SEM. It’s easy for SMBs to become overwhelmed and confused with how to utilize PPC; SMBs often enter the PPC space just because other competitors are advertising with PPC; they do not always thoroughly understanding the process and how it works.
SMBs may also chose the cheapest agency to manage their PPC accounts and may not know the right questions to ask an agency. As a SMB you need to be sure you have a system in place that ensures your PPC service provider is truly looking out for your best interest in terms of conversions and ROI.
The last presenter, Marshall D. Simmonds, picked up right where Peter left off by talking about the importance of SMBs performing deep dive audits and analysis for their AdWords programs to both manage the accounts effectively and hold any managing agencies accountable.
I was a little disappointed with the session as a whole just because I was expecting the subject to be about instances in which PPC may not be for every company or tips for managing very small PPC accounts for small businesses. Instead it felt somewhat like a sales pitch for the presenters’ services. It would have been nice to at least hear some type of advice on how exactly a small business can overcome the potential pitfalls presented in the presentation. I will say they did do a great job with the presentation and delivery, making the session a great example for learning about the sales side of PPC and SEO, (if of course your agency targets small business). It just was not what I was looking for.